Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Candle Light or The A Shadow Cast by Beauty

The definition of aesthetics to me is:

The study of beauty and art. There is a personal attachment to aesthetics depending on the experiences you hold with that specific piece, item, place, image, person, ext you find aesthetically pleasing or not.

For something to be aesthetically pleasing it is basically pleasurable or calming in the eye and emotion of the beholder. For something to aesthetically unpleasing it must be distasteful or distressing in the eye and emotion of the beholder.

Junichiro Tanizaki, a Japanese literary hero, states that:

“We find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness, that one thing against another creates… Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.”

This makes a lot of sense when we try to consider the reasons we find candle light so captivating, relaxing, and beautiful. It goes all the way back to our ancient ancestors. They lived in dark caves and found beauty in shadows. When a fire was lit in a dark cave, it gave warmth and a source of food in ways and that meant survival. Survival translated into a form of beauty as the shadows it cast and this translates back to the candle. This also relates back to why humans and animals find shiny and glittery things so attractive. Plato’s Allegory of a Cave has even been based off a game of shadows. There must have been something captivating about the silhouettes cast on that cave wall, telling a story.

Inevitably, It comes down to the reactions that happen in our brain. When light enters our eyes and registers in our brain, our brain processes that as different properties such as motion, colour, shadow and luminance. When you apply this to art you can exaggerate specific properties to pull out different emotions and reaction. When referring to a candle, it has all four of these properties and, therefore, gives a great reaction and emotional connection when it is registered in our brains. You always wondered why people light candles at a romantic dinner? Well, the emotions these properties give are unknowingly the reason!



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *