[lit-ideas] Re: Beauty, anyone?

>"X is meaningless not because it is or isn't a social construct but
>because it can't be defined, because it's anything anyone thinks it
>is."

Is absolutely correct.  If something can't be defined, what is it, and what can 
be said about it?

Compare Chartres to the sand art of Buddhist monks, who create stunningly 
intricate images out of sand then destroy them to illustrate the brevity of 
life and the insignificance of things and accomplishments.  Compare that to the 
godlike aspirations of Chartres.  Some of the sheiks in Dubai today build 
ostentatious palacial structures that rival Chartres in artistry.  The pink 
wallpaper is more like sand art, brief and meaningless, and both Chartres and 
the pink wallpaper will be down there with the sand art some day in any case, 
even if on a relative scale Chartres will last a little longer.  In any case, 
beauty is not a democratic process of consensus, or perhaps it is.  If 
something is undefined, it can be anything at all.

For Julie, Beauty sounds good, but unless you're talking about Plato or Plato's 
horse, what is Beauty?  




-----Original Message-----
>From: John McCreery <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
>Sent: Feb 21, 2007 12:26 AM
>To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Beauty, anyone?
>
>On 2/21/07, Mike Geary <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>
>>One can talk all day about why one believes that the
>> Mona Lisa is more beautiful than Keane's paintings of big eyed kids, but in
>> the end it's all opinion.
>
>True. But what makes you think that ends the discussion? Why should I,
>or anyone else, by into the notion that meaning depends on a single,
>universal definition and that any term without a single, universal
>definition is, ipso facto, meaningless. Try substituting X for
>"beauty" in Irene's assertion that
>
>"Beauty is meaningless not because it is or isn't a social construct
>but because it can't be defined, because it's anything anyone thinks
>it is."
>
>I.e,
>
>"X is meaningless not because it is or isn't a social construct but
>because it can't be defined, because it's anything anyone thinks it
>is."
>
>As yourself how many terms you know that are meaningful if subjected
>to the same test. Then you may see why I call Irene's assertions a
>reductio ad absurdum.
>
>The perverse assumption here is that unless everyone agrees on a
>definition there is no definition, or, more broadly that unless
>everyone agrees on a judgment there is no ground for any judgment at
>all. With a bit more historical perspective one may note, for example,
>that Chartres has attracted a huge and diverse audience of admirers
>for centuries, including brilliant commentators like Irwin Panofsky.
>One may then note that pink wallpaper with seashells passes in and out
>of fashion and the crowd of admirers is small. If one then makes the
>judgment that Chartres is more beautiful than the wallpaper, one can,
>at least, feel in good company.
>
>
>
>Cheers,
>
>John
>
>
>
>
>
>-- 
>John McCreery
>The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
>Tel. +81-45-314-9324
>http://www.wordworks.jp/
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