No creativity without a transcendental object, i.e. states of sensate
matter or sensate objects, and a transcendental subject, i.e. a
consciousness bringing about excellence of craft worthy of imitation
(exemplary) and -if possible- sublime.
00. The minimum necessity for a possible esthetics ? Sensate
states of matter or mental objects accommodating craftsmanship and
000. Creativity adds to reality (freedom) and is always
more than the sum of its parts.
1. By the creation and
expression of beautiful sensate objects, the transcendental subject of
esthetics introduces freedom.
1.1 No transcendental subject without free will (slipping through the
uncertainty-margins of nature) and its power of choice.
1.2 Esthetic judgements invite the assent of all to an excellent
work of art exemplifying a universal rule with such sublimity that
conceptual reason exhaust its finitude.
The transcendental object of esthetics is either an appearance to
particles & forces, or sensation, caused by changes brought about on the
surface of the receptor organs of the sensory system, or perceptions. If
the object is mental.
2.1 The sensate world is the beginning & end of esthetics.
2.1.1 Esthetic objects are either sensate or mental, but mental
objects are part of esthetics if and only if they have sensate and/or
evocative esthetic features.
2.1.2 Mere mental features of mental esthetic objects (devoid of
sensate and/or evocative esthetic features) -like mathemical beauty- are not studied by esthetics,
focused on sensate objects.
2.1.3 Mental features like symmetry, reciprocity, elegance,
simplicity, consistency or coherence constitute the beauty of logic (and
2.2 In epistemology, "realism" & "idealism" are the leading ideas.
In ethics, "intent", "duty", "conscience" & "calling" are necessary. The
regulative idea of esthetics is "the world".
2.3 The sensate world is an appearance.
2.3.1 Against nihilism : the world appears because sensory
perceptions are ongoing. In the dreamworld and dreamless sleep, the
sensate world -as we know it awake- vanishes. Because of appearance, there
is a world and what appears exists (as valid but mistaken). It is valid
because it can be tested & spoken about. It is mistaken because it appears
as existing from its own side, while it exists interdependently.
2.3.2 Against dogmatism (realism/idealism) : the world appears
because perceptions are always & irreversibly fabricated into conscious
sensations. The nominal mind is closed for the world of direct perception.
Eliminate freedom, and esthetics is a physics of the pleasurable without
beauty. Eliminate sensation, and beauty is confined to mental objects.
3.1 Esthetics celebrates sensate matter who's beauty exceeds
3.2 The subject of experience has either sensate or mental objects
in consciousness. Sensate objects, so must we assume, are caused by
perceptions fabricated into conscious sensations. Mental objects are
caused by volitions, feelings, cognitions & sentience.
3.3 Contrary to truth & goodness, beauty has
no compelling or
imperative necessity, but is an
invitation to resonate with the excellent,
the worthy of imitation and the sublime.
3.4 Besides the beautiful mental objects of logic, the beauty of
mental objects also involves an esthetics of cognition (the constant
balancing-out of object & subject in the production of relative truth), an
esthetics of ethics (the exercise of a balanced choice to do the good) and
an esthetics of affection (harmony as training in non-afflictive
emotions). These fall outside the general study of aesthetics, although
the latter's principles, norms & maxims apply to them.
From the side of the esthetic object, sensate & evocative esthetic
features elicit a direct, conscious experience. Beauty is the actual
presence of a
particular property or properties in some or all objects of experience.
From the side of the esthetic subject, beauty is a particular esthetic
attitude of the subject of experience taken by some or all
objects of experience.
4.1 In critical esthetics, the stuff of beauty is defined by sensation
and what this evokes. Mere mental beauty, i.e. devoid of sensate and/or evocative
esthetic features, is an object of logic.
4.2 For an esthetic judgement to be possible, thoughts need to be
infused in states of matter, constituting an impermanent glyph, a kind of
petrified, mummified, fixated thought.
4.2.1 In an absolute sense, permanent glyphs can nowhere be found,
although the architecture of the world has its natural constants (series
of irrational numbers round-off by convention).
4.2.2 Glyphs are meaningful representations of sensate and/or
mental objects incised in matter. When nearly-permanent media are found,
certain glyphs are carved deep into matter. These are "signs", transmitted
to the next generation.
4.2.3 Human glyphs are signs and tools. Signs make a decisive
association between, on the one hand, mental objects and, on the other
hand, sounds and/or gestures (verbal & non-verbal language). Tools are
complex glyphs instrumental in a functional interaction with the
4.2.4 Signs are signals, icons & symbols. Signals herald survival,
icons belongingness (affects) and symbols cognition & volition.
4.3 Objective esthetics, based on a realist ontology of the essence
(substance or nature) of beauty, is one-sided (does not integrate the
subjectivity of the receptor) and focuses on material & formal features,
with the danger of academism and formalism.
4.4 Subjective esthetics, based on an idealist ontology of the
adequatio of mind and reality, is one-sided (does not integrate the
objectivity of perceptions), identifying beauty with a state of
consciousness. Here egocentrism & solipsism lurk.
4.5 Critical esthetics has three developmental stages : esthetics
as physical science deals with the sensation of the
pleasant, esthetics as
an objective or subjective ontology introduces the idea of the beautiful to
while esthetics as taste brings in
excellence & harmony,
pointing to sublimity.
4.5.1 The esthetics of the pleasant studies the
caused by esthetic objects. Strong signals & emotional images (icons) hook our
desire for pleasurable experiences. Without moderation seek this for its
own sake and emotional addiction ensues.
4.5.2 The esthetics of satisfaction studies how the pleasure derived
from an emotionally charged icon may be boosted by introducing
concepts about how this object really is
(realism) or how it should be ultimately
4.5.3 The esthetics of taste lays bare the
exquisiteness of the
craftsmanship and the excellence of the composition of the revealed
esthetic features, i.e. the way they are used. If this excellence is a
harmony, exemplarity may be the case.
4.5.4 Exquisite & excellent examples
without destroying harmony are sublime.
Beauty as the pleasant.
Esthetics as physical science conceives beauty as "pleasant", i.e.
as what is pleasing to the senses. This is a personal, relative, direct,
sensuous appreciation of the perceptions received by our receptor organs.
5.1 To discuss the pleasant, bound up with personal interest, is
futile (individuum est ineffabile).
The worth of the agreeable, lovely, delightful & enjoyable consists in
personal gratification. Everyone has his own pleasures and can share them
5.1.1 The art of pleasure studies the sensuality of smell, taste,
touch, hearing and sight, bringing them together in
a synesthesia of
5.1.2 When beauty-as-pleasure is intersubjective, a interpersonal
illusion is consciously created, a trade-off of pleasure for more pleasure
resulting in less.
5.1.3 The moment the pleasurable experience stops being orgiastic,
the return to sobriety is initiated.
5.1.4 The marginal increase of pleasure of repeated pleasurable experiences
5.1.5 The art of pleasure is the increase of the duration of the
orgiastic by increasing what happens before and after it, and this until
the experience of pleasure is omnipresent.
5.1.6 Beyond the rule of immediate gratifications (or hedonism
pur sang), the art of pleasure
invites one to think about satisfaction, taste and sublimity.
5.1.7 As pleasure seeks satisfaction, satisfaction seeks taste.
5.2 The pleasantness of the esthetic object, like any other sensate
or mental object, is the outcome of emotional coloring (thalamus, limbic
system) and fabrication (neocortex).
5.2.1 All afferent sensory pathways come together in the mammalian
thalamus, where they are modulated, integrated & translated before being
projected in the human cerebrum. The emotional brain colors these inputs
before & after they have entered the neocortex.
5.2.2 In the neocortex, a complex network of cortical area's
process the inputs provided by the five primary sensory areas. Recognition
and naming of sensate objects is linked with tool-making and verbalization
(cf. the angular gyrus). Positioning of the object in space & time and
focusing attention are processed in other association areas.
5.3 The pleasant idolizes the esthetic features of sensate objects.
5.3.1 Different cultures idolize different features.
5.3.2 Classical pleasurable features are examples of objective art, imitating
the architectonic key of nature, based on the Golden Section and φ (see
also the Mandelbrot fractal).
The beauty of the pleasant consists in sensation
and to part from it or to remember to have done so, is the cause of
6.1 Resting entirely upon sensation, the pleasant involves the
ante-rational coloration of perception.
6.1.1 Ante-rationality encompasses mythical, pre-rational &
proto-rational thought operating in mythical (non-verbal), pre-conceptual & concrete
conceptual modes of thought (cf.
6.1.2 Insofar as ante-rationality has easier access to the limbic
system (via the non-verbal
hemisphere ?), its operation is more limbic than cortical, more based on
direct, iconic relatedness than on symbolical, conceptual discrimination. Hence, to seek
pleasure, conceptual thoughts are unnecessary.
6.1.3 Pleasantness is largely an automatic response to the stimuli
provided by addictive signals and icons of affection.
6.2 Processing the internal workings of feelings (affects), helps
finding the icon of personal emotions, singling out or selecting
this-or-that pleasantness in a given sensate object.
6.3 As long as the delightful sensate object is present, pleasure
is aroused and sustained by the affective stream of consciousness. To then
miss this pleasure may cause dissatisfaction.
6.3.1 Pleasure dismisses conceptualization. But when pleasure only
seeks itself, mindlessness & tastelessness ensue.
6.3.2 Experience pleasurable sensate objects without mentation, and
witness their conditioned & transient nature.
Some popular (pop) musicians are primarily interested in beauty as a
pleasant experience. The strong influence of the beat (accommodating
dancing) indicates the importance of signal-signs, whereas the lyrics
mostly involve belongingness & affective states, focused on
ante-rational (libidinal, tribal & imitative) emotionality fixed in idolized icons. Indeed, lofty,
affective states are fairly rare. The phenomenon of the "pop star" confirms
this. These people are screens to project collective affective states of
frenzied worship. Higher, individualizing self-actualization values are absent. Of course,
there exists pop music reflecting exquisite craftmanship (in song writing)
and so this moves beyond the mere need to please. It integrates a reflection on
the object of beauty and so wants to satisfy too. In the best case, it
promotes good taste.
