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Conversation on 12/24/99

Thinker 1: So, any opening thoughts on aestheticism?
Thinker 2: The study of beauty. Obviously, beauty must be defined.
Thinker 1: Can we say "anything that pleases a human sense"?
Thinker 2: What is to "please"?
Thinker 1: To "please" is to cause a joyous sensation.
Thinker 2: I can only ask for definition in the relative sense of the word, there is no doubt that on an absolute scale, beauty standards differ.
Thinker 1: So it differs, we shall agree on such. I say we take an example and dote upon its merits in relation to the philosophy.
Thinker 1: Take a beautiful painting of heaven (or an artist's rendition).
Thinker 2: The painting seems a "traditional" object to examine.
Thinker 1: I choose heaven because it represents an ideal and structure that no human has ever witnessed yet has been given ideas as to how it should appear.
Thinker 2: Therefore, it would contain only the QUALITY of beauty, the pure essence.
Thinker 1: Correct. Heaven is, to this artist, white clouds shrouded by yellow light and an idyllic sense of being.
Thinker 2: I imagine heaven, in the traditional sense, to be bright and glowing and full of warmth (for all the senses). I would experience euphoria and crystallization of the senses simultaneously.
Thinker 1: In any case, heaven is a place that we all imagine to be "good."
Thinker 1: The actual paint on canvas is incidental to the idea presented.
Thinker 1: Beauty, like anything else is subjective.
Thinker 2: Beauty for me would contain youthful invigoration, smooth, clean and wonderful. Another culture might view an ancient and obese hag to be beautiful.
Thinker 2: Also, I would say that purity is certainly a quality of beauty.
Thinker 1: Not exactly true. Let us take the example of a monk who has lived a life of asceticism. However, he is unhappy with its results, and wishes for one sordid experience to give his life value. Here, purity would be a negative factor of beauty, an opposite.
Thinker 2: Yet, on viewing the life of dedication, I would perhaps see it as beautiful.
Thinker 1: Not to stray too far from the point, but are opposites not simply negative and positive points of the same quality?
Thinker 2: Is the opposite of beauty ugliness, or simply a reflection of the same beauty?
Thinker 1: So, we've hit upon two points: 1. Beauty is what we make of it. 2. Qualities are mathematical, almost.
Thinker 1: Number two was inferred.
Thinker 1: As 3 is to -3, good is to bad.
Thinker 2: They are mathematical in their classification, not in their content.
Thinker 1: Of course.
Thinker 2: I didn't mean that as literally as you interpreted it. I meant that we can list things in a mathematical sense, yet their content strays from objective qualities.
Thinker 1: Nothing human or worldly is mathematical in content. Indeed, the fact that everything (mathematics) is subjective proves this.
Thinker 2: Is math subjective?
Thinker 1: I would take some pleasure in providing an unequivocal yes, but I myself am not sure.
Thinker 2: Think about this: Only in perception does an object become subjective, an object in itself is purely itself. A is A, perfectly.
Thinker 2: Therefore, to maintain an objective standard, we must view things merely from a statistical viewpoint, not a contextual viewpoint - contradicting my previous statement.
Thinker 1: So, going all the way back to our central topic of aestheticism, I will say that objects, in themselves, have no beauty, our varied perceptions give them such.
Thinker 2: Therefore there is no such thing as objective beauty.
Thinker 1: Well done.
Thinker 2: What is the point of identifying beauty? Is it purely to please ourselves, to enhance positive stimuli? Or is it to catalyze replication in ourselves and our surroundings?
Thinker 1: The objective of categorizing a thing as beautiful is to provide pleasure for one's own self.
Thinker 1: As is the objective of any action.
Thinker 1: But inside that general purpose is the aim of classification.
Thinker 2: Is the pleasure in the identification or in the experience?
Thinker 2: Therefore, the purpose of classification in itself is happiness, aside from its accomplishment
Thinker 1: Well, let me point out that classification is inceptive and innate. In truth, we do things only because we have classified them by ensuing response, whether it be negative or positive.
Thinker 2: Internal, subconscious classification is ever-present in humans.
Thinker 1: Are the meanings of the words negative and positive subjective? The meanings, not the implications. I think not.
Thinker 2: They are objective in themselves, and relative in terms of perception
Thinker 1: However, the meanings of the words good and bad are certainly subjective.
Thinker 2: Therefore on a personal level, they are objective, on a complete level, they are subjective.
Thinker 1: So, negative and positive concepts escape perception?
Thinker 2: Or so it seems.
Thinker 1: I do not like your earlier explanation, that on a personal level everything is objective.
Thinker 2: It all returns to your concept of individual reality. When morality and feelings fight each other, right and wrong become difficult to discern.
Thinker 1: But at any given moment, what you believe is always objective. Indeed, what being can disagree within his or her own mind? The being is the mind and the mind is the self!
Thinker 2: There are two halves of mind, though (I'm not talking physically). Remember the angel and the devil on the shoulder, the conflict between conscience and emotion...
Thinker 1: I will purposely stray here, no need for us to delve into the wide open area of mortality when context requires a continuance of earlier ideas.
Thinker 2: Fine.
Thinker 1: And so I ask, what properties do objects hold in themselves?
Thinker 1: Only structural?
Thinker 2: In reference to their form? Ideas are not physically structural, but they are conceptually structural.
Thinker 1: Ideas are abstract, this has been known since kindergarten. I speak of objects here, and I will cease to wait for your company in this idea. Are the only true properties of a light bulb are length, width, and height? Correspondingly, are all other, qualitative properties of our own making?
Thinker 1: You know where we are going again, right?
Thinker 2: Yes, objective/subjective stuff.
Thinker 1: Length, width, and height are mathematical and therefore objective.
Thinker 2: Science and its chief tool of mathematics is objective in our reality (the reality of the majority of the world).
Thinker 2: You realize that we have not, and will never, truly answer the questions raised thus far.
Thinker 1: Let us not point out the foibles of philosophy, they are disheartening.
Thinker 2: Yes, humbling and sobering - returning us to concrete complacent existence.
Thinker 1: Shall we digress to justice? If only in reverence to Plato.
Thinker 1: Do we agree that the ultimate goal of life is our persistent happiness?
Thinker 2: I do, others may not. I too believe that securing a beneficial afterlife is essential.
Thinker 1: Let us take life without afterlife for a moment. Is it better to live just and unhappy or licentiously and happy?
Thinker 2: Hedonism appears to make the most sense. Yet there are many reasons to live non-hedonistically.
Thinker 2: First - the overshadowing of death and what it holds. How do our actions on earth affect or existence after death? Secondly - there is a difference of definition in hedonism and selfishness.
Thinker 1: To make others happy, one must be at some point unhappy. You mention the quest for a secure afterlife as a goal of life, and I cringe, for qualms on the afterlife are both too religion-based and without proof.
Thinker 1: This is not a coincidence, might I add.
Thinker 2: I do not believe it (qualms of afterlife) is without proof or reason. Everyone experiences these feelings of doubt and anxiety.
Thinker 1: Reason, by definition, must have some basis of confirmation.
Thinker 2: One note on hedonism: charity is selfish in a sense, but it is not hedonistic. Hedonism must remain as the pursuit of completely personal pleasure, no charity.
Thinker 2: Actually, the Sybarite (I found some good synonyms for hedonism) primarily follows sexual gratification
Thinker 1: So, hedonism does not mean a mode of life in which every action is concerted upon creating personal happiness?
Thinker 2: No.
Thinker 2: On a purely technical definition, you are correct, but in relation to the world, where words are taken for their relative value (not absolute value), I am correct.
Thinker 1: And so it is.

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