Beauty (or aesthetics)

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Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Nature of a Man » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:45 am

I've been interested if there's a way to define beauty (or aesthetics) as a principle. (In practice, beauty will be somewhat in the eye of the beholder, but I was interested in the more intrinsic aspects as well).

My layman's understanding is that things which have intrinsic beauty represent something which is complete or perfected. (The etymology of the word beauty apparently relates to the word "finished") - this could likely include anything which would fit into this principle, such as a work of art, a story, a task at hand, or anything else to be "finished".

In contrast, things which are perceived as "ugly" or unaesthetic represent something which is unfinished, or which is devolved or downgraded into a cruder or more primitive form.

As an example of what I mean, the above work of art is more beautiful than the one below (and calling the one below "art" to begin with is debatable) - theoretically both represent a "woman", however the above is a much more mature and evolved conception, while the one below is a much cruder and downgraded conception - hence the beauty principle I was trying to hint at.

Image

Image

Or as another example, the above sports car is more beautiful, while one below is uglier (due to it being wrecked, and reduced to a collection of scrap parts rather than a whole car).

Image

Image

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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by hugodrax » Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:03 am

Some people’s mother’s do have them.
I am also of the opinion that the Jesuits should be suppressed.

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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by tuttle » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:13 am

Here are a couple of threads that at least touch upon this topic

On Beauty

Beauty, the Arts, and the Church
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Cleon » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:40 am

Golden ratios and Fibonacci numbers.

I have a keen interest in historic architecture. Architects and craftsmen used to use these ratios and numbers all the time. One of the big mistakes people make, IMO, when remodeling a historic house (pre modern era) is replacing windows and doors with a different size or closing them off entirely. It totally throws off the proportions of the house. I think people intuitively know this, but don't know how to express it.
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Hovannes » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:36 am

God=Truth=Beauty.
Each an indicator of the existence of the other two.
That's kind of the Thomistic explanation.
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Del » Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:33 pm

Nature of a Man wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:45 am
I've been interested if there's a way to define beauty (or aesthetics) as a principle. (In practice, beauty will be somewhat in the eye of the beholder, but I was interested in the more intrinsic aspects as well).
Blessed fellow.... Do you have any background at all? (Serious question: What is your tradition? -- Evangelical? Protestant? Catholic? What education do you have?)

High-school Catholic catechesis on reality -- goodness, truth, and beauty -- will and intellect -- human nature, the Natural Law -- these are the building blocks of philosophy.

For every question, we first ask, "What is this thing for?" Then we examine whether a specific instance conforms with nature, or is disordered against nature.
==============================

In the case of Beauty, we recognize that Beauty points to God. Goodness, truth, and beauty are ultimately one thing, in the Being of God.

At the human level, Mankind is a rational animal. Rational means that we are made in the image of God, with the spiritual aspects of will and intellect. We are like the angels (and demons). We are also material creatures -- animals. We have all of the animal appetites.... food, warmth, comfort, sex, etc.

With this knowledge, we can understand the relationship of goodness, truth, and beauty.

Truth -- that with appeals to our intellect.
Goodness -- that which appeals to our will. The virtues.
Beauty -- that appeals simultaneously to both our will and our intellect.

Got it? The well-drawn woman is more true-to-life than the kid-scribble. Thus, it is a more beautiful portrait.

Whereas a pornographic image of an attractive woman might seem to be "beautiful," but it appeals to the animal appetites and most definitely not to our virtues. Pornography is a disordered mockery of beauty.
================================================

Please tell me... does this help your understanding at all?
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Nature of a Man » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:40 pm

hugodrax wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:03 am
Some people’s mother’s do have them.
I think this is what you meant, right?

Image

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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Del » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:45 pm

Nature of a Man wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:40 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:03 am
Some people’s mother’s do have them.
I think this is what you meant, right?

