30 June 2007

Pleasure Principle

Last week, we discussed the concept of Fine Arts and Utility Arts. Interestingly, we tumbled upon the concept of aesthetics and beauty. When trying to define it, I found it defying a larger belief of the society. Something is beautiful when it creates a self-forgetting happiness. If so, appreciation is so self-oriented. Then how can one teach Art Appreciation, Literature Experience, Film Appreciation, etc. For a simple example, I don't think the Taj Mahal is beautiful. I very well know that there are many Indians with sharpened swords against anyone who has the nerve to deject the beauty of a humongous tomb. I don't object the fact of building a memorial. But in what way does Shah Jahan get the credit for this. He paid for it.. Yes! Sunk Mughal treasuries...Jahangir and Shah Jahan, the ones greatly acclaimed for their arts did well at burying the treasuries. And on the feeble ground of beauties, in a falling empire, did Aurangazeb happen to be...the one considered by most school students..as the most boring emperor. And he revived, he expanded....and I can find ugliness in that too. I find everything around me beautiful, except that which creates a universal sorrow. Now, when I studied the Adyar River, years ago with some classmates, we found a lot of beautiful Fauna and Flora. We even got the chance to see a swordfish. As we saw the beauties of the river, we saw the sewage, the plastic, the dead fish, etc. We even heard deadbodies can be found in Cooum. I am not in the mindset to see beauty in injustice. I can only see a cunning smartness. The discussion was mainly about literature..seeing what makes it a "fine" art. And for that we have to see the perfection, the proportions, and the beauty lying in its entirety...and then we live the pleasure principle. However, "life" has lost beauty in its entirety?

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