Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Attention: Millennials May Not Be Self-Obsessed Robots – Katie Crompton

We’ve all heard the stereotypes of millennials. That we are vain slaves for social media who only find joy in amounts of followers we have or likes we get, but guess what, we are humans too! I know, crazy right? It’s these stereotypes that sparked the idea for this project. For my aesthetic experience, I decided to explore how my generation defines beauty and how the presence of social media has changed that definition. I have always been fascinated by beauty standards and how different people define beauty and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to explore this concept while also using my creative side and taking a series of portraits that attempt to portray that idea.

The Process

The first step to this project was getting people on board. By doing this I made this survey (feel free to fill it out if you feel like it and have some time to kill) and sent it to multiple Facebook groups (mainly to theatre kids because we don’t shy away from opportunities to be in front of a camera) and asked people to fill it out. The most important question on the survey was “what is the first word that comes to mind when someone says the word, ‘beauty?” The word they chose would ultimately be painted on their face for the photos. I ended up getting 25 responses to the survey and 12 people split between 2 days who were available to take part in a photo shoot. I had a backdrop and lights set up and an array of baked goods I used as payment and bribery. I’m very proud of the finished product. The photos have not been retouched as I feel like it would create a barrier and defeat the purpose of this project. Anyway, here is a slide show of the finished photos!!

(There’s no sound because I’m boring and didn’t have time…yay)

The Outcome

From doing this project, I have come to the conclusion that my generation generally views beauty as something completely unrelated to someone’s physical appearance. Words like individual, compassion, internal, unique, and kindness were extremely prevalent. These are the words of some people who chose to give some additional comments regarding beauty at the end of the survey:

“Learning to believe you are beautiful is more important than getting told you are beautiful.” – Hira Lalani

“I am a firm believer that beauty begins at the heart, for traits such as compassion and kindness truly reveal one’s beauty and take precedence over physical appearance.” – Waleed Hakeem

“Beauty isn’t something you can necessarily see through the means of Instagram or Snapchat; beauty defines a person as a whole – not just their appearance.” – Claire Lundin

Though there was the common theme of beauty not solely being a physical thing, physical beauty still seems to be something of great importance. When asked “on a scale of 1-10, how important is physical appearance to you?”, 28% of people said 6 and another 28% said 7. Though physical beauty may not be the most important thing to our generation, it still has a fairly large impact on our daily lives. Then social media comes into the picture. One of the questions on the survey was, “on a scale of 1-10, how much do you care about how many likes you get/followers you have?” If we go with the stereotypes, the average answers would expectedly be anywhere from an 8 to a 10. In actuality, the majority of people (24%) said 4, hence the introduction. Social media has become a gigantic part of every day life, but that doesn’t mean it has made us more narcissistic. It has changed society a great deal, but not necessarily in the terrible, revolutionary way that older generations may see it.

Okay, how the heck does this relate to philosophy?

Because I am dealing with a large group of people, it’s impossible to say my whole generation’s view is just like *insert philosophers name here*, and the majority of the answers that I got on the survey don’t really connect to any particular philosopher we have talked about anyway. If we’re to generalize how this generation sees beauty from my findings, we could say that we believe that internal beauty is much more valuable than physical beauty, but this isn’t really what the philosophers we have studied talk about. They mainly talk about art and beauty in the physical sense. There is one particular question that creates a connection to a couple of the philosophers we have talked about. As i stated before, the most important question in the survey is “what is the first word that comes to mind when someone says the word, “beauty?”, which is why this is the one that I wanted to have a visual representation of. Even though 25 people filled out this survey, there was only one word that was repeated. The vast majority of people all had a different answer. This supports Descartes ideas of beauty being in the eye of the beholder and this quote from Hume found on this page on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty. One person may even perceive deformity, where another is sensible of beauty; and every individual ought to acquiesce in his own sentiment, without pretending to regulate those of others.” (Hume 1757, 136)

All in all, this project showed me how beauty is subjective and that it comes from the heart (I know, super cheesy, but it’s my truth). If you have kind and welcoming personality, you will be seen as beautiful by many. Also, millennials are 100% not robots.

