Aesthetic Value Of Art Essay, Research Paper
THE AESTHETIC VALUE OF ART AS A CONSCIOUS AS OPPOSEDTO AN UNCONSCIOUS PRODUCT There is in our nature a radical an widespread tendency to observe beauty and value it. No account of the principles of the mind can be at all adequate or accurate enough, that passes over such a conspicuous faculty as aesthetics. The aesthetic value of art is one that encompasses many planes of philosophical thought at various levels. Whether it is a conscious as opposed to an unconscious product depends upon one s outlook on art and life in general. All we find written about beauty may be divided into two groups: that group of writings in which philosophers have interpreted aesthetic facts in the light of their metaphysical principles, and made of their theory of taste, a corollary of footnotes to their systems, and that group in which artists and critics have ventured into philosophical groups by generalizing somewhat the maxims of the craft or the comments of the sensitive observer.1 P hilosophers writing on the aesthetic values of art in the development of our theme within this paper are Classical, Romantic, and Modern alike; Aristotle, Plato, Dewey, Hegel, Nietzsde, and Santayana. In our discussion of art as conscious as opposed to unconscious product, we must first make several distinctions__________1George Santayana. The Sense of Beauty. (New York; Modern Library. 1955) p. 6. between artist-creator and observer-participant, and art as idea as opposed to form. These distinctions may be paralleled to Dewey s philosophical distinctions made within ART as EXPERIENCE of artistic versus aesthetic. Dewey first notes that there is no word in the English language that unambiguously includes what is signified by the two words artistic and aesthetic, artistic referring primarily to the act of production and aesthetic to that of perception and enjoyment, the absence of a term designating the two processes taken together being unfortuante.2 He then makes the distinction to the relation that exists in having an experience between doing and undergoing, indicating that the distinction between artistic and aesthetic cannot be pressed so far as to become a separation. Aristotle properly designates this in relation to what s distinctive of both artistic and aesthetic as the mean proportional. Similar distinctions of art and aesthetics are continually being made by philosophers on the subject. Hegel s idea of beautiful is the constituting of the IDEAL in art. This idea of beautiful as absolute idea contains certain essential moments which must manifest themselves outwardly and become realized.3 If there is no manifestation of these essential moments then the _________ 2Joseph Ratner, John Dewey s Philosophy. (New York: Modern Library, 1972), p. 971.3Carl J. Friedrich. The Philosophy of Hegel. (New York: Random House, 1954) p. 333. absolute idea becomes condemned as hopeless triviality, an expression merely of human nature and not of moral and aesthetic judgments as expressions of objective truth. Meaning is a conception of the mind while expression is a sensuous phenomena, an image of the senses. It is at this point, mind s conception versus expression s reality, where the chief difference of aesthetic value as either conscious or unconscious product, may be found. Dewey describes the treatment of art as expression, the process of artistic creation becoming what it is incipiently, its expressive movement of matter to a formed fulfillment, rich, rounded, and enjoyable.4 Art is a process for both the creation and the observer, the movements of each not necessarily different as long as they are fulfilling, it must arouse the imagination of a living creature, becoming an aesthetic experience with an active response and energetic involvement to an ordered relationship. Awareness of these perceived relationships is deepened by their felt context, becoming expressive by some part of either the creator s or observer s past, peace of art with tension and resolution thereof, this equated to Nietzsche s Apollinian and Dionysian quality. These terms, Apollinian and Dionysian, derived from the Greek, are in reference to the two art deities of the Greeks, Apollo and Dionysus, through which we come to __________ 4Joseph Ratner, John Dewey s Philosophy. (New York: Modern Library, 1972). recognize that in the Greek world there existed a tremendous opposition to origin and came between Apollinian art of sculpture and the nonimagistic, Dionysian art of music.5 These terms, however, are no longer confined to the arts of sculpture and music by Nietzsche s philosophy, but are extended outward into a classification of all art. The Apollinain and Dionysian duality become separate art worlds, respectively in that of dreams and intoxication.