Image
Before this thread gets locked, I'm gonna say.... umm, NO.
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by hugodrax » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:48 pm

Del wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:45 pm
Nature of a Man wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:40 pm
hugodrax wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 7:03 am
Some people’s mother’s do have them.
I think this is what you meant, right?

Image
Before this thread gets locked, I'm gonna say.... umm, NO.
No. I might not understand you, but I like you. You might be the most genial fellow I've seen.
I am also of the opinion that the Jesuits should be suppressed.

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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Nature of a Man » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:58 pm

Del wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:33 pm
Blessed fellow.... Do you have any background at all? (Serious question: What is your tradition? -- Evangelical? Protestant? Catholic? What education do you have?)
Thank you, I have Catholics and Protestants in my family background but was raised evangelical Protestant; I don't strongly identify with a specific denomination.

I'd don't have formal education on the Catholic Catechism or theology, however I'm a self-learner, and I've seen these themes and patterns come up across a wide variety of subjects, such as in the sciences and evolution, or world religions in general. (I've probably spent more time studying sciences than theologies, and I've seen similar themes, though in modern sciences they seem to be much more obscured and obfuscated than in traditional theologies).
High-school Catholic catechesis on reality -- goodness, truth, and beauty -- will and intellect -- human nature, the Natural Law -- these are the building blocks of philosophy.

For every question, we first ask, "What is this thing for?" Then we examine whether a specific instance conforms with nature, or is disordered against nature.
==============================

In the case of Beauty, we recognize that Beauty points to God. Goodness, truth, and beauty are ultimately one thing, in the Being of God.

At the human level, Mankind is a rational animal. Rational means that we are made in the image of God, with the spiritual aspects of will and intellect. We are like the angels (and demons). We are also material creatures -- animals. We have all of the animal appetites.... food, warmth, comfort, sex, etc.

With this knowledge, we can understand the relationship of goodness, truth, and beauty.

Truth -- that with appeals to our intellect.
Goodness -- that which appeals to our will. The virtues.
Beauty -- that appeals simultaneously to both our will and our intellect.

Got it? The well-drawn woman is more true-to-life than the kid-scribble. Thus, it is a more beautiful portrait.

Whereas a pornographic image of an attractive woman might seem to be "beautiful," but it appeals to the animal appetites and most definitely not to our virtues. Pornography is a disordered mockery of beauty.
================================================

Please tell me... does this help your understanding at all?
Yes, that's very deep and similar to concepts I've heard come up again and again regarding concept of "good, true, and beautiful".

I agree with your assessment on the subject; porn, for example, appeals to a lower level of interest than arts or intellectual stimulation; porn primarily appeals to the impulses or the physical, instinctual drives which mankind shares with animals, rather than the higher or more "evolved" faculties which are responsible for arts, sciences, religion, and spirituality.

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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Goose55 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:25 am

A good text would be Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Del » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:48 am

Nature of a Man wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:58 pm
Del wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:33 pm
Blessed fellow.... Do you have any background at all? (Serious question: What is your tradition? -- Evangelical? Protestant? Catholic? What education do you have?)
Thank you, I have Catholics and Protestants in my family background but was raised evangelical Protestant; I don't strongly identify with a specific denomination.

I'd don't have formal education on the Catholic Catechism or theology, however I'm a self-learner, and I've seen these themes and patterns come up across a wide variety of subjects, such as in the sciences and evolution, or world religions in general. (I've probably spent more time studying sciences than theologies, and I've seen similar themes, though in modern sciences they seem to be much more obscured and obfuscated than in traditional theologies).
High-school Catholic catechesis on reality -- goodness, truth, and beauty -- will and intellect -- human nature, the Natural Law -- these are the building blocks of philosophy.

For every question, we first ask, "What is this thing for?" Then we examine whether a specific instance conforms with nature, or is disordered against nature.
==============================

In the case of Beauty, we recognize that Beauty points to God. Goodness, truth, and beauty are ultimately one thing, in the Being of God.