Classical music, at its inception not restricted to the upper classes, is not devoid of the
longing to merely please. Renaissance tunes and dances reflect the
togetherness of iconic appreciation. However, one cannot escape the
impression later periods aim to also satisfy & promote good taste, seeking
(besides craftsmanship), exemplary & sublime musical representations.
The complexity of the music in all its 7 dimensions reflects this.
Esthetics as ontology grasps beauty as
"satisfaction", making the beautiful depend on a conceptual reflection
upon the esthetic object or the esthetic subject.
7.1 An ontology of beauty binds enjoyable, lovely sensate objects to
concepts able, for a while, to resurrect the joy & the love of the
enjoyable & the lovely as some "pure" satisfaction of either their "true
reality" or their "real ideality".
7.1.1 The "true reality" of an esthetic object, is the quantity,
quality, relation & modality the object is deemed possessed with. This is
the ontology of esthetic realism.
7.1.2 The "real ideality" of an esthetic subject, is the perfect
conceptualization of beauty offered by our esthetic attitude, as it were
the eternalization of the "pleasantness" of what was a mere sensation.
This is the ontology of esthetic idealism.
7.1.3 Devoid of foundationalism, critical esthetics has no need to
move to these extremes and always seeks the middle ground.
7.2 The "ideal reality" as well as the "real ideality" of esthetics
(the transcendent Real-Ideal of beauty) is necessarily sublime, i.e.
non-conceptual & beyond the dual, conceptualizing mind.
7.2.1 Insofar esthetics is a rational discipline, it cannot
transgress the borders of an immanent metaphysics.
7.2.2 If craftsmanship & excellence are defined in the formal &
critical modes of thought, exemplarity, based on harmony, makes use of
creative concepts which can not be tested but only argued.
7.2.3 Craftsmanship & excellence are the scientific aims of
critical esthetics, while exemplarity is metaphysical.
7.2.4 The sublime is the transcendent signifier allowing esthetics
to touch the ultimate nature of phenomena.
7.2.5 Because epistemology has no transcendent signifier, thought,
and by extension science, have their own space based on the groundless
ground of knowledge (cf.
Clearings, 2006). In ethics, "calling" is
the transcendent signifier allowing fairness to become rightness (cf.
7.3 The move from transient to eternalizing concepts is ruled out
by logic. The "point at infinity" (or limit-concept) must not be "filled
in" and ontologised. The Real & the Ideal do not serve as
7.3.1 Critical esthetics
focuses on sensate objects. Most of the time, it operates in the formal &
critical modes of thought. Exquisite & excellent works of art are rare.
7.3.2 Exemplary art is surprisingly unique, truly
7.3.3 Sublime art is Divine and so ineffable.
7.4 Satisfaction imagines the evocative esthetic features.
7.4.1 Conceptualizing this brings about conceptualizing that. One
image gets associated with another. Conceptualization inevitably
constructs connotations overlaying sensation itself.
7.4.2 Connotations based on sensate features are mental objects.
Thanks to imagination, mental objects can be visualized.
If the beautiful is only pleasure & satisfaction,
then the esthetic judgement of craftsmanship would be part of Art Studies.
8.1 The focus of Art Studies is on the artistic phenomenon, laying
bare the nature of the arts (objective esthetics) and their effects
8.1.1 Besides the nature of the arts, objective esthetics
investigates the systematic relationships between the fine arts and the
interactions between art & no-art.
8.1.2 Subjective esthetics tries to understand esthetic experience,
esthetic affectivity, esthetic conceptuality & esthetic motivation in the
light of a "special" property of the esthetic attitude, like
absence of personal interest.
8.2 Critical esthetics, as the normative philosophy of the
beautiful, adds excellence & exemplary harmony, touching sublimity.
Art Studies necessitates a specific inquiry for
each art. As object, the physical constitution, the phenomenal actuality,
the semantics and the interrelation with the other forms of art are
grasped as the material object of the art. Subjectively, the value of the
work of art, the quality of its reception and the evolution in the quality
of taste are aimed at.
Satisfaction is more complex than the mere pleasant. It does not yet serve
an abstraction (be it an abstract reality or an abstract concept), but
exceeds the first two leves of ante-rationality. Here the concrete, iconic
concept enters the scene. This always implies the presence of context.
Indeed, the satisfying always
depends on context. These concrete
concepts are exponents of what happens in the milieu in which they appear.
Symbolic concepts move beyond this and so can be communicated to listeners
outside the contexts generating them (as in taste). Satisfaction has not
yet this kind of universality. The agreeable is explained in concrete
reasons why a certain esthetic object or state of mind pleases. One can
"explain". But this is not yet a rational discourse or a set of
esthetic judgements. The pleasant
is merely a highly subjective and intersubjective experience devoid of any
explanation. Like the orgasm, motherly love or patriotism (to give these
examples), it lacks conceptuality (totally, as in myth, or as unstable
pre-concepts, as in pre-rationality). Satisfaction on the other hand can
be reasoned, but this merely in concrete, context-bound concepts, not yet
in abstract, rational (formal) terms.
Satisfaction happens when sensate features evoke certain connotations and
these lead to conceptual communication, albeit depending on context. Music satisfies because it leads
to unexpected conceptualizations. Of course, these remain highly
(inter)subjective & context-bound, but they can be communicated,
explained, reasoned and so exceed the mere immediate gratification of the
pleasant, always remaining mythical (without concepts) and
pre-rational (with unstable pre-concepts). However, although satisfaction
can indeed be "explained", this is not yet an esthetic judgement, an
appeal to universal agreement. Indeed, satisfaction is proto-rational,
invoking concrete, context-bound concepts about esthetic features only.
Satisfaction is merely argeeable, it directs appeal.
assert in the case of every representation that the synthesis of a
pleasure with the representation (as a cognition) is at least possible. Of
what I call agreeable I assert that it actually causes pleasure in me. But
what we have in mind in the case of the beautiful is a necessary reference
on its part to delight. However, this necessity is of a special kind. It
is not a theoretical objective necessity-such as would let us cognize a
priori that every one will feel this delight in the object that is
called beautiful by me. Nor yet is it a practical necessity, in which
case, thanks to concepts of a pure rational will in which free agents are
supplied with a rule, this delight is the necessary consequence of an
objective law, and simply means that one ought absolutely (without
ulterior object) to act in a certain way.
Rather, being such a necessity as is thought in an aesthetic judgement, it
can only be termed exemplary. In other words it is a necessity of the
assent of all to a judgement regarded as exemplifying a universal rule
incapable of formulation. Since an aesthetic judgement is not an objective
or cognitive judgement, this necessity is not derivable from definite
concepts, and so is not apodeictic. Much less is it inferable from
universality of experience (of a thoroughgoing agreement of judgements
about the beauty of a certain object). For, apart from the fact that
experience would hardly furnish evidences sufficiently numerous for this
purpose, empirical judgements do not afford any foundation for a concept
of the necessity of these judgements."
Kant : Critique of
Judgement, Book 1, Fourth Moment, § 18 (transl. Meredith).
10. As a normative discipline,
esthetics uncovers the norms ruling "taste" or the
excellence of sensate states of matter and the exemplary harmonizations
every esthetic subject ought to acknowledge.
10.1 Sensate states of matter are either natural or artificial.
Natural beauty unveils the beauty of the kingdoms of nature and offers
insights into the esthetics of the cosmos. Artificial beauty is a cultural
object revealing excellence & exemplary form.
10.2 Critical esthetics avoids to root, objectively as well as
subjectively, the beautiful in a sufficient ground outside thought.
10.2.1 The norm of excellence is not based on esthetical features
(their quantity, quality, relation or modality). It depends on the
intensity of the conscious esthetic meaning infused in these features,
i.e. their use.
10.2.2 The transcendental categories of this esthetics are derived
from the condition of sensate states of matter in terms of exemplary
status, pointing to the spirit of sublimity.
10.2.3 Sensate objects and mental objects are not devoid of
conceptual interpretation (this avoids the eternalism of the object).
Conceptual interpretation of reality without sensation is impossible (this
avoids the eternalism of the subject).
10.3 Esthetic objects are called beautiful because the esthetic
judgement designating them is, as far as possible, independent of
pleasure, satisfaction or dissatisfaction, although pleasure &
satisfaction may well be present.
10.3.1 Esthetic judgement is based on the way esthetic features are
used (excellence) and how harmony is applied (exemplarity).
10.3.2 The esthetic judgement calls for the assent of all esthetic
subjects to a judgement of taste regarded as exemplifying a definite rule
10.4 Excellent sensate matter does
more than maintain a high standard in material, formal and/or kinetic
denotations (i.e. craft & craftsmanship), but stimulates the senses in concert because of the
meaningful way the given esthetic features are expressed.
10.5 Exemplary art affords an example of the application of the
principle of harmony, inviting all esthetic subjects to enjoy what they ought to
accept as beautiful because of excellence surpassed by exemplary harmony.
10.6 Critical esthetics points at but cannot penetrate the
sublime, unfolding a unique evolutionary process of spiritualizing matter.
Taste moves beyond the (inter)subjectivity of identifying evoked esthetic
features and being able to context-bound explain "why" this or that object
has esthetic appeal (by imagining evocative esthetic features). Taste
introduces the esthetic judgement. This is a statement about the
exquisite, the excellent & the exemplar, accepting the possibility of
Exquisite skill (craft) is based on
the use of esthetic features and
stands between satifaction & taste. It is
independent of context (and so no longer ante-rational), but it may lack
esthetic meaning and thus taste. Excellence is defined by
The example refers to
forms of harmonization.
