TED Talk video with Denis Dutton
Philosophy emphasizes thought and reason and art emphasizes human feeling and spirit.
Whirlpool State Park
Where the two shall meet? Denis Dutton is where they meet with a Darwinian Theory of Beauty.
See the video above where Dutton talks about how the two are intertwined. I was most intrigued by the evolution of beauty. This video was an interesting journey of thought. He explores, “What the experience of beauty is…”
I think I understand the experience of beauty, or at least how it affects me. I will tell you now, but read on to find out more from my thoughts and the video.
I find beauty to be standing in awe, feeling not a chill but a sensation, a stop in your tracks reaction, tuning out everything around my being. The word itself is used excessively sometimes without heed. Sometimes we don’t know why, but we just do. Other times we don’t believe something beautiful but say so anyway.
We look at beauty but all see it differently, most probably fashioned by our experiences. Hence the overused phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Whatever has the presence to move you or touch you in a positive personal way can be considered beautiful, but is that tempered by culture and social situation as a qualifier?
Niagara Falls State Park
Shadows move over time, changing a scene and how we perceive it.
Must things we create always be beautiful? Can we find beauty in all things? A resounding yes to the second question in my opinion, even if culture determines a uniformity in what we are supposed to appreciate. The notion of “doing things well can be beautiful”, makes the answer to both questions “yes”, where question one is true and is a subset of question two.
Convoluted? No, simple.
From discussion in the video, things that are inherently non-beautiful can have the component of being beautifully conceived, like the horror movie example he gives in the talk. Professor Dutton notes that “we find beauty in something done well.” I hope you viewed the video in order to follow the line of thinking or even make sense of the information in this post.
Niagara Falls State Park
Beauty is complicated, where things we call beautiful are all so different, a real cacophony of varied subjects touching various senses. The beauty recognized by the senses is the most diverse.
What we really are looking at is aesthetics in art endeavors if we are seeing the physical art. It has more to do with the appreciation or creation of beautiful things.
Poetry is an echo, asking shadow to dance. Carl Sandburg
Dutton takes the beauty of art back to two and a half million years ago. It is pretty amazing what these primitive hominids would have created for the sake of beauty rather than the necessity of practical tools. He explains, in an entertaining way, the theory of why.
These art pieces of ancient times were made long before known language. Is art changing culture or culture changing art? Are we presently and very slowly trading the written word for that of image or object like the prehistoric people in the example?
Photography can be the visual literacy of telling stories by photos or a series of photos, where words need not be used. Are we changing the way we communicate, making a social modification through image?
Maybe, as photos are universal and currently over-saturating our visual space, whereas words require translation across cultures. And even more evidence – language is evolving. It is being condensed down for the purpose of speed and brevity. Texting anyone???
Upper Niagara River
So much to read now-a-days is a shorthand version or what was written before. A synopsis can be meant to be the entire story. Is that why photographs have been exerting more power with the advent of the web?
The images used have the presence of shadow, light and darkness. As a shadow moves, so goes with it the movement of place. Shadow can be its own kind of beauty. Shadows express time without words and numbers.
Shadows are their own kind of literacy. Think about places and structures where shadowed space gave rise to a space bathed in the clarity of light. Or structures that marked time and season. (Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Mayan structures, obelisks, temples marking the solstice, etc.).
Catch up on the series on Creative Thinking and Thoughts on Design:
More thoughts on creativity with a followup post to All Tech and Little Talent. Tough Times To Be A Creative is for the doubting Thomases, plus the post might make you question uploading BEAUTIFUL images.