At the human level, Mankind is a rational animal. Rational means that we are made in the image of God, with the spiritual aspects of will and intellect. We are like the angels (and demons). We are also material creatures -- animals. We have all of the animal appetites.... food, warmth, comfort, sex, etc.

With this knowledge, we can understand the relationship of goodness, truth, and beauty.

Truth -- that with appeals to our intellect.
Goodness -- that which appeals to our will. The virtues.
Beauty -- that appeals simultaneously to both our will and our intellect.

Got it? The well-drawn woman is more true-to-life than the kid-scribble. Thus, it is a more beautiful portrait.

Whereas a pornographic image of an attractive woman might seem to be "beautiful," but it appeals to the animal appetites and most definitely not to our virtues. Pornography is a disordered mockery of beauty.
================================================

Please tell me... does this help your understanding at all?
Yes, that's very deep and similar to concepts I've heard come up again and again regarding concept of "good, true, and beautiful".

I agree with your assessment on the subject; porn, for example, appeals to a lower level of interest than arts or intellectual stimulation; porn primarily appeals to the impulses or the physical, instinctual drives which mankind shares with animals, rather than the higher or more "evolved" faculties which are responsible for arts, sciences, religion, and spirituality.
It's not that deep. That is introductory philosophy.

Also.... the animal appetites are "evolved" from below.

The higher, spiritual capacities of will and intellect are infused from above.... That is why Man is unique as the only "rational animal." This is why we find ourselves pulled in two directions.... we want to do what we should do, and we want to do what we shouldn't do. [The Christian doctrine of fallen nature is the best philosophical explanation for this contradiction in nature.]

Materialist views of life and mankind ("strictly an accident of molecular evolution") are unable to account for man's unique position as a rational being.

The concepts of beauty and art did not "evolve." It's not like chimps did bad art and men did better art. Art appeared suddenly and explosively on the earth.

Q. How do we know it was a caveman in the cave, and not just a cave-bear?
A. The caveman made art.
===============================

As for aesthetics:

Aristotle says that we recognize beauty in a thing by noting how well its parts are ordered.

A simple definition, but it also leads us to many more questions.

- What is "well-ordered"?
- How do we measure if a thing is more-or-less ordered to its proper end? Could one say that beauty is this measure?

This insight appeals to me. Beauty is our sense of how well a thing is ordered toward the purpose that God intended!
- Thus a beautiful woman is made more beautiful when she marries and mothers a family. Alternative, her beauty is marred by pornography and other abuse.

Next question: If this idea of beauty works for God's creation (e.g., a woman), then does it also work for artifacts of mankind (e.g., a car)?
- And so the discussion goes....

There was something poorly ordered about the parts of an Edsel.

ImageImage
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Del » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:55 am

Goose55 wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:25 am
A good text would be Philippians 4:8

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
St. Paul was educated in the philosophy of Plato, as well as deep learning in the Torah and Talmud. His Greek readers would have been familiar with Greek philosophy, of course.

We should know some basic Greek philosophy too, if we want to understand much of what Paul meant. Paul quotes the pagan Greek philosopher poets....
Acts 17:28 New International Version (NIV)

28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[1] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[2]

Footnotes:
[1] Acts 17:28 From the Cretan philosopher Epimenides
[2] Acts 17:28 From the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by SlowToke » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:28 pm

Objective aesthetic beauty is that which is orderly, symmetrical, and definite. It's mathematically measurable. Mathematics is the language of God. Being made by and in the image of God, we are hardwired to desire or be touched spiritually by aesthetic beauty and thus recognize it.

Love allows us to see a different kind of beauty; that which is subjective and immeasurable.
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by durangopipe » Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:59 pm

“Del” wrote:It's not that deep. That is introductory philosophy.

“What is the Trinity?”
It’s not that deep, it’s introductory theology.

Maybe we do begin to explore the idea of the Trinity in our introduction - in Catechism, Sunday School, Intro. To Systematic Theology - but that’s hardly the end of it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, take a look at the history of formal aesthetics along with a good survey of art history. Nice clear answers there?