Worldle representing all the words people said came to their mind when they thought of beauty

 

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Would You Like To Hear Me Stumble Over My Words Over A Bad-Quality Recording? Here You Go!

Here is said recording for all your listening pleasures.

And this is the painting I mention:

View post on imgur.com

 

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Katherine: my mom said to stop saying gay to everything so this post is a hetero™ post

Normally, I’m not always a big believer in honesty. but I’ll be honest here: the Aesthetics unit was the most confusing thing I’ve ever experienced. Maybe it was because I was expecting it to be easy; Epistemology and Metaphysics sound waaaaaay out of my league, but Aesthetics? I think about that stuff everyday. Should be easy!

It Was Not Easy.

To start, it took me awhile to come up with my own definition of aesthetics, or what I think an aesthetic experience is. To start, here are some of my beliefs: I believe that you cannot fully tell you are having an aesthetic experience until it is over. It would take away from the moment. In paying direct attention to what you are doing, it break the experience. Two things that really intrigued me were concentration and distance. The idea that staring at a pretty sky or a field of flowers and being distant from it, not overly concentrating but just taking the peace and thinking it is pretty,w as totally new. Contrast that to the idea that an aesthetic experience requires complete immersion, all of one’s focus and concentration, and you can understand why I was confused for a while.

Both distraction and complete concentration bring you a kind of peace. Distraction and distance take your brain away and give it peace, and complete concentration removes all distractions and also leaves a kind of peace. Even the experience of say, bungee jumping, or seeing a rock concert, could be considered peaceful while exciting. It’s pretty hard to think of grocery lists while you are bungee jumping, and an exciting rock concert leave you fully immersed in the music. Either way, they are freeing your mind from distraction.

Does that make sense? No? Too bad, we’re moving on.

Old White Dudes Weigh In: Plato

Let me say this: Plato is one of my least favorite philosophers. Ever since the whole concept of “Plato’s Forms” came into this class, he’s lost me. But I was googling aesthetics, I learned something funny about him: while to him, beauty is one of the greatest goods, and art is one of the greatest dangers. As I had always thought of them as the two major parts of aesthetics, I couldn’t understand why he had such differing opinions on them.

Art and beauty are both subjective. There is no way around it. Everyone’s’ pinions on art and beauty are influenced by their environment, their upbringing, their exposure to the world. You can argue that there are some things that are “universally beautiful”, but I contest that. There will always be someone who disagrees.

Beauty, at its base, is something “pleasing to the eye”, something that fires off positive synapses in your brain. Why do people sometimes say “beautiful disasters” and the like? Because you can find beauty in something being destroyed. Watch a fire roar over a forest, or watch a tornado sweep through a town; devastating, but with form, and precision, and clean lines.

Old (usually) White Dudes Weigh In: Confucius

Of all the philosophers, I’m quite fond of Confucius his opinions on art and beauty are quite similar to mine: they are highly important to society. He always emphasized the role of the arts and humanities, especially music and poetry, in helping human nature and bringing us back to the essentials of philosophy.

Now, I also tend to believe that an aesthetic experience is also a state of mind. You can look at something while in a bad mood and purposely find it ugly. Take one of my aesthetic experiences for example: putting on makeup. (Yes, I know how that sounds lemme explain) If I look at myself in the mirror while im in a bad mood, all I see are my flaws. I can pick apart every part of my face and find ways to hate myself. As I put on makeup, I can see myself as trying to hide how I look because I hate it, I can hate how the makeup looks on me, there are an infinite number of ways to make this a shitty and un-aesthetic time for me. But when I concentrated, looked at myself in the mirror and tried to find all the things I liked about myself, I could make the things I hated into, you guessed it, aesthetic experiences. As I paid close attention to what I was doing with the makeup, thinking of art and beauty and deeply concentrating (hey, I connected it to the paragraph above!), I found an aesthetic experience.

Art can be beautiful, but can Beauty be art?

Can you turn any experience into an Aesthetic Experience if you try?

Can you answer any of my other thousands of questions that I won’t post here but I might comment them because theya re bugging me????