Here an esthetic discourse enters the scene, using symbols (abstract
concepts) and so no longer context-bound.
Clearly this is the domain of aesthetics proper. Taste presupposes
exquisite craft, but truly begins with excellence. An exquisite work of
art may lack taste, i.e. not refer to a meaningful expression of its
esthetic features. Excellence is always exquisite.
Excellence, exemplarity & sublimity.
norms ruling excellence cover sensate & evocative esthetic features,
expressive enough to be received by others.
11.1 Sensate esthetic features are denotations based on sensation.
Evocative esthetic features are affective, volitional, cognitive &
conscious connotations based on denotations.
11.2 Art is not to be present in the mind or the workplace of the
artist only. Art is creating & exposing, impression & expression. Work of
arts belong to the esthetic process and are moments of the ongoing stream
of communication between its actors.
11.3 Sensate esthetic features include motoric & formal features.
Motoric features define the momentum of the object, while form denotes
composition (based on size, proportion, balance, etc.).
11.4 Judgement of skill or craftsmanship is based on how each
available esthetic features is executed and integrated to form a functional whole.
11.5 An exquisite, functional whole is not a priori
excellent, while excellent art is always exquisite.
12. The esthetic
judgement of excellence is not based on the esthetic features themselves,
integrated as they are in an organic whole, but on their total or partial
12.1 Consciousness is the userware operating the evolutionary
software encoded in the hardware of the body. If matter is capacity and
information is data, then userware is the meaningful use of both as well
as the inner reflection changing code & machine (cf. autopoiesis).
12.2 Excellence is not the outcome of a mere presentation of
sensate esthetic features (as in exquisite skill), but of esthetic
meaning, i.e. of the way exquisite sensate states are specifically
presented, expressed, manifested, created, realized, actualized.
12.2.1 For example. Not harshness, coldness or softness (of a work
of art) are objectified, but how harsh harshness, how cold coldness and
how soft softness is.
12.2.2 To express this intensity of the predicate, more is needed
than exquisite esthetic features. Without this conscious capacity to
create freedom in sensate states of matter, pleasure is all what is left.
12.2.3 Turning free creativity into symbols, excellence points to
qualities beyond the conditions imposed by sensation. A higher-order form
is at work.
12.2.4 Consciousness, immaterial & nameless, infuses meaning in
glyphs, or typical modifications of sensate states of matter.
12.2.5 Excellence is a potent symbiosis of signs resonating with
their beholder. This focus, presence & meaningful interdependence of the
each esthetic feature with all others, adds a meta-level to the esthetic
experience of excellence.
12.2.6 Craft, excellence, exemplarity & sublimity are the levels of
12.3 In any esthetic judgement, partial and total judgement are to
be distinguished. The beauty of the parts does not make the beauty of the
whole, rather, the whole is sensate before the parts.
features cover : (a) local events, (b) regional categories and (c) the
total categorial system.
13.1 Local events are specific esthetic features. For example, in
the orchestra, the sudden sound of the Flauto piccolo during tutti
piano, in ballet, an unexpected jump like the Grand Jeté, in painting,
a lovely executed hand, or in literature, a remarkable passage in the
13.2 Regional categories are sections of a work of art. For
example, the string, woodwind, brass or percussion sections, and the
excellence of their esthetic features.
13.3 The total system refers to the work of art as a whole. The
conductor's score is an analogy (however, in music, being acoustic, the
work of art exists only when it is played).
13.4 Critical esthetic judgements distinguish between these layers
of esthetic features. Thus, ugly local features may functionally assist
excellent regional expressiveness and global balance.
14. As esthetic
features are based on interdependent sensations, they functionally exist
as long as they interact with other features.
14.1 The sensate nature of the stuff of esthetics turns it into a
differential activity related to the infinitesimal increment in the
variables of sensation.
14.1.1 Each sense has a threshold beyond which the inability to
register with more subtlety (with a finer pixel) fabricates the illusion
of a discrete process to be continuous.
14.1.2 For example. A movie runs at twenty-four frames per second,
making a discrete sequence of individual frames appear as a natural and
unfabricated continuous sensate object. Slowing down would make the
individual frames of the film visible, causing the fata morgana of
appearances to breakdown.
14.1.3 Sensation is the appearance of phenomena fabricated by our
senses on the basis of perception.
14.1.4 Naked perception, share by all animals, is what happens when
sensory stimuli are transduced into bio-electric impulses. Natural
perception is what we share with the other mammals (cf.
Philosophy of Sensation, 2007).
14.1.5 The mind of duality (of object & subject) cannot eliminate
interpretation without eliminating itself. Because of our mental
fabrications, sensation is all what is left of perception.
14.1.6 Science nor philosophy perceive, they sensate.
14.2 For excellence, all what matters, is the way these
differential changes in exquisite esthetic features are an expression of
consciousness. One does not seek beauty (as in pleasure & satisfaction),
but shows how beautiful beauty is (as in excellence).
15. The esthetic
judgement of example is based on a spectrum of possible abstract forms of
harmony, ranging from the entirely subjective to the entirely objective.
15.1 The abstract forms, rooted in transcendental esthetics, are
necessary but formal. The transcendental object is a sensate object, the
subject an expressive artist. All harmonizations necessarily involve this
15.2 Positing, comparing, denying, uniting & transcending are the
five models of harmony.
15.2.1 Positioning : affirming the object without the subject or
affirming the subject without the object.
15.2.2 Comparing : considering the object more than the subject or
considering the subject more than the object.
15.2.3 Denying : rejecting the object or rejecting the subject.
15.2.4 Uniting : identifying object with subject and subject with
15.2.5 Transcending : zeroing out of all harmonization, without
object or subject.
rationality and intuition
16. Sublime works
of art testify of the natural, nondual light of the mind.
Taste is a very complex phenomenon. Excellence always singles itself out.
Craft or the exquisite proves to be of a very high technical value, but is
serial (many of the same quality). Very sophisticated music, evidencing high technical
skill, may however lack taste because the template used leads to multiple
copies. Mere craftsmanship always implies a lot of
skill, but this may be of bad taste. Excellence has good taste. It has
unique qualities, making the work of art stand out. There is no real
template to copy. This exceeds craft. However, excellence has formal
characteristics and can be rationally defined. Not so with the exemplar,
bringing in a higher level of esthetic appreciation. Here creativity is at
work, manipulating a form of harmonization, a specific "own-form" of
mediation between the esthetic object & the esthetic subject. Then meaning
exceeds the work of art itself,
bringing in higher cultural values.
The esthetic process.
17. In the
esthetic process, the four actors are : the environment (the esthetic
milieu), the sender (the artist), the message (the work of art) and the
receiver (the public).
17.1 The characteristics of
the cycle of communication can be applied to the esthetic process.
17.2 Each actor, like the neuron, is stimulated by a source and in
turn becomes a source of stimuli :
environment or esthetic milieu : collective, conventional
information or code is stored in the collective data bank (or collective
memory), acting as a source of information concerning the cultural form
(education & socialization) ;
sender or artist : the stimuli of the environment are received by
the info-receptor of an individual sender, who integrates the
information and (tries to) author an original, individualized response,
which is a variation on the theme of the collective code ;
message or work of art : the actual response of the sender is a
message which is a symptom of the response and the source of symbolic
activity sent to a receiver ;
receiver or the public : the symbols received are integrated by
the receiver who has access to the collective code and who integrates
the received symbols in the repertoire of the data bank of the
collective, communicating the integrated symbols of the message.
17.3 Each of the factors is a system. The esthetic milieu, the artist
and the public are open systems, the work of art is a closed systemn (with
the exception of aleatoric art).
17.4 In esthetics, closed systems are meaningful signs standing on
their own, being symptoms of a creative intent.
17.5 The esthetic process is characterized by the following types
of information : direct & primary, direct & secondary, indirect & primary,
indirect & secondary.
17.5.1 Works of art are direct & primary : a symphony, a painting,
a novel, etc.
17.5.2 Plans, sketches, opinions regarding a work of art are direct
17.5.3 Socio-economical structures making certain works of art
preferential are indirect & primary.
17.5.4 Opinions about socio-economical structures challenging or
altering preferences are indirect & secondary.
17.6 The esthetic process is characterized by the following types
of meaningful information : codes of communication and media of
17.6.1 The codes of information imply the esthetic milieu, the artist &
the public. The milieu contains collective codes, conventions (national,
regional or social styles). The artist personally adapts to these
collective codes, with intensive or extensive originality. The public,
possessing the codes of the milieu and acquiring personal codes,
integrates the latter in the former. This acquired taste may be eclectic,
specific, superficial or informed.
17.6.2 The media of communication imply the same actors. The esthetic
milieu has institutionalized media of production and transmission. The
artist has personal variants of these and the public makes use of the
institutions, adapts to new media and integrates the latter in the basket
of available media.
17.7 Three problems emerge : a problem of structure, a problem of
transmission and a problem of reception.
17.7.1 Structure : the artist makes use of all available
information, never makes use of non-artistic codes or has a mixed
17.7.2 Transmission : the artist represents his work of art in a
clear-cut, representational way, never uses representation, or has a mixed
17.7.3 Reception : the public receives the message as intended by
the artist, never receives the message or has a mixed reception.
17.8 The complexity of the esthetic process is enhanced by three
constant factors of change : feedback, interference & internal temporal
17.8.1 Feedback can be autogenous (from the work of art back to the
artist), interferential (from the public to the artist) & restructuring
(from the esthetic milieu to the public).
