• MonfortS26
    252
    Our concept of what is beautiful is in the eye of the beholder, and we all have unique tastes in what we consider to be beautiful. However, our sense of self is an illusion and everything that makes up any of our preferences is simply the outer world reflecting back into us. From the perspective of beauty being an illusion, it leaves a opportunity to make money. The majority of people are looking to fit in and don't put a terrible amount of thought into their lives. Constantly looking for approval in others would do very little to create any diversity in ones concept of beauty and everyone's ideas of it would grow side by side. Any industry of art could capitalize off of that easily by using small variations of very basic ideas repeatedly. To me this is a morally corrupt action because it cripples our sources of individuality and harms our ability to critically think.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    I keep hearing people use the word "illusion" without explaining what it actually means. What is this "illusion" you speak of? A trick? A phantom? A construct that dissolves under analysis?

    Being able to identify something means that there is some kind of registration going on. The phenomenal experience of something being so.

    In any case, you say that our sense of self is an "illusion", but go on to say that the art industry is morally corrupt because it cripples our sense of individuality. Individuality entails self-hood. You can't have both.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    Our concept of what is beautiful is in the eye of the beholder, and we all have unique tastes in what we consider to be beautiful. However, our sense of self is an illusion and everything that makes up any of our preferences is simply the outer world reflecting back into us.MonfortS26

    I agree with darthbarracuda: you want it both ways, but you can't have it. If the self is an illusion, then who is the beholder of beauty? If the outer world is reflecting back into us, who is us?

    Beginning posts by dismissing the reality of the poster seems to be the result of bad digestion. Perhaps you are suffering from dyspepsia today; did you eat some spoiled fish?
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    From the perspective of beauty being an illusion, it leaves a opportunity to make money.MonfortS26

    People tend to find ways of making money whether beauty is an illusion or not.

    Constantly looking for approval in others would do very little to create any diversity in ones concept of beauty and everyone's ideas of it would grow side by side.MonfortS26

    I can't quite tell what you are bellyaching about here.

    Any industry of art could capitalize off of that easily by using small variations of very basic ideas repeatedly. To me this is a morally corrupt action because it cripples our sources of individuality and harms our ability to critically think.MonfortS26

    That's alright because our sense of individuality is an illusion anyway, and who wants the riff raff to think critically? For that matter, is it a good idea to encourage the riff raff to be thinking critically? Maybe we should just encourage them to seek approval from each other.

    Like I said, you don't seem to be feeling well. Take some Pepto Bismol; it has bismuth in it -- it works.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    Like I said, you don't seem to be feeling well. Take some Pepto Bismol; it has bismuth in it -- it works.Bitter Crank
    I'm really not sure what you mean by that

    When I say illusion, I mean something that is not what it appears. What I mean when I say the self is an illusion is that any conception of myself is a product of my imagination. We are given the impression of being individuals when we are given a name at birth and we model our sense of self around the other people in our lives. All of our ability for abstraction is grasped intuitively and shaped by the people who influence us at a young age without much second thought. That would include beauty The reason most if not all abstract ideas are illusions is because EVERYONE's sense of abstraction is grasped intuitively. They are based on the false assumption that the abstract idea has real purpose in the first place and isn't just bullshit that was created to push an agenda that we have adapted to and consider a real part of daily life.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    Our concept of what is beautiful is in the eye of the beholder TRUE

    we all have unique tastes in what we consider to be beautiful TRUE

    our sense of self is an illusion HOW DO YOU KNOW?

    and everything that makes up any of our preferences is simply the outer world reflecting back into us SO? If we have unique taste, the outer world will reflect back uniqueness, won't it?

    From the perspective of beauty being an illusion, it leaves a opportunity to make money. SURE. WHY NOT?

    The majority of people are looking to fit in TRUE WHY WOULD THEY NOT?

    and don't put a terrible amount of thought into their lives FALSE

    Constantly looking for approval in others would do very little to create any diversity in ones concept of beauty I SUPPOSE NOT

    everyone's ideas of it would grow side by side PERHAPS

    Any industry of art could capitalize off of that easily by using small variations of very basic ideas repeatedly TRUE BUT HAVEN'T RIP OFF ARTISTS BEEN DOING THAT FOR DECADES?