(please)

 

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kirsten- my eternal infatuation with lights

 

an old philosophy on aesthetics comes from Plato, where he claims that art is a cheap imitation of reality. his theory suggests that even reality is a less valuable version of the “world of the forms” making art twice removed from perfection. he states that what is perfect is morally good and beautiful.

I can agree with the theory that art is inspired by life, which produces flaws that differentiate between life and allow room for personal deviation. i don’t agree with the conception that flaws make something less beautiful or not enjoyable. i believe that something (art, an experience or otherwise) is beautiful in its whole, including the flaws or displeasure that come with it. by experiencing enjoyment and fully appreciating something in its entirety, this makes it beautiful or pleasurable. this way of thought aligns more with the idea that we give meaning to art.

art or beauty means something different to each of us, and to neglect that would be simplifying one of the most intriguing parts of aesthetics. the idea that art is not universal. this directly conflicts with Hume’s philosophies on aesthetics, where he argues that there is a standard set for art. this requires only some opinions on art to be considered, and having a different opinion on something good or bad is simply wrong. by using this theory, we completely miss the idea that just because something is communally accepted to be beautiful, doesn’t make it pleasurable itself, only to those who find it so.

through this unit i have been able to develop my own ideas on aesthetics by learning from other philosophers and class discussion. i subscribe to the idea that aesthetics is the overall conscious submersion in where you are and what you are doing. it is about being present, without over analyzing, nor separating yourself so far that you are no longer in the moment. this moment may contain it’s problems, or struggles that are needed to appreciate it. the experience may even be overall negative, but by being completely enthralled in the situation, it becomes an aesthetic experience that teaches us something about how we see beauty or pain.

examples:

this past break i spent a fair amount of my time outside. in these outings i was able to submerse myself in the moment i was living and was a part of many aesthetic experiences.

the first experience i had occurred on a spur of the moment drive out to Lafarage lake, which was decorated with Christmas lights along the walk way around the circumference of the lake. there was one section of the lake that had hanging stars that twinkled in white light. this was my favorite and most pleasurable part of the walk. i began to afterwards consider how humans had created these lights specifically to mimic the beauty of our stars. although one could literally put a price on these artificial stars, i found myself contemplating if that meant they were less beautiful than the stars in the sky. although i personally believe seeing the milky way from isolated locations of darkness is one of the most breathtaking views, i don’t believe that the two are comparable as the situations are completely different. the man made flaws that make the lights different from stars are some of the aspects that make them so beautiful, and the overwhelming natural stars are connected to the infatuation with the beauty of our universe.

a picture by my brother (zach edwards) of the milky way on our summer trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands

blurry pic from lafarage lake

the second experience i would like to share was an intentional aesthetic experience where my family, some family friends and i had set out to Capillano Suspension Bridge. here we were surrounded by magnificent lights that stretched high above the tree tops, and sparkled in the air. i found this experience extremely joyous as i appreciate lights very much. on this cold night, a few of the others who had joined me took no pleasure in walking among the lights, which caused me to think of everyone’s different perception of beauty. although most people on the light walk would agree that it was pretty, doesn’t make the experience inherently beautiful.

another blurry pic from Capillano

 

 

 

 

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Hypebeast Trash – Lyle Hendriks

TW for photo of dead guy (no blood or anything)

 

My holiday experience was based almost entirely on consumerism. I ate, watched TV, played video games, and received gifts. I turned into an amorphous blob on my couch. On one such night, I had an aesthetic night of Netflix. Mr. Jackson, if you’re reading this and shaking your head, hang on. That night’s itinerary was: Minimalism, a documentary discussing the impacts of a minimalistic lifestyle in terms of your worldly possessions. I found it mainly to be more of a promo for the ‘life-changing’ accompanying book than any real revelation. It was a little pretentious and lofty at times, and despite my enjoyment of minimalism, I would give it a 6.5/10.

Next up on the list was a documentary I found truly inspiring and possibly life changing. The film Dior and I follows fashion designer Raf Simons as he takes charge of the eminent fashion house Dior, tasked with creating a ‘haute couture’ (high fashion) runway lineup in just eight weeks. The stress and constant time crunch, the teamwork of such creative and skilled people, and most of all, the beauty of what Raf and his team create. What he creates is a phenomenal collection, at times shocking or traditionally unattractive, but with so much craft that I couldn’t help but love it.