17.8.2 Interferences are either blockages or derailments. Blockages
are quantitative (less creativity, less diffusion, less public) and/or
qualitative (less information, less diffusion of information, less
interest in information by the public). Derailments are distortions in the
esthetic circuit from the side of the artist (epigonism, exotism,
formalism), the esthetic milieu (traditionalism, performatism) and/or the
public (conservatism, entertainment oriented).
17.8.3 Internal temporal dynamics of artist & public involve the
evolution of the esthetic milieu to which they belong. Internal temporal
dynamics of this milieu is defined by socio-economical, political,
cultural, ideological and artistic developments.
17.9 The esthetic process as a whole is influenced by three
movements interacting simultaneously.
17.9.1 Linear movements from the esthetic milieu to the artist,
from the artist to the work of art, from the work of art to the public and
from the public to the milieu.
17.9.2 Internal movements within each actor (from output to input
and from input to output).
17.9.3 Dialectical movements between certain systems by feedback,
interference and the temporal evolution of historical events.
18. Harmonization pertains to exemplary art.
18.1 Harmony is a relatively continuous balance between the artist
and the work of art.
18.2 Forms of harmony are archetypal ways of balancing object &
subject of esthetics.
18.3 Absence of balance is not a form of harmony. Balance can be
weird, awkward, odd, strange, bizarre, absurd, grotesque, bombastic,
18.4 By enantiomorphism, disharmonization is reversal of balance
(cf. Diabolus est Deus inversus).
19. Given object & subject of
esthetics, harmonizations are transcendental because they represent the
forms, models, archetypes or "pure ideas" of harmony necessary for a work
of art to strike a creative exemplary balance between both. They belong to
the esthetic subject and define an esthetic milieu, its interests, media &
19.1 The forms of harmony are transcendental in terms of the
creative balance between object & subject of esthetics.
19.2 To measure excellence, a meta-level of sensation is introduced
(namely, the intensity of the esthetic predicate). Being worthy of
imitation implies a meta-level of cognition. This defines the forms of
harmony enabling the comparison & integration of creativity & beautiful
sensate objects, of freedom & works of art.
19.3 The transcendental forms designate the exemplary status of
19.4 In esthetics, the transcendental proof only pertains to
harmony, not to excellence or sublimity. To describe the experience of harmony, we must have these forms at work a priori,
constituting the possibility of archetypal examples.
19.5 Although we must
have forms of harmony to designate examples, the exemplary ought
to be imitated.
19.5.1 The esthetic judgement of example is not necessary, but
invites every other to concur.
19.5.2 Example moves beyond excellence, implying harmony.
20. An esthetic judgement of
example is not a dictate, a law or a must, for esthetic necessity cannot
be deduced. These judgements ought to be valued and contain a
prescriptive, not an imperative command.
20.1 Excellence can be determined with precision, but harmony is
not a formal necessity, rather an invitation to judge likewise.
20.2 An imperative command is universal, immediate and part of a
finite, well-defined pattern or strategy it must deploy & execute.
Epistemology & ethics operate such commands.
20.3 A prescriptive command is the description of something worth
to be imitated. Of the normative disciplines, only esthetics calls for
20.4 Because an esthetic judgement is not imperative, all one can
do is hope it finds the goodwill of all other possible esthetic subjects.
sectio aurea or
present in the works of art of Ancient Egypt, Greece & Rome, in Platonic
solids, Fibonacci numbers & the Mandelbrot fractals (when they are
self-referent by relationships between parts based on φ), seems preferred
by Nature to geometrize growth, elegance & energy conservation.
21.1 The Golden Number is arrived at when the sum of two
quantities is to the larger quantity as the larger is to the smaller
("a + b" is to "a" as "a" is to "b" or "a + b / a = a / b"), giving an
irrational number φ = 1 + √5 /2 ≈ 1.618 033
21.2 Crucial in Classical Architecture, this "Divine Proportion" is
also found in complex biological processes.
21.3 The "beauty of Nature" is expressed by the excellent &
exemplary sensate objects adorning its four kingdoms : the mineral, the
vegetal, the animal and the human.
21.4 In Ancient Egypt, Greece & Rome, as well as in the East, the natural realm took the
shape of ongoing natural conflicts between the elements of Earth, Water,
Fire & Air. This system became part of
Qabalah & Hermeticism (cf. the
system of correspondences
of the Western Mystery Tradition).
21.5 Only humans create artificial beauty.
21.6 In logic, elegance and symmetry are part of the formal
criteria of a valid hypothesis.
21.7 In physics, chemistry, biology & psychology, symmetries are at
work : matter versus anti-matter, group theory in quantum chemistry &
spectroscopy, physiological bi-polarity, conscious versus unconscious,
22. Excellence, being empirical,
is derived from a minute, comparative observation of the ways of sensate
objects, but exemplary works of art are identified by their formal
Harmony balances-out possibilities, pushing them towards a higher, more
complex order. When it merely complements disharmony, the play of balance
and loss of balance is at hand. However, when harmony integrates
disharmony without loss of overall balance, it becomes superharmony. The
latter touches sublimity, while harmony proper defines the exemplar.
In terms of the esthetic examplar, harmony
exhausts all possible communicational relationships between the object &
the subject of the esthetic.
affirms only one of the two, and this without taking the other into
consideration, much like talking over someone's head. The other
is not denied, but these interests are just not considered. The world is
as it were cut in half.
is making one more important than the other, subjugating it.
is focusing on one only, explicitly negating the role of the other. Hence,
one remains dependent on what is denied. One tries to develop a position
by rejecting the other.
is the attempt of identifying the other as an integral part of the one.
is moving beyond the duality. A position "outside" the dialectic is
Instinctual disharmonization or reversal.
23. Disharmonization involves a vertical and
horizontal dialectic leading to an increase in entropy (a decrease in
complexification and a reduction to more probable states of consciousness,
information and matter).
23.1 Vertical disharmonization is the conflict or dialectic
between, on the one hand, the human and, on the other hand, the mammalian
& reptilian characteristics encoded in the software of our body.
the reptilian brain : brain stem (midbrain, pons, medulla),
midbrain, hypothalamus ;
the mammalian brain : thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala ;
the human brain : neocortex of cerebral hemispheres of cerebrum,
23.1.1 Mammalian belongingness is expressed by special signs, called
"icons". They involve visual & spatial semantics, addressing emotions as a
motivating & mobilizing source
of empathy and memory, uniting relatedness and nurturance
(thalamus). There are two kinds of icons. The pre-rational type use
pre-concepts, which are contextual & unstable. The proto-rational type use
concrete concepts, stable but always contextual.
23.1.2 Reptilian wakefulness, sense of territory, instinct of
survival & reproductive urge are executed by the brainstem, midbrain and
hypothalamus, the controller of the Autonomous Nervous System (and the
fight or flight response).
23.1.3 The signal-language of reptiles is based on pheromonal,
auditive & visual signals.
23.1.4 Both signals & icons are emblems of the instincts, whereas
symbols point to a conceptual process. Proto-rationality, with its
concrete concepts, belongs to the instincts but reaches out to the
23.2 Horizontal disharmonization is the tension between, on the one
thinking ego and, on the other hand, ante-rationality and its irrational
23.2.1 The thinking, empirical ego, cognizes sensate objects based
on perceptions of outer events & its own mental objects.
23.2.2 Sensation or experience always involves conceptual
interpretation, a fabrication or a construction, never the direct datum of
perception as such (cf.
Preludium). Elaborate conceptualizations
of sensations are likewise a higher order register of abstraction.
23.2.3 Although sensate & mental objects are the only things known,
we act as if we conceptualize perceptions as well as the nature of mind.
This cannot be the case, for duality never grasps unity.
23.2.4 Hemispheric lateralization of the neocortex executes an
unbalanced preference for verbal, conceptual thinking, at the expense of
other non-verbal approaches & symbols (mediated by the dominated
hemisphere and via the latter, by the limbic system).
23.2.5 The dominant hemisphere computes verbal symbols.
23.2.6 Disharmonization may be a reequilibration-phase leading to
23.2.7 In any case, disharmonization is the expression of the
repressed Shadow-nature spoiling (polluting) conscious meaning.
24. In esthetics, reversal is the tool of
disharmonization. With it, one tries to reverse genuine communication into
strategy, harmony into conflict and symmetry into "follow-the-leader"
25. If in a work of art, disharmonization rules
supreme, then afflictive affects dominate. Devoid of harmony, excellence
in destruction may be achieved. This is not an example and never sublime.
25.1 Through the media "money, sex & power", manipulation is
initiated in the form of instrumental & strategic communication.
25.2 Parody degrades the great works of art.
25.3 Virulent (organized) destruction is a fascist system, evoking
the kitsch beauty of the artificial "Beast".
25.4 Blind annihilation is madness as art and art as madness.
25.5 Excessive and obsessive disharmonization, in direct conflict
with the law of life (φ) and, by absence of a critical self-consciousness,
26. The Back Box method is a psychosynthetic
technique evoking the Shadow, confronting & integrating its imago within
the confines of a private "open space" without "spill-over".
26.1 A dadaist seeks to discover his or her psychic
mechanism, which also means confronting, naming, accepting and integrating
the repressed contents of consciousness (cf. depth-psychology).
26.1.1 Confrontation means to take the time to deliberately evoke
negative qualities and not back away from their appearance.
26.1.2 Naming is attributing clear-cut meaning & personal character
to the Shadow.
26.1.3 Acceptance is allowing this imago of the Shadow to exist
without rejection nor identification.
26.1.4 Integration is choosing for the right chaos-element in the
right place at the right time.
26.2 Clearly, this Back Box method has dangers and needs to be
confined by expert skill in psychosynthesis.
26.3 "Spill-over" is what happens when Shadow-contents escapes the
closed, secret context in which they are evoked, contaminating areas in
which negativity & chaos are an inefficient nuisance.
