Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0098, December 10, 2016


DEPT. OF AESTHETICS


Love & Art




Copyright 2016 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski




Copyright 2016 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski


     The rejoicing at the news of return of the feedingthemindseye web site to active status has been YUGE! "Yayayayayayay!" exclaims Elisa. Katherine shared the link with Kevin, Erin and Peter. "Fantastic, great to see this come back again!" says Michael. In view of such enthusiastic welcome we (Prickles and I) feel humbled and challenged. Well, there's nothing for it but to plow ahead as best we can and let chips fall where they may. So... we start today with two more of the rejected calendar images (might as well get some mileage out of them) and without further ado proceed to the subject at hand.

     Love and Art (with capital A) have this in common: both have multiple fuzzy and often contradictory definitions. Use of these two words is fraught with peril and opportunities for deep misunderstanding unless we spend considerable time and energy explaining, or, preferably, demonstrating by live action just what we mean by them. Actually, love and Art are best (perhaps only) defined by actual examples. The words by themselves only serve to evoke individual personal fantasies rarely related to reality.

     More importantly, what love and Art have in common is feelings, that is, the "aesthetic experience" involved in any encounter with instances of love or Art. I put the quotation marks on "aesthetic experience" because it is a redundancy. "Aesthetic" is derived from Greek aisthesthai meaning to perceive, experience, feel, so all experience is "aesthetic" by definition (we feel/experience nothing when anaesthesized). In the final analysis, anything we experience can be taken as an instance of Art - we make it formally "Art" by giving it our attention, or calling attention to it by putting a real or imaginary frame around it. And when the objects in the frame are live human beings, it could be an instance of love or at least a symptom of it.

     In the current vernacular, "aesthetics" have become specifically associated with the experience of beauty (another ill defined term for which Prickles and I have a working definition, but that's another story). But neither Art nor love are necessarily beautiful. By the way, in his "Art of Love" Ovid is talking about "art" with lower case "a" which is "a skill, technique or a method" as in "the art of baking bread". "Which has aesthetics all its own," notes Prickles. "And what does he mean by love?" she asks. We shall leave that to our readers' imagination. Or they may wish to consult the source directly.



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