The brilliant Raf Simons Courtesy of: Victor Boyko

I ended my evening with two episodes of Bob Ross painting, and melted with joy into my couch at about 3:30 am. My mom came downstairs, yelled at me, but then quieted down and sat down with me when Bob Ross’ pure joy connected with her.

This was my aesthetic experience. Thanks Netflix.

In class we have been asked to identify our personal aesthetics. Mr. Jackson emphasized this wasn’t answered “mainly streetwear but swapped in with dressing like a J. Crew model wannabe”, but rather, “what makes an experience an aesthetic one, for you?”. I have given this a lot of thought, especially during our discussions of art and it’s purpose.

I asked whether all art had to be beautiful. Does an aesthetic experience need to please (everyone/anyone)? In Dior and I, it outlines the differences between ‘haute couture’ collections and ‘ready-to-wear’ collections. When Dior, or Vetements, or Comme des Garcons makes a haute couture collection, they are not intending for people to look at the clothes on the models and buy them for themselves. There is a reason that every dress Dior made for Raf Simons’ collection was one of a kind. They are recreated to order, normally for an enormous sum of money. This begs the question: what is the point of making clothes almost no one wants to wear? In the same way, what is the point of art if it does not have a practical use? I would ask anyone who feels this way about any medium of art to watch Dior and I and try not to have an aesthetic experience. Raf rents a Parisian heritage home, and covers every wall of every room entirely in flowers, floor to ceiling. Models in bold and striking makeup walk with purpose through the house, clothed in a beautiful dress that you would never see anywhere except for at this runway. Dior’s haute couture collection that year was simply art, using the medium of fabric on human bodies.

Courtesy of: Frédéric Tcheng

High fashion is often accused of being pretentious and intentionally and unnecessarily complicated. When a fashion house creates a piece that is shocking, traditionally ugly, or in some other way not what one expects from fashion, I would say they are showing off their own creative skill. This clicks with my aesthetic question, does some art exist purely to show off the artist? Does this context of where the art came from make a richer aesthetic experience, or is it just vanity? I want to explore art’s quality with and without context. Here is a photograph that I really like:

 

Courtesy of: /u/Definitely-Not-CIA

If you don’t know the story of this photo, you might think it’s a still from a Jason Bourne trailer. It has excellent composition, lighting, and clean lines of the subjects. Independent of the context, it’s an excellent photograph, aesthetically speaking. However, things begin to unravel upon learning that this a photograph of the real life assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey. In the context that you are now looking at a real dead body, does it not have a certain shade of ugliness? I would say it does, and with context, my morals don’t allow me to enjoy this as much on aesthetic grounds.

A contrasting example is this photo:

Courtesy of: fashionising.com

When I first saw this photo, without context, I did not like it. It wasn’t to do with the composition like in my last example, but with the subject. I found the model’s outfit to be ugly and uninteresting. However, I was provided context afterwards, and found out that it was a piece from Comme des Garcons’ F/W 2012 haute couture collection, I gave it more credence. “CDG knows what they’re doing” I thought to myself, so I took a second look and looked for things to like about it. Now I think it’s a creative, unorthodox piece that really shows what CDG can do creatively. I gave this piece more aesthetic validation because of the context of the creator. Now, I could be influenced by my lust for high fashion brands and my overall reputation as consumerist hypebeast trash, but I consider this to be an aesthetic experience nonetheless.

Do ultra-coveted brands like Supreme carry aesthetic value? Or is it just the hype? Courtesy of: Ben Roasen of hypebeast.com

Identifying my personal aesthetic comes down to just a few things: what do I like? What interests me? In the context of the aesthetic realm, nailing down exactly what makes an experience for me becomes easy. I am attracted to, and simultaneously detracted from pretentiousness in art. On one hand, a lack of modesty on the part of the creator gives it a certain ugliness, but it also shows confidence, and when the quality of the art merits pretentiousness, I find myself coming back to art that seems to be aware of it’s quality. It’s like diet coke, I hate it, but I keep drinking it. In more natural aesthetic experiences, I find myself immediately attracted to simplicity, but what end of the beauty scale that simplicity falls on seems not to matter. I find myself endlessly fascinated by the unflattering and bizarre silhouettes of haute couture, in the same way I can’t take my eyes off more traditional beauty like a sunrise or a mountain range.