27. Artistic disharmonization is the allowance of a
margin of entropy within harmony and can, in human practice, not be
27.1 Every harmonization has minor, negligible
27.2 Artistic disharmonization is the deliberate introduction of
chaos in the linear mechanism of a given form of harmonization.
27.2.1 Chaos is a complex, aperiodic, irregular, not completely
predictable, not entirely erratic, a little determinable, non-linear
movements of natural & artificial systems, i.e. a phase-stream dependent
of small changes in the initial conditions, leading to the exploration of
a very large number of dynamical possibilities.
27.2.2 As soon as three independent variables are present,
non-linearity is a fact (cf.
27.3 The way artistic disharmonization is an integral part of a
harmonic key, is a measure of the sublimity of an exemplary work of art.
27.3.1 Sublimity points to the unbounded wholeness of a work of art
and the dissolution of divisions between harmony & disharmony and between
the work of art and its observer.
27.3.2 Although directly experienced, sublimity cannot be
conceptually explained or rationally authenticated.
27.3.3 Sublimity is the object of a transcendent metaphysics,
expressing itself in poetry.
When balance is absent, harmony is out. Balance is the presence of
communication, even between extremes or in an awkward way. Indeed, even in
the case when the other is denied, a form of balance exists, albeit a very
unstable one. Disharmony is a disruptive extreme, annihilating instead of
just denying. Disharmonious activity targets destruction, i.e. total loss
of balance, the end of communication. Hence, absence
of balance or dishamony is not to be compared with dissonance or tension. The latter
are still part of the equation of harmony, pushing the movement forward
Disharmony stops development and regresses. Here things can only get worse.
Absence of balance is the reversal
of communication. The latter presupposes a kind of interaction between
object & subject, even integrating denial. Disharmony breaks away from
object & subject modulations. The aim is not communication but
The Fine Arts : material & imaginal dimensions.
28. The Fine Arts target a specific format of
artwork and do so with historical continuity regarding the achievement of
craftsmanship, excellence & example.
28.1 The Fine Arts designate a limited number
of art disciplines, defined by the purity of their form, i.e.
uncontaminated by considerations outside their actual dimensions.
28.2 More academical than applied, these disciplines do not refer
to the quality of the work of art, but to the exact, academic performance
of how to create certain works of art.
28.3 Because they create, preserve & transmit a specific
discipline, the Fine Arts belong to the own-form of civilization.
28.4 Of all the Fine Arts, music is the most complex.
harmony, counterpoint, form
29. The Fine Arts are classified in accordance with
their actual and imaginal dimensions.
29.1 A dimension is a measure of observation.
29.2 An actual dimension is a measures of the "stuff" presented.
29.3 An imaginal dimension connotates evocative esthetic features
on the basis of denoted sensate esthetic features.
29.4 Imaginal dimensions do not add sensation to the work of art,
but do suggest the presence of qualities exceeding the "stuff" actualized
One may argue Opera integrates all Fine Arts and is therefore the highest
expression of the esthetic. The stage is transformed into a suggestive
context thanks to drawing, painting & sculpture. The libretto is an
example of poetry & literature. The contemporary stage calls for
photography & the audiovisual arts. The action on stage defines the
performance, the drama. The costumes are of course related to fashion,
whereas the music gives it its ultimate, universal appeal. Given this
complexity, Opera is not an easy form of art. To understand and appreciate
it, musical education is necessary.
The own-form of creative thought.
ourselves posses beauty when we are true to our own being ; our ugliness
is in going over to another order ; our self-knowledge, that is to say, is
our beauty ; in self-ignorance we are ugly."
Plotinus : Enneads, V.9.13.
unveils how mind plays matter, but does not reflect the own-Self of the
artist, rather the empirical ego of the craft.
30.1 To measure the intensity of predicates, mental objects are
necessary and designated by the empirical ego, acting as the focal centre
of a circular, nominal consciousness (the mind of Homo normalis).
This waking state prompts conceptualization.
30.2 As a concept, "excellence" calls for the critical mode of
30.3 Excellence presupposes craftsmanship, the possession of
exquisite esthetic features.
30.4 Ante-rationality does not preclude excellent craftsmanship,
but develops no abstract considerations about beauty as such.
30.5 For the empirical ego, the harmonic key is not an issue. It
comes by introducing the second focus of consciousness, the own-Self,
rather a "soul", or a "someone", than mere sentient animated flesh, or a
30.5.1 As a concept, "exemplarity" calls for the creative mode of
30.5.2 In sublimity, with the integration of disharmony in harmony
(building a kind of superharmony), excellence (matter) & exemplarity
(form) are one.
30.6 Creative thought affirms the presence of a broader, panoramic
view, and replaces the critical "I think" with the ontic "I am".
30.7 The soul of the artist is the throne of his or her
execution of craft
31. Exemplary art is
exceptional, unique, highly individual,
etc. These works of art assume the sparks of the inner light of the
artist, his or her own-Self. This alchemy is the most precious secret of
the artist, an ineffable, inner, intimate state of consciousness.
32. Critical esthetics calls for
four conceptual modes of thought and one non-conceptual mode :
bringing ante-rationality to a close, operates a concrete concept unable
to escape context.
32.2 Formal thought
studies sensate objects of art, their quantity, quality, modality &
relation. It articulates propositions regarding their esthetic features.
32.3 Critical thought, to identify excellence, studies the
specifics of the way esthetic features are presented, the characteristic
esthetic meaning sensate objects come to express, calling for meta-levels
of meaning, tensions between parts and between part and whole, etc.
32.4 Creative thought identifies the harmonic key of the own-Self
of the artist. Aided by critical thought, comparative solutions are found
to the problems posed by the tensions between artist and work of art. A
harmonization is a standardized solution of these tensions.
32.5 Nondual thought prehends the unbounded whole, and is therefore
the organ to witness sublimity. At this level, superharmony is achieved.
33. Harmonization always occurs against the
background of a realist or an idealist ontology, and is therefore an
object of immanent metaphysics designated in the mode of creative thought.
Hamonization, backed by the rational process (formal & critical)
generating excellence, is not the
of great excellence. The latter reflects a highly developed critical
sense, but lacks the infusion of the own-form of the artist. This may be
because the latter has not yet realized his or her higher Self (and so
only operates the focus of the empirical ego), or because the translation
of this panoramic experience in esthetic terms (directly impacting the art
of invention) has not yet happened. Absent or sporadic inspiration &
intuition characterize a lacking or sparse creativity, generating poor
harmonizations (not to be confused with the vertical, harmonic properties
of music). Such balancing-out is not exemplar.
As the realization of the own-Self implies active self-realization values,
one may argue exemplaric music has an intuitional (meta-rational) source.
This is the inspiration or muse of all great artists. It cannot be caused
by any rational procedure, depends on an active choice not to be limited
by the empirical ego, but can be prepared by
spiritual exercises. The latter however fall outside the domain of the
Directly observing sublimity.
34. Because sensation is a sullying
fabrication, sublime works of art manifest with sublime clarity.
34.1 Sensation is always confused and curtailed.
34.1.1 From its own side, sensation -implying concepts, labels and
names- is not clear-cut.
34.1.2 Perception takes place using
population coding, implementing a threshold for
combined action-potentials of the neurons. Very weak stimuli usually never
trigger an axonal discharge, whereas the totality of afferent data is
filtered by both hypothalamus & thalamus.
34.1.3 As soon as, in the nondual mode of cognition, non-conceptual
wisdom emerges, the approximation of sensation with perception (or CI
tending towards 1) clarifies, by comparison, the extent of nominal sensate
34.2 In the formal, critical & creative conceptual modes of thought
S = P.CI with CI ≠ 0 pertains and illusion is inevitable and
34.2.1 Some coarse, optical illusions can be detected and their
nefast influence eliminated, but without stopping them from appearing.
34.2.2 Conceptual illusion is subtle & universal and cannot be
identified. If so, it would not be universal. It results from the habitual
framework of interpretation of the mind, designating objects by giving
them names covering the base of designation.
34.2.3 Conceptually, to identify the base of designation is to
invoke another designation and another base, and this ad
34.2.4 Example. If a flower is designated, then the word "flower"
is the designation and the physical object pointed at called "flower" is
the base of designation. To ostentatiously identify this "physical object
over there", one may again invoke concepts as "roots", "stem", "leaves",
"flower butt" etc. Whatever the description, it has again to be defined by
further designations, ending this regression ad hoc,
as in "electrons", "neutrons", ... "quarks" etc. In fact, nothing concrete
is found, for after final or ultimate analysis, the so-called "forces" and
"particles" constituting the "flower" just appear out, vanish in &
reappear out of the universal, virtual zero-point-field studied by
quantummechanics. Like all other sensate objects, what we conventionally
call "flower", is in fact an aggregate of impermanent displays of
34.2.5 Appearing solid, concrete and substantial (existing from
their own side), sensate objects are in fact fleeting, impermanent and
unsubstantial (existing conditionally, i.e. in constant interaction with
all other changing things).
34.3 Nondual thought involves the natural light of the mind, at
work before conceptual consciousness and conceptualizations.
34.3.1 Insofar as consciousness is defined in terms of the duality
between object & subject (as in conceptual thought), nondual consciousness
is a contradictio in terminis.
34.3.2 Nondual awareness, i.e. the natural light of the mind, is a
direct experience of wholeness, but not a consciousness. This natural
light ultimately exists before and after any possible state of mind and
can only be found when immediately introduced to it.
34.4 When an artist displays natural light, sublime realizations
result. In these, everything is permeated with the open potentiality
present in the mind of the sublime artist.
34.5 Thinking this natural light is the object of a transcendent
metaphysics, rooted in an arguable philosophy of infinity and inspired
34.5.1 A philosophy of infinity studies three transfinite numbers :
Aleph0, Aleph1 and Omega.
34.5.2 Of all arts, poetry excels uniquely in sealing the Divine as
direct experience (cf.
