Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Disinterestedness — More than just a big word

We all have different passions. For me, this:


source: http://www.brightsideofnews.com/2014/09/03/lenovo-announces-intel-powered-tab-s8/

is infinitely more interesting than say, this:

source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/84935187@N04/15045568809/in/photolist-oVwtqM-ej4aUR-bVJFVV-pGvQuS-8M5Tx-91k5nz-ovAAJq-9Kb7V8-nJu3a6-nnL5Y9-pPHdvG-a3pCa9-9QcGXE-p6SGtS-fgyZv9-nftvfa-d9XQ7-8K4qTh-6CreoR-4eANYS

source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/84935187@N04/15045568809/in/photolist-oVwtqM-ej4aUR-bVJFVV-pGvQuS-8M5Tx-91k5nz-ovAAJq-9Kb7V8-nJu3a6-nnL5Y9-pPHdvG-a3pCa9-9QcGXE-p6SGtS-fgyZv9-nftvfa-d9XQ7-8K4qTh-6CreoR-4eANYS

At the same time, the first picture invokes a positive aesthetic experience whereas the latter does not. Why? In my case, I believe that interest, or rather, disinterestedness can also play a huge role in the way we perceive experiences, as either positive, or negative.

There is no doubt that I have an interest in technology. The glossy display of a tablet, the alluring camera hump on a smartphone, the internals of a powerful computer all give me a positive aesthetic experience. However, to many other people, this is definitely not the case. Others may find that the smell of a freshly mown lawn (gross), the ‘beauty’ of a colourful flower (meh), or the beautiful contrast between land and sky in the horizon (admittedly pretty beautiful) as a more positive aesthetic experience, but I find that because I have an interest in technology, I have a better aesthetic experience and appreciation of it.

At the same time, I recognize my disinterestedness in things such as grasses of flowers. I’ve never appreciated the so-called ‘beauty’ in a flower, but instead have found it just a natural part of life. Although I can see why some may find it to be visually appealing with its bright, vibrant colours and soft smell, but because my own interest is not nature, I am not attached to the experience of nature as I am to, say, automobiles. My disinterestedness also affects my aesthetic experiences, making possible ‘positive’ experiences into ones that are just aesthetic experiences, not pleasing.

In conclusion, I’ve found that interest plays a huge part in the aesthetic experience. For me, it’s easy to say that an aluminum-brushed smartphone is ‘beautiful’, but to others, a flower might be there go-to example of beauty. My interest in technology, and the other person’s interest in the flower can co-exist because neither of us is wrong. There is no set standard to beauty, there is only individual perception. And through my perception, my own interest would lead me to believe that there is nothing more ‘positive’ than the LEDs on the outside of a flashy gaming computer.



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