Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's kinda relative, but not really

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.

[..] I doubt that reasoned and sustained argument could accomplish what beauty and pity could not. The problem is not that poetry and music are not persuasive enough, but that the totalitarian mind limits the scope of reason within itself and is not open to being persuaded by a new experience—especially the experience of the mysterious, which it quickly debunks. The greatness of The Lives of Others lies in showing us that the totalitarian mind is more vulnerable than we think, and that a single moment of beauty can pierce through decades of ideological brainwashing.


MapMaster said...

Not more totalitarian than you, except perhaps towards myself at times. Rock music might be a personal samizdat to myself, so to speak.

Lisa said...

We all have our sources of dope. If all else fails, vote for the legislators of our collective preference. They are sure to fix our truobles.

Alice the Camel said...

I've been thinking about this today as I recalled hearing a group who play heavy metal stuff on cellos on CKUA. Google revealed Apocalyptica.

Not exactly Trooper; but not exactly Bach either.

Perhaps Apocalyptica can make you both, um...equally totalitarian.

Or something.

With my thanks.

BlackmarketPies said...

"...a single moment of beauty can pierce through decades of ideological brainwashing."

The first thing that came to mind was 2112 by Rush.