Truth be told, I prefer the written word over visual mediums, but Alice points to a film review of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Academy Award–winning film The Lives of Others that raises some interesting questions regarding the value and rationality of art. Note to Mapmaster: If the perfection that is Bach is less appealing to you than the output of Trooper, does this mean you are more totalitarian than me?
Jacques Maritain writes in Art and Scholasticism that the splendor in beauty lies in its intelligibility: “If beauty delights the intellect, it is because it is essentially a certain excellence or perfection in the proportion of things to the intellect.” This doesn’t mean that beauty is ordered and logical in the way mathematics is ordered and logical—it has its own kind of order, distinct from quantitative order. But the appeal that beauty has for human beings is a reasonable appeal—human beings are rational animals, and our taste for the beautiful is not simply visceral, but rational. The contemplation of beauty is a rational endeavor that lies in the realm of knowledge—nonconceptual knowledge, but knowledge nonetheless.