 

This blog post has expanded into a huge mess, but I’m only now really enjoying aesthetics. I’ll close with who I identify with in aesthetics. Baumgarten judges an aesthetic experience on its ability to create vivid experiences in its audiences. It’s the most simple and least exclusive definition, but I like it the best. Other ostentatious criteria that judge whether or not you’re really enjoying something get in the way of pleasure. I disagree with philosophers like Bullough who say that a degree of disinterest is required for more pure aesthetic experiences, in fact I fully believe that it’s the other way around. When it comes to aesthetics, in my books it comes down to a simple question of whether you like it, or not. What makes you interested to look at? Does the interest change with context? If these questions have made you think of anything, anything at all, I recommend I get you some of that the next chance you can. I bet it will make you happy.

 

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The Aesthetic Experience That’s Brighter than My Future

What is my aesthetic perspective? Well, to even attempt to fully answer that question, I have to answer three other questions first. Hypothetically, the culmination of my answers for the other three questions should address my answer the main topic: What is my aesthetic perspective? So without further ado the three sub-questions that will lead to my answer are: What is Art? What is beauty? And, what is an aesthetic experience?

To me, art is the product of creative expression through words, paint, clay or other such methods. It is something that holds value, whether that be physical or emotional, and is seen as beautiful by the person subjected to it. As individuals, art is labeled differently from one another, and doesn’t have a wrong attachment to the name. Anything can be classified as art, as long as it meets that individuals criteria as to what substitutes as art.

Beauty is the idea and/or thing that invokes intrigue and pleasure within the one looking or experiencing the thing. In terms of an aesthetics standpoint, the beauty factor is heavily based off of sight and what is/has been seen. So something that is aesthetically pleasing to someone would be beautiful in their eyes. Much like art though, my definition of beauty is very perspective and opinion-based.

An aesthetic experience is an experience that one is completely immersed in. It requires all of one’s focus/concentration and to be intensely vivid. I believe most aesthetic experiences are first aesthetically pleasing, and then the concentration just becomes sort of natural. I also think one can’t classify an aesthetic experience as it’s happening, because that would kind of cut into the criteria of being fully immersed and concentrated on experiencing it. However, looking back if one can vividly remember very subtle details and basically re-experience it through recollection, then it would be classified as an aesthetic experience. This is because one’s memory of the experience would be heightened due to the amount of concentration on the experience while it was happening.

How does this relate to anything we talked about?

Well, my views on art and beauty relate well to Descartes theories on beauty in the “something that pleases” and “beauty is within the eye of the beholder” sense. My overarching theme between beauty, art and aesthetic experiences is that is is all based on perspective. More specifically my required criteria for an aesthetic experience came basically straight out of the aesthetics booklet we got. In other words, to have a quality aesthetic experience is to be fully concentrated on it while it’s occurring. I also agree with some aspects of what Kant said when referring to finding things beautiful and/or aesthetically pleasing unintentionally(or at least that’s how I interpreted it). He said something beautiful can cause delight no matter if there was an original interest or not. Not being interested in something doesn’t necessarily cause that thing to be unpleasing. However, in terms of having an aesthetic experience, it is said an interest is necessary, no matter how unconscious or conscious it is.

How does my aesthetic experience fits with everything I just said?

For one of my aesthetic experiences I went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge during the break so all the lights were up and everything is super pretty. I hadn’t ever been during Christmas time before mainly because December is a crazy hectic month in my household. But anyways, we made it out this year and it was absolutely beautiful. Now I’m not particularly crazy about all things Christmas, but I will admit to becoming a mesmerized two-year old when I see pretty lights. So Capilano was amazing! I can picture everything so vividly in my head, and this proves that my mind was solely focused of my experience at the time. I have been there before, but when recalling my memories again I was able to recall so many more aspects of the park that have always been there but I’ve just never taken to time to notice before. Some part of me thinks that it was only because everything was covered in lights and I am very intrigued by lights so that’s why I noticed. But even so this would subscribe to my aesthetic perspective because my interest in what I was doing (aka the lights) was required for me to have this aesthetic experience.