Remember this?

Image

German Expressionist sculpture with a pipe some on the forum found severely lacking in beauty.

Many aestheticians and most contemporary art historians found that period in art history, and those sculptures, profoundly beautiful in a non-classical sense.

“Yeah, but they were wrong!”

That contributes a lot to the discussion, doesn’t it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Is this pipe beautiful in the classical sense?

Image

Is it beautiful in some other way?
Its maker is a gifted member of the forum.

An artist.

I don’t know if he still checks in, but I’d love to hear his thoughts regarding traditional notions of beauty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What is art?
Where is art? (The artist’s idea? The object? The experience of the object? ... )
How is beauty related to art?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The conversation is initiated in “introductory,” but these things don’t get really interesting until long after “introductory.”

The question, “What is beauty?” has not been resolved in the ongoing conversation that is philosophical aesthetics. Some may have resolved it for themselves, but that’s hardly the same as being resolved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If anyone is interested, this is always a pretty good place to start as “introductory” to a question in philosophy:

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beauty/

It’s a bare minimum survey, an introduction.
It raises as many questions as it answers.

I doubt anyone who “already knows the answer” will bother to begin here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Too many “answers.” Not enough questions.
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by FredS » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:06 pm

durangopipe wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:59 pm
The question, “What _____________________________________________?” has not been resolved in the ongoing conversation that is__________________________________. Some may have resolved it for themselves, but that’s hardly the same as being resolved.
The forum software should automatically past this blurb at the beginning of every thread on CPS.

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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Nature of a Man » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:13 pm

Del wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:48 am
Nature of a Man wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:58 pm
Del wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 8:33 pm
Blessed fellow.... Do you have any background at all? (Serious question: What is your tradition? -- Evangelical? Protestant? Catholic? What education do you have?)
Thank you, I have Catholics and Protestants in my family background but was raised evangelical Protestant; I don't strongly identify with a specific denomination.

I'd don't have formal education on the Catholic Catechism or theology, however I'm a self-learner, and I've seen these themes and patterns come up across a wide variety of subjects, such as in the sciences and evolution, or world religions in general. (I've probably spent more time studying sciences than theologies, and I've seen similar themes, though in modern sciences they seem to be much more obscured and obfuscated than in traditional theologies).
High-school Catholic catechesis on reality -- goodness, truth, and beauty -- will and intellect -- human nature, the Natural Law -- these are the building blocks of philosophy.

For every question, we first ask, "What is this thing for?" Then we examine whether a specific instance conforms with nature, or is disordered against nature.
==============================

In the case of Beauty, we recognize that Beauty points to God. Goodness, truth, and beauty are ultimately one thing, in the Being of God.

At the human level, Mankind is a rational animal. Rational means that we are made in the image of God, with the spiritual aspects of will and intellect. We are like the angels (and demons). We are also material creatures -- animals. We have all of the animal appetites.... food, warmth, comfort, sex, etc.

With this knowledge, we can understand the relationship of goodness, truth, and beauty.

Truth -- that with appeals to our intellect.
Goodness -- that which appeals to our will. The virtues.
Beauty -- that appeals simultaneously to both our will and our intellect.

Got it? The well-drawn woman is more true-to-life than the kid-scribble. Thus, it is a more beautiful portrait.

Whereas a pornographic image of an attractive woman might seem to be "beautiful," but it appeals to the animal appetites and most definitely not to our virtues. Pornography is a disordered mockery of beauty.
================================================

Please tell me... does this help your understanding at all?
Yes, that's very deep and similar to concepts I've heard come up again and again regarding concept of "good, true, and beautiful".

I agree with your assessment on the subject; porn, for example, appeals to a lower level of interest than arts or intellectual stimulation; porn primarily appeals to the impulses or the physical, instinctual drives which mankind shares with animals, rather than the higher or more "evolved" faculties which are responsible for arts, sciences, religion, and spirituality.
It's not that deep. That is introductory philosophy.