35. Sublime art is an infusion of
infinity into finitude, permeating it throughout.
35.1 Critical thought discovers the
limit-concepts of the Real and the Ideal, and makes their different lines
of entry (the one monologal and the other dialogal) intersect in the focus imaginarius
of the noumenal Real-Ideal.
35.2 Creative thought posits the "I am" of the own-Self, and
confronts consciousness with a panorama of Self-ideas allowing
Self-consciousness to be designated as a lesser infinity (cf. Aleph0 differing from Aleph1).
35.3 Nondual thought annihilates the ontological basis of the
own-Self, directly introducing the lumen naturale
of the mind. Here, cosmic awareness emerges.
36. For an instance, sublime art
stops interpretation, helping the gap between two consecutive conceptual
thoughts to become apparent.
36.1 Conceptual thoughts arise, abide &
vanish. To directly witness their point of emergence is being equipped to
experience their end. The so-called gap is what immediately happens next
before any new thought arises.
36.2 Here, the natural, spontaneously arising awareness of mind,
has always been united with the essence of the absolute basis, empty of
inherent existence, but full of displays of all kinds.
36.2.1 Besides the natural state of mind united with the limitless
wholeness of the absolute basis, every thing is interdependent, i.e. empty
of enduring substance, but full of changes brought about depending on
36.2.2 The conceptual mind apprehends the inner light of mind as
the "blank" between two consecutive moments of conceptual designation.
After many trial-and-errors, the blank becomes a mental object reflecting
the natural light and accommodating the direct experience of this natural
light permeating every concept.
36.2.3 Because of the noise within the nominal conceptual mind, the
fine tone of the natural light is very difficult to isolate and hear.
36.3 Perplexed, the conceptual mind halts in the face of sublimity.
36.3.1 The tense cycles of conceptuality can be broken down by
concepts, although this effort is preliminary and necessary to make the
mind supple, alert & concentrated.
36.3.2 Sublime works of art directly introduce the natural state of
mind and are grand symbols of compassion (helping others to be happy).
37. By integrating disharmony into
their harmonization, sublime works of art exceed the exemplary.
37.1 Although order leads to craft,
craftsmanship, excellence & exemplarity, if nonduality is not the case, it
cannot lead to sublimity.
37.2 Nondual thought is beyond affirmation & denial and so beyond
the distinction between order & chaos.
37.3 The integration of chaos into order and of order into chaos is
the touchstone of the sublime.
Sublimity, the highest esthetic designation, no longer involves
conceptual, discursive thinking. The apprehension (of an object by a
subject) is replaced by a direct perception or prehension of the
unbounded wholeness, the suchness of that what is. When art is
sublime, it has moved beyond duality and in terms of harmonization, it
transcends the object & subject of the esthetic. Not only has the artist
achieved a direct, immediate experience of the own-Self (establishing the
bi-modal mode defined by two foci of consciousness), but he or she has
also realized the lack of substance of this own-Self and of all possible
phenomena prehended by the Clear Light or original (very subtle) mind.
This is a very high spiritual achievement. This art is Divine. It is
"Dharma Art", reflecting the absolute wholeness of the eternal moment.
Such art touches its audience in the heart (exemplar) and in the spirit
In esthetics, the distinction between "theoretical" and "applied"
separates, on the one hand, the esthetic milieu & the public from, on the
other hand, the creative experiences of the artist with the work of art.
In a critical theory of beauty, the appreciation of sensate objects in
terms of an esthetic judgement based on norms of excellence & example
pertains. Theoretically, the forms of harmonization are only a series of
logical options necessary to take beauty beyond excellent craftsmanship.
These harmonics are not the outcome of a logical deduction (as is the case
in epistemology and ethics). This explains why esthetic judgements are
not necessary. Moreover, the
art of harmonization and spiritual realization walk hand in hand ...
Of all three
normative disciplines, esthetics is the most concrete and hence the less
imperative. Nevertheless, within each form of harmonization, the
imperative command is again at work, albeit as a non-Fregean
representation of one of the harmonic options available in the logical
spectrum between object & subject of esthetics.
The application of esthetic maxims must allow for the production of works
of art. Working against the background of an immanent metaphysics, this "ars
inveniendi" is the creative,
harmonizing aspect of rationality. Its core is not excellence, but
The rule of outstanding harmony involves various harmonic keys, the use of
which brings archetypal harmony to bare in a work of art. How have
esthetic features and their intensity (esthetic meaning) been made part of
this unique Self-idea of the artist ? How does this seed-idea present in
every piece, point to an harmonic ideal ? The more the own-form of the
artist is conveyed by his or her creative products, the more exemplar the
Because harmonization is part of the esthetic process, both the esthetic
milieu & the public, possibly with the art critic at the helm,
co-influence how, in a work of art, the "harmonic key" is applied or
"realized", often without the artist noticing. However, while interacting
with its environment, exemplary art supersedes this by positing
(designating) formidable examples of an original own-form of
harmonization. Because they are worth of imitation, these forms of
harmonization represent meta-esthetic modules or typical expert
information about a limited set of ways to harmonize the happenings &
events occurring between esthetic object & esthetic subject. Because they
cover the actual production of beauty, they are more applied than
Even more so unique is sublimity. Integrating disharmony into harmony,
transforming it into meta-harmony or superharmony, is the last step necessary to eliminate
the duality of the esthetic mind and move into the open, free, nameless
space of creativity & wisdom. Here art is truly a work of eternity.
Based on the transcendental conditions of esthetics, namely sensate
objects versus creativity, the harmonic octagon consists of eight forms of
harmonization (with the highest entering sublimity). Hence, these fundamental keys involve the reality of
beautiful sensate objects (O) and the ideality of the esthetic artist (S).
Although in tune with the transcendental conditions, this octagon is not
the result of a deduction. More keys, or variations on keys, may therefore
always be added, although at a certain moment semantic overlapping occurs,
suggestive of a finite set of possible harmonization.
Both objective and subjective art affirm their object. In social art and
personal art, the scope of this object is corrected. Negating the real &
ideal conditions imposed by works of art and their artists, as in
revolutionary art & psycho-dynamic art, ends the presentational keys.
To deny the transcendental dyad, for revolution or "dada", calls for a
meta-level, consciously introducing & integrating disharmony into the
harmonic key. Finally, the unifying keys bring about a totalization and
finally a transcendence.
|O > S
||S > O
|O ≈ S
||S ≈ O
|O = S = Ø
|| S = O = Ø
Positional keys focus on a nominal
creative representation of object & subject. This is classical harmonization.
Transforming keys move beyond the duality of the original positioning and
try to eliminate or fundamentally alter the conditions of classical
harmonization. Unifying keys totalize the harmonic intent, bringing it to
its highest unity, or move beyond harmonization itself, introducing the
Factors of creativity.
38. The pragmatics of esthetics involves the
creative person, the creative product, the creative process & the creative
38.1 A great creative personality, manifesting at an early age, has
certain characteristics defined by psychometric testing : independent
attitude & social behaviour, dominant, introvert, open to stimuli,
extended interests, acceptation of Self, intuition, flexibility, balance &
indifferent to social norms.
38.2 For Taylor (1972), the creative product is expressive,
technical, inventive, innovative or emergentive.
38.2.1 Expressive : spontaneity, where originality & quality are
less important (cf. the drawings of children).
38.2.2 Technical : calls for skill and high levels of proficiency.
38.2.3 Inventive : reveals ingenuity with materials, solving old
problems in a new way.
38.2.4 Innovative : elaborations on basic principles through
38.2.5 Emergentive : the emergence of an entirely new principle or
38.3 For Dewey (1953), the creative process has five stages : (a)
sensing a difficulty, (b) localizing and defining the problem, (c)
suggesting solutions, (d) considering their consequences & (e) accepting
the solution. Wallas (1926) proposed a fourfold : (a) preparations, (b)
incubation, (c) illumination & (d) verification. De Bono (1970, 1972)
introduced the idea of changing the "field" of the problem by means of
38.4 Arieti (1976) introduced "socio-cultural creativogenic
factors", like availability of cultural means, openness to cultural
stimuli, free access to cultural media, exposure to different, contrasting
stimuli, tolerance for divergent view-points, interaction with important
persons, promotion & reward, etc. According to him, these factors explain
the high level of creativity in the Jewish community.
38.5 Creative training programmes like brainstorming and
"synectics" generate a large number of ideas, postpone evaluation and
allow as many new ideas as possible to emerge. To make the strange
familiar is then the way to acquire new insights.
39. In each of the Fine Arts, the
general principles of creativity need to be adapted in terms of person,
product, process & environment.
One is born creative, not made. The "Ars Inveniendi"
can be learned, but to excell in it, natural talent is necessary. The same
goes for instrumentalists. Everybody can learn how to play the piano and
do this well, but to excell a special mind is called for. Of course,
creativity can be stimulated. Especially when this has happened early on,
the mind will be more apt to generate art. But the intent & will to
actually fashion art is innate. Some are merely receptive and feel no
creative urge whatsoever. This may be because they have been told they are
unable to do so, or the need may well be just absent. Some may be exposed
to art as a child and feel no interest. Others may hear a beautiful piece
only once and know they want to become composers. In exceptional cases,
the ability to be able to write down music may be more important than
having a proper meal (as was the case with Schubert) !
Hence, artistic education is foremost a training in
learning to appreciate art, and only
in a limited number of cases a way to better understand the medium so one
may produce works of art oneself.
An esthetics of music.