My questions:

The one question that I think I may have answered is does an aesthetic experience have to be organic? To which I would answer yes. This is because throughout winter break, looming in the back of my mind was “got to have those aesthetic experiences and how” and when I tried to plan stuff like going to the Vancouver Art Gallery, I found myself enjoying the experience but thinking about what I would say about it and how I could justify it being an aesthetic experience. Capilano Suspension Bridge was by far my favourite aesthetic experience because it was a spur of the moment kind of decision. I wasn’t thinking about my philosophy “homework” and was just enjoying myself and being in the moment. In the wise words of Drake “YOLO”.

The question that I really want to investigate further is, is there a standard for art/beauty that can change or slightly alter one’s perception of an aesthetic experience? Based off of everything I’ve said up to now the clear answer is no because everyone’s different and sees the world through a different lens. However, I do believe societal norms and pressures can have a serious affect on what one can perceive as aesthetically pleasing. For example, in my case, Christmas lights are generally seen as a very aesthetically pleasing thing, so did that influence my experience at Capilano because I’ve been raised to find Christmas lights aesthetically pleasing? Or if the general consensus on Christmas lights was bad, would my aesthetic experience not be so aesthetic anymore? Just a thought.

Photos from internet cause my phone is being stupid:

https://cherylyoung.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/cap11.jpg

http://northshoremama.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/IMG_8008-616×462.jpg

http://www.insidevancouver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/canyon2-550×367.jpg

 

 

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All of the Lights

For my aesthetic experiences I decided to go to multiple displays of Christmas lights and I attempted to understand which of those experiences I would enjoy the most and find the most aesthetically pleasing. So over the brisk break I went to Lafarge lake, Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Enchant Christmas Maze in Olympic Village.

It’s interesting that such a simple object, such as a colored light in a small piece of plastic could attract the attention and money of so many people. After exploring the idea of beauty, I believe it’s linked to the idea of seeing things one wouldn’t commonly see or even think of. Such as a rare flower, a breathtaking viewpoint, an abstract painting or a display of thousands of Christmas lights. Being to see something that was once imaginable must gives us the feeling of enjoyment.

I really enjoyed all of the experiences but I found that I enjoyed the Lafarge lake lights the most. Their display might not have been the best, but the overall experience upstaged the others. It just so happened that it was snowing we were walking on fresh and fluffy snow without worrying about slipping on ice. The lake was also frozen and it was frightening and exhilarating to walk on it. I was also with a group of friends who I had not seen in a long time and it was such a lovely moment of reconnecting.

I would rank Capilano Suspension bridge 2nd. The actual experience was spoiled as it was very busy and crowded with too many people. But being surrounded by nature and the view above the river as you walk above on a shaky bridge was beautiful. This was not the first time I had been to the bridge to see the lights, so it wasn’t as exciting as the first time i was there. Seeing the lights on the bridges and trees sparkle in the dark will always be a magical sight.

I would rank Enchant last. Most of it had to do with the fact that it was over-hyped as it was one of the most popular things to do this Christmas season. Also the price of the tickets diminished the experience. Some of the light displays were truly beautiful and I took many wonderful pictures that night. But the factor of it feeling artificial and unnatural took away from the experience.

 

So what I found from my three experiences is that the more spontaneous and natural the even is, the more enjoyable it is as well. When you are expected to see something mesmerizing or expect to have an enjoyable experience you are just forcing yourself to have a better time or to see more beauty than there is.

