Monday, February 2, 2009

Is All Beauty Objective? A Friendly Debate.

It appears that Janine and I have some fleshing out to do regarding the terms and meaning of beauty. I graciously accept her critique and present my defense. I also thank her for causing me think more deeply about the questions and thoughts I presented.

To begin, I believe beauty is objective, not subjective. When Janine speaks of the beauty of creation, I think she is quite correct. Where I think we may differ is in her assessment of everyone's reaction to it. Her belief that everyone's breath would be taken away shows how pure her spirit is, yet I don't think everyone's breath is taken away. There are those who would shun it, ignore it, be jealous of it, or fear it, which would explain why so many seem hellbent to destroy it. My question from my previous post is why this is? For those who followed the link and read the article to which I referred, why does Bach keep hooligans away from shops as well as ear piercing tones? Many's reaction would be attraction to the music, but that is obviously not a universal reaction. I think the problem in this instance is not with the music, but with the lives of the juvenile troublemakers. Why this repulsive reaction to such beauty?

I actually think Janine and I agree more than appears on the first reading of our posts. She sees what attracts us, mirrors our hearts, and I fully agree with that, though I would not say that a person views pornography because they see it as beautiful, but to feed a desire in a way God did not intend. My point is similar. Here is what I said in the post to which she responded. I may be wrong, but I have a suspicion that beauty takes us outside of ourselves to see the possibility of something greater, and that, in our current culture, makes us uncomfortable, because if what is reflected back exposes the dreariness of our lives, it is almost too much to bear. Is there not sometimes a similar reaction when someone is faced with an unwanted truth? Repulsion and denial?

Here is something to think about. For most of history, Judaism and Christianity thought of truth, goodness and beauty as objective. Isn't it interesting that all are now seen by the majority of the western world as subjective? If God is true, good and beautiful, then there must be an objective standard, and He is the standard. In the Garden of Eden, the fruit was eaten so that we could decide what was good and what was bad, and this appears to fully be our zeitgeist.

No comments:

Post a Comment