"The musical work, like all works of art, consists
in a identifiable whole (in the twofold sens of 'coherent' and 'apt to be
distinguished from similar products by specific features'), differentiated
from works of the static, visual arts by the fact that its reproductions
are no imitations of an original model, but re-realizations with full
40. An esthetics of music assists consciousness to
discover the beauty of music, its excellence, exemplary own-form &
41. Art Studies on music focus on objective and subjective factors.
41.1 Objectively, What is music ? Out what does it consist ? How
does it appear ? What is its meaning ? What is its place vis-à-vis the
other fine arts ? Also, subjectively, What is the value of music ? How
does its sensation work ? How does music evolve ?
41.2 Subjectively, (a) the value of music, depends on its technical
and musico-psychological form, (b) the quality of its reception depends on
the sensory system and (c) its evolution depends on the genesis of musical
creativity & receptivity.
42. Music is the set of abstract
acoustic states of matter produced by a sound source, causing mood &
42.1 As a phenomenon, music appears as (a) a spatiotemporal
succession of ordered acoustic phenomena, (b) a succession of ordered
acoustic qualities with the synesthetics of somatosensory & visual
associations, (c) a dynamical morphology of sound and (d) an acoustic
message (or non-verbal language).
42.2 The meaning of music is giving with (a) the pleasurable &
satisfying acoustic experience, (b) an acoustic thought form (a musical
theory), (c) the expression of the infinite by the finite and (d) a
non-verbal form of communication shared by all humans.
42.3 To situate music, it can be (a) described as the art of
abstract time or the set of semantic open and irreducible acoustic
phenomena or (b) evaluated as emotional, vitalistic, intellectual,
42.4 To the listener, music is a constantly moving continuum of air
pressures, triggering specific emotional states. Mood & momentum are the
two sides of sound.
Acoustic states of matter are isomorphic with (a) other sensate
impressions of the outer world and (b) the non-discursive, non-narrative
43.1 Empty space sounds like music chords in wide position.
43.2 While the ear is the receptor organ for fine air pressure
transduction, the physical body as a whole acts as a soundboard.
43.3 By mood-association, emotional states associated with certain
features are transferred to acoustic states.
43.4 Close to the signal & the icon, music is not symbolic.
43.5 Conceptual connotations are not part of the stuff of music,
whereas the evocative power of music is evident.
"I am convinced that however
perceptive the composer, he cannot imagine the consequences, immediate or
ultimate, of what he has written, and that his perception is not
necessarily more acute than that of the analyst (as I see him)."
literature, music has no capacity to discuss itself.
44.1 Although programmatic music may try to depict reality (cf. the
Cuckoo theme in Beethoven's 6th symphony), music judges not and has no
story to tell. Beyond mood & momentum, music is not concrete.
44.1.1 Mood-association is processed by the limbic system and its
44.1.2 Momentum is mainly mediated by reptilian and cerebellar
44.1.3 The conscious experience of music is processed by the
non-verbal hemisphere of the neo-cortex.
44.2 Music is non-conceptual and has no ideological function of its
own (is always interdependent and in communication with the environment).
44.3 Truth & goodness are not explained by music.
In an absolute sense, a single tone produced by a single instrument has 6
measurements : pitch, duration, color, dynamics, harmonic vector &
45.1 Pitch is the frequency of a tone, sounding treble or bass.
45.2 Duration is the length of a tone, co-defining rhythm.
45.3 Color is caused by the overtones produced by the instrument
45.4 Dynamics is the strength or accent of a tone, its volume.
45.5 The harmonic vector is the vertical relationship of a tone
with all other tones sounding simultaneously, as well as the relationship
of these with the harmonic vertical following them.
45.6 Counterpoint is the horizontal relationship of a tone with the
tone preceding it and the tone following it.
45.7 At any given moment of the score, for each and every tone in
the piece, these six dimensions always work together.
In an relative sense, acoustic phenomena are either presentative sensate
esthetic features or evocative esthetic features. The former are material,
kinetic and formal. The latter are connotations spontaneously associated
47. Regarding material esthetic features, classical and a-typical
characteristics are distinguished.
47.1 Classical esthetic features imitate the Golden Section, such
as consonance (the agreement of sounds produced simultaneously, as a note
with its third, fifth & eighth), melody, third chords, medium dynamics,
monophony, medium tessitura & sinus-waves.
47.2 A-typical esthetic features actualize a painful extreme foreign to the spirit of the esthetic experience. They are never
prolonged, but occur to give sound to the vulgar, such as dissonancy,
single tones, clusters, extreme dynamics, polyphony, extreme tessitura and
the see-saw wave.
47.3 Despite the importance of φ in the construction of the ear,
the basic stuff of music also calls for the possiblity of its negation.
This division is consistent with the bi-polarity of our emotions.
48. Noise, unlike
sound, is the absence of communication, the breakdown of the esthetic
Objective art : tragic.
49. Objective art
serves physical reality. This art is the descriptive representation of a
closed, secure, certain object, deemed to denote real, sensate objects.
As a copy of natural or artificial reality,
representation eliminates the subjective perspective of the artist, and
attempts to fixate the closed continuum of a recognizable sensate object
as a work of art. The latter is given an permanent, separated, defined,
continuous and solid nature. As a naturalist, this artist-observer
perceives without interpretation (cf. hyper-realism) and so the work is
the sign of a concrete or artificial reality. Genuine harmony involves
observing sensate objects as they are, i.e. φ-based architectures &
Because of these restrictions, this harmonization is predictable,
consequent and one-sided, positing a closed continuum. It cannot deny the
necessary conditions of its generation, and worships the finality of the
regular form, deemed unchangeable & inevitable. Stochastic elements are
rejected and anything in conflict with "reality" is considered accessible (S
= P) and eternalized.
Objective art is tragic. The superior force of reality determines what
happens, not the creative intent of the artist, and the fixating, rigid
conditions cause their own downfall, allying objective art with the
In music, objective reality is represented by meaningful acoustic
phenomena pouring into sound features of a reality deemed eternal,
unchanging and fundamental.
The Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525 -
1594), was the most prominent member of the Roman School, spanning the
Late Renaissance and Early Baroque Eras. Although working at several
churches, composers belonging to this school worked for the Vatican and
the Papal Chapel. Stylistically, their music contrasts with the Venetian
School, which was more progressive.
With smooth, clear, polyphonic harmonies, the music of Palestrina tries to
be an acoustic representation of Divine reality. His chords,
voice-leading and strict "Palestrina" counterpoint immediately evoke the
heights of spiritual joy, ecstasy, jubilation and glory felt in the direct
presence of the Divine. Move a single note and this delicate transparency
is mitigated. Harmonic movement is undulating and all tension is perfectly
resolved while difficult intervals are avoided.
Likewise, we find Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) finalizing the grand
edifice of polyphonic scholasticism, this great monolith with its strong
emphasis on counterpoint, formal compositions and a diatonal harmony using
regular modulations and progressions. Although a Protestant, Bach's main
concern was a proper musical representation of Divine reality, a quest
based on his faith and knowledge of Holy Scripture. His unfinished The
Art of the Fugue (1745) was his musical testament.
"... I sub-titled Parsifal 'A Sacred Festival
for the Theatre' (Bühnenweihfestspiel). So I must now try to find a
stage to consecrate to it, and that can only be my remote Festival Theatre
at Bayreuth. Parsifal shall be given there and only there, to the
end of time ; it shall never be offered as an amusement to the audience of
any other theatre."
Wagner : Letter to King Ludwig II of
Bavaria, 28 IX 1880.
The German Romantic composer Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883) (a)
revolutionized harmony by integrating chromatics, (b) used unresolved
tensions & multi-tonal structures, (c) altered the orchestra, (d) invented
new instruments and (e) built a new opera house at Bayreuth with an annual
Music Festival. These grand achievements bring to the fore his desire to
manifest his core myth, the salvation of the soul of the Germans.
Here, objective reality is not a social reality, but a mythological,
imaginal, fictional & phantasmagoric world, constructed around the themes
of light versus darkness, the Führer-principle (the Germanic Hero in the
guise of Tannhauser, Siegfried, Parsifal, ...) and the special destiny of
Germany in human history. The latter is a "sacred" history able to really
change the world outside myth ! This harmonization is objective, because
every "Leitmotiv" is an acoustic form of a person, situation or process in
the imaginal world of the Germanic soul, deemed fit to cause change or to
be represented in objective history by altering the mind of the public of
summer of 1876, during the time of the first Festspiele, I said farewell
to Wagner in my heart. I suffer no ambiguity ; and since Wagner had moved
to Germany, he had condescended step by step to everything I despise -
even to anti-Semitism . . . It was indeed high time to say farewell : soon
after, I received the proof. Richard Wagner, apparently most triumphant,
but in truth a decaying and despairing decadent, suddenly sank down,
helpless and broken, before the Christian cross . . . Did no German have
eyes in his head or pity in his conscience for this horrid spectacle ? Was
I the only one whom it pained ? Enough ; this unexpected event
struck me like lightning and gave me clarity about the place I had left -
and also that shudder which everybody feels after he has unconsciously
passed through a tremendous danger."
Nietzsche, F. : Nietzsche Contra
Wagner, How I Broke Away From Wagner, 1888.
Subjective art : dramatic.
50. Subjective art
serves the idealized subjectivity of the acting, feeling & thinking
conscious artist. Art is the unique grand tale of creativity of the
artist, ennobling the spontaneity of every moment of his or her art.
If objective art tries to represent
reality-as-such, i.e. propose an ontology of the real, subjective art puts
an idealized subjectivity to the fore, i.e. an ontology of the ideal
subject. Subjective harmonization calls for the monad of subjectivity,
posting it with the "evidence" of the theatrical, the dramatical, the
romantic and the immediate. The subject of the artist is idealized.
Important is not how reality seems to exists from its own side, but how
the artist experiences the context in which he or she creates. Here, the
work of art does not copy the world (objective and/or onto-mythological),
but only the dramatic expressions of the artist trying in vain to recreate
objectivity in terms of the "ideal" of subjectivity, translated as the
personal, the existential, the direct and the unique role of the subject
in everything esthetic, in particular esthetic meaning.