 

 

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Winter is the best season

experience #1

Over the winter break I may not have gone parachuting or bungee jumping, however winter break for me, is a special time to spend with my family. On New Years Eve at around 10pm, my brother, sister and I went to a fairly big hill in Mission called Griner. We took our snowboards and went up and down about ten times. At some point during the time there, I was doing up my bindings on the top of the hill but this time as I looked down the hill with my brother beside me and my sister riding down on her sled, I truly took the time to admire the true beauty of winter. Winter is a season that brings my family together every year. I was staring at this tree with a thick layer of snow covering its green pine needles for a long time. Winter has always been my favourite season, but It was never truly clear to me why until this year. It is my favourite season because there are so many activities and special events that brings my family together such as skiing, skating, picking out a Christmas tree, Christmas and New Years and these just skim the surface. The people that saw me staring off into the distance probably thought I was stoned or something but the truth behind it is there was a lot of deep, meaningful thoughts going through my head about the true beauty of family and how we are all brought together during winter especially.

Experience #2

My second aesthetic experience I had over the break was when I was sitting in my room organizing my makeup products and putting them all in the perfect placement. I swear my desk could have been mistaken for a Sephora advertisement. while I was admiring what I did with my products I sort of dozed of and had an epiphany. Even though there is a lot of conflict with makeup and and that people can’t really win when it comes to makeup because they are either criticized for wearing too much or too little, it brings people together, provides jobs, gives people a passion, gives some women more confidence and so much more. For example there are makeup artists that get paid a decent amount of money and it allows women to cover certain flaws on there face that they are insecure about, therefore giving them a bit more confidence. This epiphany I had made me smile and see a different side of beauty that makeup brings to our society.

 

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Not a Particularly Amusing Aesthetics Post. -Aiden

I was going to present but while writing the script/speech/lyrics or words, I realized I wouldn’t be able to remember them all. So this will be just like that but you read it in my place, and maybe a cow will be in it.

 

My main questions were: what is beauty, what is art, what is an aesthetic experience.

My main source of criteria for an aesthetic experience came from the two column chart in the aesthetics workbook.

 

So. My version of aesthetics is closest to Beardsley’s. His theory revolves around the criteria of.

Attention fixed on field

Release from temporal  concerns

Object set at emotional distance

Sense of personal integration and self expansion

And active exercise of powers to meet challenges.

 

I agree with Beardsley on the whole. However, I believe his view is rather narrow. his criteria is too exact. Both Csikszentmihalyi’s flow experience and Beardsley traditional theory seem to focus on challenges faced and overcome. I disagree. I believe, in a general sense, an aesthetic experience is when you mentally take a step back and appreciate what you’re sensing. When you’re at the bus stopand see fog rolling in over the snow tinted Rockies. When you head home from SFU and see the place where the earth meets the sky. When you have some really tasty b b q. Freshly brewed coffee, perfect steak, beautiful music, a nice view n stuff. If you can stop and appreciate your senses, and what you sense is extraordinary,  then it’s an aesthetic experience.

This is similar to Beardsley, but replacing challenges with appreciation.

I feel like I should broaden my definition of appreciate here. I see the verb “appreciate” as firstly,  appreciating what you sense. Either viewing the world on a larger scale,  or perhaps appreciating something you wouldn’t ordinarily, like the detail of moss. Maybe you appreciate the difficulty of what you or someone has done, as in Mr. C’s theory.

 

K moving on. My theory of what is beauty is connected to my theory of aesthetic experience. Something beautiful is confined to the senses of sight and sound. You can see a beautiful view, hear a beautiful harmony, but you can’t rub beautiful rust. Can’t sniff beautiful odours, or beautiful food. Again, beauty counts as something that you can appreciate, perhaps something which triggers introspection and uh. Extrospection?. Outside stuff.

 

Hence art would be something man, but beautiful. Art is a representation of something beyond itself. So a painting of a woman, or a happy little trees are art, because they are a representation of something else. A screaming man, a melting clock, a swirl of stars, they are art. This is key. A ponytail nailed to a board is not art. Splatter  paintings are not art. A cows head being eaten by flies or 90 tins of human feces are not art.

Just to be clear, it must be a representation. A hunky bro, a towering sequoia, they are not art on their own.

No

 

Image result for a thousand years art

No

Image result for buff man

Yes

Image result for buff man painting

 

 

 

Tl;Dr

An aesthetic experience is when you do or sense something which makes you appreciate.

Beauty is an aspect of something you see or hear which you can appreciate.