    To me this is a morally corrupt action because it cripples our sources of individuality and harms our ability to critically think.
    TRUE, WHATEVER CRIPPLES OUR INDIVIDUALITY AND HARMS OUR ABILITY TO THINK CRITICALLY IS BAD NEWS.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    What I mean when I say the self is an illusion is that any conception of myself is a product of my imagination.MonfortS26

    This is circular. In order to imagine a self, you have to be a self, so the self isn't an illusion. The self can certainly imagine itself to be different than it is (actually we do this quite a bit -- we would like to be a different self sometimes).

    It seems to me that beginning an argument by undermining the reality of the self who is composing the argument is a losing strategy.

    I always sympathetic towards arguments attacking the role of commerce in commodifying everything, but I don't think that fits in well with your argument about the illusiveness of the self. I don't see the connection.

    I'm really not sure what you mean by thatMonfortS26

    I was sarcastically suggesting that your post was not as good as it could be because you were sick, and that maybe some Pepto Bismol (an old pink OTC anti-nausea medication) would help you argue better. From what I have read, you are a capable writer. The OP here didn't seem to be up to par.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    our sense of self is an illusion HOW DO YOU KNOW?Bitter Crank

    This is just a perspective that I have. I know nothing, but I will explore any idea.

    and everything that makes up any of our preferences is simply the outer world reflecting back into us SO? If we have unique taste, the outer world will reflect back uniqueness, won't it?Bitter Crank

    But where did that uniqueness come from?

    The majority of people are looking to fit in TRUE WHY WOULD THEY NOT?Bitter Crank

    I'm not saying that they shouldn't, but most people care more about themselves than others in society. They put more substantially more effort into fitting in and what is best for them then they do into serving society.

    and don't put a terrible amount of thought into their lives FALSEBitter Crank
    I was raised in Christianity and I didn't question it until last year. I was afraid of questioning anything because I felt I would go to hell if I were to think critically about my life. I wasn't putting much thought into my life and spent most of my teenage years as an outcast because one of the beliefs I had adopted is that it isn't important to fit in and I didn't put any effort into life whatsoever. I just coasted through everything. If this can be true about me, then it can certainly be true about other people.

    Any industry of art could capitalize off of that easily by using small variations of very basic ideas repeatedly TRUE BUT HAVEN'T RIP OFF ARTISTS BEEN DOING THAT FOR DECADES?Bitter Crank
    Yes and morally we should do what we can to enlighten people to that vulnerability

    To me this is a morally corrupt action because it cripples our sources of individuality and harms our ability to critically think. TRUE, WHATEVER CRIPPLES OUR INDIVIDUALITY AND HARMS OUR ABILITY TO THINK CRITICALLY IS BAD NEWS.Bitter Crank

    True
  • MonfortS26
    252
    This is circular. In order to imagine a self, you have to be a self, so the self isn't an illusion. The self can certainly imagine itself to be different than it is (actually we do this quite a bit -- we would like to be a different self sometimes).Bitter Crank

    I think that any argument involving what defines one as a person is circular. That seems to be up to the person defining themselves. The same goes for most abstract concepts. Everyone has their own idea of truth, beauty, knowledge, love. The best way to view those concepts would be from a perspective where they are all unified. They are nothing more than ideas that are used as a means to an end. They are empty words that can be used to summon people into action.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    People who feel those words have meaning that is
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    I was raised in Christianity and I didn't question it until last year. I was afraid of questioning anything because I felt I would go to hell if I were to think critically about my life.MonfortS26

    I don't think Jesus had anything against people thinking critically about their lives. You might go to hell (figuratively speaking) but thinking critically won't be the reason.

    Questioning is a good thing. Keep doing it.

    II wasn't putting much thought into my life and spent most of my teenage years as an outcast because one of the beliefs I had adopted is that it isn't important to fit in and I didn't put any effort into life whatsoever. I just coasted through everything. If this can be true about me, then it can certainly be true about other people.MonfortS26

    Sure, and it describes me as a teenager too, in as much as I can remember back that far.

    Don't kick yourself around for being the kind of teenager you think you were. It's a rough period (lots of stuff going on in the developing brain, among other things) and I think it is rougher now than it was 50 or 60 years ago. Think about the kind of person you want to become, the features of your self that you want to be prominent, and try to build those features up.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    Everyone has their own idea of truth, beauty, knowledge, love... and
    they are nothing more than ideas that are used as a means to an end. They are empty words that can be used to summon people into action.
    MonfortS26

    One of the purposes of a "liberal education" is to investigate what truth, beauty, knowledge, love (and a few dozen other words) mean when people are speaking seriously. Yes, to some extent everyone will define those terms personally, but "truth", "beauty", "knowledge", "love", and so on have been analyzed and applied by very careful, thoughtful writers, and as you come across these ideas in your reading you may discover that they don't really mean just what every Tom, Dick, and Harry might think they mean.

