Dialog on Beauty

A reader asked me what I thought was a fascinating question.

As part of our general education classes, one of the fields I need to take a class in is Race and Diversity. I didn’t need to be a prophet to know this class was going to be pseudo-Marxist crap. So I chose the one Race and Diversity Gen Ed class I thought would be the least painful, a class on art (it’s no picnic, but I still think the other options would’ve been worse).

The art was, for lack of a better term, racist. It was ugly. One set of statues, made by a black woman, had faces carved that overly-exaggerated the facial feature differences that black faces possess to the point where the visages of the statues bordered on the grotesque. One was covered in several small alcohol bottles, while the other had several instances of profanity emblazoned on it (which, given the stereotype of blacks being vulgar and drunkards, it’s kind of foul. But according to their warped un-logic, a black woman did it, so it’s fine). And looking on this ugliness led me to a theory.
My theory was that when you look at the great pieces of art in the past, they had some universal truth or universal story behind them. One only needs to look at Mary’s heartbroken yet serene face in Michaelangelo’s Pietà, or the imperious face of Zeus in the paintings he is depicted in. Even paintings that made social statements contrary to the general culture (some pre-French Revolution paintings pointed out the hypocrisy of the Church) still capitalized on the universal truths of the human condition (in this case, man’s tendency to fail his own standard when he has power).
The SocJus crap I have to see is all focused on the specific, whether the concepts atomized to the level of tribe or to the individual. Part of the reason this art is ugly, I posit, is that by focusing on the self, on the artist’s identity with all the self-love of Narcissus, the art is cut off from the universal truths of the world. The Muses have no sway over these artists because they refuse to be stirred by the poetry of our world, and can only find inspiration from their limited experience, whether that be personal or tribal.

I think he is on to something, so I am interesting in seeing where this thread of theory leads.

Here is my humble contribution built on this basis:

Like anything else individualism is good and fine when properly subordinated to greater goods; but when it seeks to overturn the throne and monarchy of God, and usurp for itself the position of being the greatest good, like every uppity servant, it turns tyrannical. Like every idol, the moment it is worshiped as above God, it becomes a demon, no matter how good, truthful, and reasonable it once was in its proper sphere.

Individualism when expanded beyond all bounds and beyond all logic turns into subjectivism, polylogism, antinomianism and nihilism. It cuts off the individual from the cosmos.

I have slowly come to the conclusion that Leftism is a religion, a cult, which takes the individual as paramount and denies God, denies the divine.

The individual being free from all restraint, including all self restraint, is one of the dogmas of these credo. The individual is paramount. Thou art God.

But if the individual is paramount, than the individual, he alone, says what is beautiful and ugly. Summer stars, wintery mountains, racing stallions, stooping falcons, the ocean at midnight are, with a wave of his all powerful hand, defined as ugly.

Garbage, marred corpses, excrement in tin cans, empty rooms, toilet lids are all, with a second wave, defined as art.

Any objective definition of beauty would offend the Leftist self-worshipper at the core of his black little heart, because that definition would rob him of this godlike power. So the Leftist (if he be true to his false principles) can be expected to deny that there is any objective beauty.

(Not that all of them are true, or any of them. Consistency is not their strong suit.)

Now, if a man calls beautiful only what is really beautiful, there is no glory in that. Anyone can command the sea to rise when the tide is low. Only a god can lower the level of the ocean at low tide, however. So the power can only be used to call trash art, never to call art art. This is subjectivism.

The same argument as applies to beauty applies to virtue, and then to reason, and then to truth.

The godlike power to worship oneself is only used to call evil good and good evil; to dismiss reason as prejudice, and to dismiss truth as person opinion or cultural conditioning.

Denying vice and virtue is called antinomianism. Reducing reason to cultural, racial or personal opinion is called polylogism. Dismissing truth is nihilism.

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