Also.... the animal appetites are "evolved" from below.

The higher, spiritual capacities of will and intellect are infused from above.... That is why Man is unique as the only "rational animal." This is why we find ourselves pulled in two directions.... we want to do what we should do, and we want to do what we shouldn't do. [The Christian doctrine of fallen nature is the best philosophical explanation for this contradiction in nature.]

Materialist views of life and mankind ("strictly an accident of molecular evolution") are unable to account for man's unique position as a rational being.

The concepts of beauty and art did not "evolve." It's not like chimps did bad art and men did better art. Art appeared suddenly and explosively on the earth.

Q. How do we know it was a caveman in the cave, and not just a cave-bear?
A. The caveman made art.
===============================

As for aesthetics:

Aristotle says that we recognize beauty in a thing by noting how well its parts are ordered.

A simple definition, but it also leads us to many more questions.

- What is "well-ordered"?
- How do we measure if a thing is more-or-less ordered to its proper end? Could one say that beauty is this measure?

This insight appeals to me. Beauty is our sense of how well a thing is ordered toward the purpose that God intended!
- Thus a beautiful woman is made more beautiful when she marries and mothers a family. Alternative, her beauty is marred by pornography and other abuse.

Next question: If this idea of beauty works for God's creation (e.g., a woman), then does it also work for artifacts of mankind (e.g., a car)?
- And so the discussion goes....

There was something poorly ordered about the parts of an Edsel.

ImageImage
True, Darwinian evolution is somewhat myopic, and my understanding is that evolution is primarily an Eastern religious concept, such as in the Hindu religion, which was later appropriated by the West, despite having been an Eastern concept for thousands of years before Darwin arrived as a somewhat amateurish latecomer to the scene.

Even then, though, the theme is still existent - whether in the theme of individuals or species evolving to higher and higher forms, or devolving to lower and lower forms over eras or reincarnation cycles - or in the social evolution sense, in which individuals can ascend to higher castes or varnas (e.x. scientist, philosopher, artist, theologian), or descend to lower ones (e.x. criminal, untouchable, homeless drug addict) as a result of the negative or positive karma they accumulate via their lifestyle choices.

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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by Cleon » Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:43 pm

Image

This is a beautiful pipe to me due largely to the proportions and symmetry.
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by durangopipe » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:55 pm

Cleon wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:43 pm
Image

This is a beautiful pipe to me due largely to the proportions and symmetry.
Regarding this pipe, agreed.
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Re: Beauty (or aesthetics)

Post by durangopipe » Fri Dec 21, 2018 12:22 am

“natureofaman” wrote: ... and my understanding is that evolution is primarily an Eastern religious concept, such as in the Hindu religion, which was later appropriated by the West, despite having been an Eastern concept for thousands of years before Darwin arrived as a somewhat amateurish latecomer to the scene.
A bit off the “beauty” topic, but that part of your post, well ...

A cosmology or religious tradition is not science. As a scienctist, Darwin was not late to the scene. True, no scientist works in a vacuum, he had precursors, but I think that comment was a little over the top.

Spiritual traditions that focus on the concept of constant change might be seen as early formulations of Evolutionry Theory if one likes creating complicated (in my opinion unjustifiable) intellectual pretzels, but I’ve got a funny feeling you were referring to something more specific: reincarnation.

Adaptation through random mutation and natural selection, and speciation through natural selection over very long periods of time is kind of hard to equate in a meaningful way with a spiritual cosmology that includes an idea like reincarnation. Screwing up in this life and coming back as a worm isn’t evolution. Not screwing up and moving “higher” isn’t either. (Forgive the Westernized language.)

Calling Darwin’s body of hugely diligent and conscientious scientific work “amateurish” is grossly inaccurate. There are some (many here) who consider the theory flawed, a contradiction of scripture (many Christian scholars do not), but the work was certainly characterized by “professionalism” as it pertains to the conduct of science.

Offered as a friend.
Truly.

I do love admire your spirit.
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