Apollo stands as the image of principium individuations, through whose gestures and eyes all the joy and wisdom of illusion together with its beauty are seen.6 He is the joyous necessity of dream experience embodied by the Greeks, god of all plastic energies. The beautiful illusion of the dream world in the creation of which every man is truly an artist is the prerequisite to all forms of the plastic art.7 This dream reality is most intense in its sensation of mere appearance in the creating of art in form, but more important, the conception of art as IDEA. The Dionysian nature, however, consists of intoxicated reality without any dreams what-so-ever, with all subjectivity vanishing, and not dependent upon the intellectual attitude or artistic culture of any single being. Dionysus, as music, is an __________ 5Walter Kaufmann. Basic Writing of Nietzsche. (New York: Modern Library, 1968). P. 33. 6Ibid. p. 36. 7Ibid. p. 34 expression of the world universality of geometrical configuration, a priori-applicable, not abstract, but perceptibles and determinate with most accurate and distinct comment. It is the immediate language of the will with its symbolic image emerging in its highest significance, giving birth to myth, tragic myth, the Dionysian myth, the birth of tragedy. – for without myth, a concentrated image of the world, every culture loses its healthy power of creativity.8 As with Nietzsche s philosophy of Apollinian and Dionysian art, Hegel, too, categorizes art as symbolic, classical, and romantic, the latter two corresponding respectively to Apollinian and Dionysian. The difference in philosophies is symbolic art, Hegel s prime example of this being oriental art. It is not aesthetic in its ability to please and satisfy. Instead of beauty and regularity, it is bizarre, grandiose, and fantastic; aesthetic in the means of expression rather than form. As with both Apollinian and Dionysian, it is real, it is finding reality (DASEIN). As within all the categories, in its consciousness spirit is passionate existence, as spirit with and in itself, enjoying infinitude and freedom.9 With the spirit rising to itself, it attains Self-consciousness, and by this means finds its own objectivity. At this point then, the human soul must ______________________8Walter Kaufmann. Basic Writing of Nietzsche. (New York: Modern Library, 1968), p. 135. 9Carl J. Friedrich. The Philosophy of Hegel. (New York: Random House, 1964), p. 333. bring itself into actual existence as a person (SUBJEKT) possessing self-consciousness and rational will.10 The soul passing through the world, then, no longer pursues merely worldly aims and undertakings, but now personality and the conservation thereof. The process of art is not greatly different between creator and observer, as long as it is fulfilling; to the artist in his conception of mind of the IDEA, and to the observer, heuristic into some part of his past experience, coming in either form of aesthetic perception of passive registration by mildly concerned sensations derived from a static physical object, or aesthetic visitation, a revelation of essence, supernatural and timeless, disclosed to mind temporarily liberated from time.The aesthetic value of art, however, is not in the beauty of this created form, neither for the creator, nor for the observer, rather in the stimulus-response evoked by it. When such an IDEA has transpired, either Apollinian-Classical, Dionysian-Romantic, or Symbolic basic, the difference proper to IDEA being beauty and immanent existence, external objectivity is introduced through a sensuous medium. The aesthetic value of art, the beauty of art, is then to be engulfed in a struggle with the world of actualized beauty, with the particular forms of art being embodied through _________________ 10Ibid., p. 353. realization. Absolute mind and truth, divine truth, are artistically and aesthetically represented in perception and feelings. To feel beauty, consciously or unconsciously, is better than to understand how we come to feel it. BIBLIOGRAPHY Friedrich, Carl J. The Philosophy of Hegel. (New York: Random House, 1954). Hook, Sidney. John Dewey: The Philosopher of Science and Freedom. (New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1967) Kaufmann, Walter. Basic Writings of Nietzsche. (New York: Modern Library, 1958) Ratner, Joseph. John Dewey s Philosophy. (New York: Modern Library, 1972). Santayana, George. The Sense of Beauty (New York: Modern Library, 1955).