    And yes, they can be used as clarion calls for people to do something (probably under false pretenses, like "We will fight for TRUTH"). "Civilization is at stake." We must defend FREEDOM in Afghanistan or some such baloney.

    I think that any argument involving what defines one as a person is circular.MonfortS26

    If you say "I am an honest man. I am an authentic being. I am proud of my self." you are not speaking circularly -- you, the subject, are speaking about yourself, an object. We can do that. What is circular is saying something like "I don't exist because I am a product of my imagination." It's contradictory.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    I just see claims being made, not claims being argued for.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    I don't put very much thought into my past whatsoever, the only thing I regret is the time wasted by the way Christianity contorted my perspective on life.

    If you say "I am an honest man. I am an authentic being. I am proud of my self." you are not speaking circularly -- you, the subject, are speaking about yourself, an object. We can do that. What is circular is saying something like "I don't exist because I am a product of my imagination." It's contradictoryBitter Crank

    You could say that, but stating that your an honest man implies that you don't lie. How on earth could I trust anyone using that statement? Everybody lies. When you say that you are authentic, I would ask in relation to what? And i'm not saying I don't exist because I am a product of my imagination. I'm saying that it is impossible for me to perceive an accurate view of who I really am. Instead of trying to do so, I should stop wasting time thinking about it and just accept that I am nobody. That gives me the freedom to be whoever I want instead of "being myself", whatever that means.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    Instead of trying to do so, I should stop wasting time thinking about it and just accept that I am nobody. That gives me the freedom to be whoever I want instead of "being myself", whatever that means.MonfortS26

    In hindsight, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I am me, but my idea of me is not an accurate perception of who I am. I am whoever I want to be and me is what I perceive myself to be. What I perceive myself to be is based off of what other people perceive me to be and is therefore irrelevant.
  • darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    What I mean when I say the self is an illusion is that any conception of myself is a product of my imagination.MonfortS26

    Whose imagination is it of?

    The "self" is not an illusion as much as the concept of an unchanging, concrete self is. There is clearly something that perceives, senses, imagines, feels, thinks, and decides. Whether this thing persists over time, or whether this thing is capable of being dissolved does not change the fact that it is still there.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    The "self" is not an illusion as much as the concept of an unchanging, concrete self is. There is clearly something that perceives, senses, imagines, feels, thinks, and decides. Whether this thing persists over time, or whether this thing is capable of being dissolved does not change the fact that it is still there.darthbarracuda

    That makes sense. Is that something unique in any way though or is it just programmed by events in reality? Are all of our senses of self the same thing which only differ through variation in experience?
  • wuliheron
    440
    Beauty is both demonstrable and quantifiable. Already the music industry has an algorithm which can predict exactly how much money they will make on a song and within twenty years computers will be powerful enough to apply the same kind of mathematics to anything. You might as well claim gravity is an illusion.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    Beauty is both demonstrable and quantifiablewuliheron

    How?
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    Beauty takes three forms, first being static form, second being continuous or changing/moving form, and the third is aesthetic, or logos.
  • wuliheron
    440
    Every classic work of art whether it be a painting or a work of music has turned out to express a fractal dragon equation. The symmetries are complex and academics are only beginning to understand it, but even humor has been quantified for the first time in recent years.
  • MonfortS26
    252
    I've seen things about the fractal being key to our concept of beauty, but I've always thought it was superstition. Do you have any type of source that you could include that would say the same?
  • wuliheron
    440
    I've seen things about the fractal being key to our concept of beauty, but I've always thought it was superstition. Do you have any type of source that you could include that would say the same?MonfortS26

    I don't know of any single website that covers everything I've said, but a search engine can turn up quite a few different ones that can. Recently it was demonstrated that classic literature is multifractal which is a fractal within another fractal. Unfortunately the mathematics for expressing these things are new and underdeveloped at this time because they don't obey classical logic and mathematics. Its actually part of what I do is developing the mathematics using a metaphorical approach.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    I like rainbows, their beauty lies in their surprise, their contingency, their particularity and barring any Leprechauns, they are not commodifiable. They present more than what they are, they transcend their own objectivity. Artworks are memetic, and they too present more than what they are.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    How?MonfortS26

    People seem to recognize beauty in the human face consistently. "The beautiful face" is symmetric, the eyes are set at a certain distance apart, the nose, lips, cheekbones, chin, cheeks, etc. fall within a consistent range of measurement. Some factors vary by sex, of course. A beautiful woman and a handsome man don't have the same features.