Art is a representation made by man or something beautiful.

 

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There’s only one problem with going to a musical about an East German drag queen and that’s when your dad and brother think its about Harry Potter.

My aesthetic perspective is more or less that people find things beautiful if they can relate to them and they elicit an emotional reaction. This is sort of similar to Descartes in that he said “beauty pleases” meaning things that please are beautiful. I kind of disagree with him in that I think things can be pleasing without being beautiful. I also agree a bit with Baumgarten and his statement that called aesthetics the science of sensitive knowing, basically meaning that beauty is found at an intersection of knowledge and emotion. That viewpoint came up a lot over my winter break and with the main three aesthetic experiences I had.

The first aesthetic experience was brought to me by my brother, fresh back from university, and a documentary on netflix called Valley Uprising. Valley Uprising details the history of rock climbing in the Yosemite valley (and outside of it once populatiry grew) from the 50s to the present and if you havent seen it I highly reccomend it. But of course, you may not enjoy it as much as I did. I’ve been rock climbing for about a year now and I spend a lot of time at the gym, discussing technique for different routes, and setting goals for my personal fitness in relation to rock climbing, so when I watched Valley Uprising I was enthralled with the tales from climbers through the ages from the first ascent of half dome to the modern climbers free soloing, base jumping, and slacklining in and around the valley. Even details of living conditions for the dedicated climbers (things like sleeping in caves to avoid rangers and eating cat food because thats what they could afford) which should have been disgusting were understandable to me because these were real stories from real people doing what they love. Anyone not dedicated to rock climbing would not have found some of these things beautiful but thats where my aesthetic perspective came in. I found this documentary and the stories inside it beautiful bcause I know rock climbing and I’ve formed an emotional appreciation of the hard work it takes to be good at it.

A few days later me and my family drove down to Seattle for the weekend and while we did many things (watched Rogue one, shopped for climbing gear, went to the zoo, and the flight museum) the most prominent aesthetic experience was when we went to a showing of Hedwig and the Angry InchHedwig is a rock musical set as a concert being performed by the band Hedwig and the Angry Inch, throughout the “concert” Hedwig (lead singer) provides stories from her life, starting in Communist East Germany, her marriage, move to America, and subsequent divorce from an American GI, and the sex change that allowed her marriage to be considered legal (to be clear, Hedwig was born male, had a botched sex change, lives as female but doesn’t really identify as either). Now, there was a lot of things loved about this show, the theatre we watched it in, the plot, the singing, costumes, music, lighting, and set design (to name a few). But while I had an intense emotional reaction to the show, the rest of my family walked out of the theatre with the only review being “it was okay”. A very “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” type gig. I suspect that while I, a trans kid who is very into musical theatre, found Hedwig, a musical about a trans person, to be just groundbreaking, my family, cis people who kinda like theatre (I wasn’t kidding, my dad and brother walked into the theatre thinking this was a Harry Potter show), did not because our knowledge and emotion appreciations are different due to our life experiences that make up who we are at our cores. Sidenote: while I’m not going to tell you to illegally watch a show that is no longer running performances if you happen to stumble across a good bootleg or some tickets then go for it because DAMN it was such a good show.

The final aesthetic experience I’m gonna talk about from break was more of an “active” experience where I was creating art as opposed to watching art. So I’ve played ukulele for almost a year now and my brother picked up mine over the summer which made it hard for me to practice so I bought him a ukulele for Christmas and he solidly didn’t put it down for three days. SO after Christmas dinner me and my brother were playing around on our ukuleles and the family was all kinda sitting around listening and eventually they started putting in requests for songs they wanted to hear (Mostly Johnny Cash). And it was a very pure aesthetic experience in that I was conscious of the past and future but the most important part was the present and not messing up my chords. I think in this case it would be harder to find people who wouldn’t appreciate the moment but I know that if I had less knowledge of ukulele playing, or I didn’t like Johnny Cash songs, the pleasure I derived from the event would have been lowered.

So basically, I think that we find things beautiful if we understand them and have emotions in relation to them. And I found beauty in a documentary, a staged rock concert, and a two man ukulele jam.

 
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