    Surveys of what people consider beautiful in art are also somewhat consistent. People like landscapes much, much more than they like abstract paintings. Whether people want to see wild or domestic animals, or children in landscapes varies a bit from culture to culture. Whether mountains or rivers are considered necessary for a beautiful landscape also varies somewhat.

    Most people like primary colors in paintings -- blues, greens, reds. Most people do not want to see a lot of orange in paintings.

    I can't tell you whether these preferences are innate or acquired. Do we think that a statue of Apollo from the classical era is beautiful because the ancient sculptor captured innate beauty, or have we been taught that classical sculpture is beautiful? I am inclined to think that that the ancient sculptor captured innate beauty, and that we admire the results--as we have been taught.

    Talking about beauty this way is different than what individuals consider beautiful. Parents, quite properly, tend to think their children are beautiful, but the parents of 7.3 billion people can't all be right. Some people, IMHO, are not beautiful. Some people have beautiful parts: there are models whose feet, hands, legs, or torsos are considered ideal, without their whole body being considered so great.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k


    BC Happy Birthday!

    I agree with very little you have written, however I do think there is such a thing as natural beauty, and manmade beauty. I think manmade beauty relies on natural beauty.. What makes Lucian Freud's faces beautiful, I don't think you are even close in this regards. The whole thing about beauty based on consensus isn't beauty, it is popularity.

    The classical piece is interesting because it suggests that beauty has a history, and what we find beautiful in Venus De Milo may have to do more with its imperfections, the fact that it survived the millennia, may be more important than its technical merit, my guess.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    Thank you for the greetings. I'm 70. Hope to be around for some time -- maybe another decade or so. Time will tell, literally.

    What don't you agree with -- my last post or everything I said since the beginning?

    I enjoy looking at Lucian Freud's paintings, and I wouldn't call them "beautiful" in the sense of comely, pretty, handsome, or any conventional term. It wasn't his intent to paint that sort of image. The features that I identified as characteristic of "beautiful faces" belong to real faces. We seem to like evenly proportioned faces rather than faces that are very disproportionate -- extremely small eyes, extremely big nose, very thin or very thick lips, etc.

    As for the features of paintings, or features of faces, they are popular because we like them. Paintings of swamps just aren't as popular as paintings of wooded hills and lushly green pastures with holstein cattle grazing, with children playing by a brook. There is something about certain kinds of paintings that makes them popular.

    Are you familiar with Thomas Kincaid's stuff? It's very popular. It's gawd-awful cliched crap, but it is popular. There must e something about it that appeals to many people: The color palate, the limited subject matter, the expected perspective, the inoffensiveness of the over-all effect, the frequently gauzy focus, etc. It isn't good -- I don't think you'll actually see his stuff on the walls of cheap motels, even. It appeals to people with VERY conventional tastes (which, by the way, is not a crime against humanity).

    His scenes are from Never Never Land, the Wizard of Oz, somewhere over the rainbow -- certainly nothing that is real now, or ever was. It's escapist, it's phony, it's "pretty", it's "cute", and warm, and glowing and all sorts of people buy it. For them it is "beautiful". It's Christmas card art -- which also sells extremely well. Only the prickliest, snobbiest, most elitist, longest soaked in sauerkraut, grinchiest people fail to respond to Christmas card art. Is it great art? Hell no. But... people like it consistently.
  • Cavacava
    2.4k



    No I was just responding to your last post.

    I don't think comely, pretty, handsome are beautiful, you may say well they are normative, but so what, I think it is philistine sense of beauty, like Tom Kincaid's kitsch.

    Character can be beautiful, I think that is what Freud was after, even if his work will never be the backdrop to dancing with the stars and I doubt you will see it on many motels walls, except perhaps a hotel for insomniacs X-)

    Hollywood's stars are not beautiful, they are iconic, normatively ideal, I think.
  • Bitter Crank
    7.2k
    There is probably little possibility of achieving agreement on this issue if the positions are too far apart. We can probably agree that beauty does exist.
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