The esthetic subject is dramatic, personal & intersubjective, but not in a
social way. The artist is a solitary creator, a Romantic genius to be
distinguished from the rest of humanity. A kind of heroism is present,
with overtones bringing in a nauseating sentimentality.
In music, subjective ideality is represented by a highly intimate,
sensitive, delicate and personal application of the esthetic features.
In Palestrina's music, the choice of the artist is restricted to the
"canon" representing the Divine proportion, the gate to the Divine.
Subjective harmonization, calling for a less restricted use of the
diatonal system, a more daring voice-leading & a more supple counterpoint,
as in the Venetian School, is excluded.
"The difference brought about by the greater speed,
greater compactness, and greater vividness of the drama, with its
impersonality, its coöperative nature, its appeal to the group rather than
to the individual, create the fundamental technique which distinguished
the drama from the novel."
Although in Wagner's work, the subjective key is strongly present - the
man himself wanted to be a hero of sorts- his overall esthetic intention
lay elsewhere. His personal, intimate life is not at stake (the
Wesendonck Lieder performed in 1862 are an exception), but only the
objective salvation of the Germanic soul through the direct power of
presence of his mythic "Gesamtspiel".
The idealized subjectivity of Ludwig von Beethoven (1770 - 1827), turned
him, not unlike Napoleon Bonaparte, into a Romantic hero par
excellence, a kind of Hegelian "Geist" incarnate. When Mozart heard
the young Ludwig play for him, he got but one message : "Listen ! I am
Beethoven !". And he who could imitate everything, knew what he was
If intimate harmonic & melodic subtleties characterize Schubert (cf.
infra), Beethoven's music is carried by overdramatization. The "Beethoven
decrescendo" (swift alterations between forte to piano or from piano to
pianissimo), syncopated rhythms, repeated mono-thematics and sectional
orchestration all point to dramatic repetition and the heroic quest of the
artist, always seeking to better express the unending creative
confrontations with one's most interior own-Self. The fact Beethoven
could no longer properly hear after the 3th Symphony, sheds light on the
dramatic urge to create despite the odds, serving the revelations of one's
true person & eternal soul. From the very beginning until the last String
Quartets, harmonic, melodic & compositional experiment persists.
Beethoven repeatedly underlines his wanting to move away from the
pre-Romantics. This message cannot be made clear enough, and the feelings
& sentiments of the creative artist come first. With extensive
recapitulation & reorganization of materials on a scale never seen, each
of his Symphonies are remarkable autobiographic architectures, reaching
zenith with the 9th.
"... I made Beethoven's acquaintance at Teplitz. His
talent amazed me ; but unfortunately his is a completely untamed
personality, who indeed is not mistaken in finding the world detestable,
but who certainly does not make it more enjoyable, either for himself or
for other people, by saying so."
Goethe : Letter to Friedrich Zelter,
2 VI 1812.
Beethoven, ashamed to be deaf, was a solitary, "idealized" genius. Defying
the conventions of editors, "correcting" his harmonizations, he made
numerous corrections to quasi everything he wrote, merging the sensate,
formal & kinetic vectors of the art, way beyond pre-Romantic "balancing".
Although Beethoven's music pleased the public, keen to experience the
"exotic", it was not socially well accepted and posed problems. After a
time, some doubted whether his harmonies were intended or the result of
deafness. All of this added to the "revolutionary" aura surrounding the
man. Beethoven became the ideal Romantic role-model : a Self reflected in
all Romantics after him. His 9th Symphony, the sublime presence of an
intense creative outpouring through this God-driven eternal soul,
realizing sensate sublimity exclusively as a subjective, mental object.
Other examples are Peter Tjaikovski (1840 - 1893),
Gustav Mahler (1860 -
1911) & Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949).
Social art : expressive.
51. By stressing
the psycho-social context in which the artist lives & creates, social art
escapes the one-sidedness of realism. A socio-cultural phenomenon, art
serves a social reality.
Leaving the simple harmonizations behind, one
may choose to either make the object or the subject more specific. In the
former case, objective reality becomes a social reality, in the latter, a
personal, idiosyncratic "Lebenswelt".
The "reality" of the artist is still objective, but takes the form of an
intersubjective network. This is viewed in terms of an "idealization" of
the object, namely a perfect social reality. Only in the subtle tensions
between "I" and "not-I", can the "I" fully develop its intimate egology.
The "Rousseauen" ideal of an original state of perfection given to man, is
a ontology of the good society, in which liberty, equality and fraternity
are permanently realized. Spiritual (Hegel) & material (Marx) approaches
of this "goodness" prevail, but the core always involves the expression of
human life in group.
The esthetic object is primordial and appears in a socio-cultural context.
As an organ of this context, art worth of imitation educates its public to
more civility. The "intellectual" & "individual" are excluded. Music
educates its listeners, builds them up to become more able to be socially
In music, social art is the vision of a composer serving society.
A few self-evident examples : Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809), summarizing
pre-Revolutionary Europe, Jacques Offenbach (1819 - 1880), amusing "the
pigs of Europe" (Wagner), the popular Felix Mendelssohn (1809 - 1847) and
Dimitri Sjostakovitsj (1906 - 1975), forced to portray, in agony, the realism of the
Personal art : impressive.
52. Personal art
escapes the one-sidedness of idealism by reintroducing the intimacy &
personal "Lebenswelt" of every creative process. Art is a pathetic
impression of the fleeting moment, an emotional phenomenon.
Choosing to make the subjective more specific and less "idealized",
personal art turns away from the extreme of subjectivism (the idealization
of the subject) by introducing intimacy and the micro-social conditions or
personal environments. The immediate context of experience is what counts,
and great sensitivity is called to materialize the subtle shades & nuances
of any given sensate reality as apprehended by the artist.
Emphasis is on feelings and "pathos". These immediate emotional
impressions are not clean-clear, but interrelated & confused. A cryptic,
closed and impermanent climate arises. This impressive style is indeed
based on first impressions.
In music, highly personal choices are made. Especially melody, being the
most personal of the dimensions of music, is important.
With Franz Schubert (1797 - 1823), apparently unaware of his own genius,
and relying on a close circle of friends to survive (cf. the
"Sangspiele"), the intimate nature of the personal harmonization is
strongly felt. A subtle approach of diatonic modulation is coupled with
the direct, simple personal presence brought about by the song, of which
he wrote more than 600. In music, the human voice is indeed the most
intimate manifestation of personal intimacy as well as the most perfect
For Schubert, the melodic line is primordial. It is articulate, balanced &
complex. The accompanying voices rapidly change key and drive momentum.
Often, they refuse a clear-cut harmonic structure. In one melodic phrase,
many modulations may occur, allowing for very typical & refined melody.
Even in his 9 Symphonies, his "chamber music" approach to composition
persists. After his death, at 31, interest in Schubert was on the rise. He
died as an unrecognized Romantic hero.
By contrast, his contemporary and ideal, Beethoven, was the famous
Romantic hero par excellence, and this during his own lifetime as
well long after. Although Schubert wrote to his idol and both lived in
Vienna, Beethoven apparently decided never to meet Schubert or to answer
his letter. Perhaps he did, and the letter was lost.
Other examples are Frédéric Chopin (1810 - 1849), Franz Liszt (1811 -
1886), the creator of the symphonic poem, and Claude Debussy (1862 -
1918), the father of impressionism, inventing a new approach to harmony
(cf. the None Chord) to redefine melody and orchestration.
Revolutionary art : existential.
art rejects what is at hand and calls for a new reality, one to be turned
over in turn, etc. Art is an abstract representation of constant renewal.
In the tensions between artist & work of art, the quaternio of
harmonic keys (objective, subjective, social, personal), defines the basic
exemplary points of balance. By denial, revolutionary & psycho-dynamic art
both reject these basic conditions, introducing "higher" conditions.
Revolutionary art, seeking to introduce a new reality, goes against the
accepted objective standard of relationships.
In music, revolutionary keys overturn the musical system as a whole.
Rhythm, harmony, counterpoint and orchestration are all affected.
"(...) I promised, as I say, in print to make known
to a certain Theorist of prima practica that in harmony there was
another to be considered, unknown to him, and which I named seconda
Claudio Monteverdi : Letter to an
unknown address, Venice, 22 X 1633.
A few examples : Flemish Polyphonists like Josquin des Prez (1450/5 -
1521) & Orlandus Lassus (1532 - 1594), as well as Renaissance composer
Claudio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643), revolutionized European music and set
the standard. In the same way, Igor Stravinsky (1882 - 1971) and the
dodecaphonic music of Arnold Schönberg (1874 - 1951) introduced the
radical new sounds of the XXth century.
In The Rite of Spring (1913), the use of difficult "primitive"
rhythms is coupled with complex harmonies, extraordinary orchestrations of
unheard coloration and melodies serving momentum.
"... the evolution of no art is so greatly
encumbered by its teachers as is that of music. For no one guards his
property more jealously than the one who knows that, strictly speaking, it
does not belong to him. The harder it is to prove ownership, the greater
the effort to do so."
Introducing atonality, Schönberg eliminated the "natural" harmonic
progressions of one tone to the next. These happen in tune with a
sophisticated harmonic theory, already considerably enriched by Wagnerian
chromatics (as the works of Brahms, Bruckner, Liszt, & Mahler testify).
Making each tone absolute, opened a completely new sonoric world and
influenced well-tempered harmonic theory. This move away from tonal
harmony also lead to alleatoric music & twelve-tone counterpoint, etc.
"When key-consciousness vanished completely and
music became 'atonal', technical unity could no longer emerge from a solid
harmonic groundwork. Quite logically, the attention was focused on the
motif-relationships. Whereas they had formerly been a super-structure
erected above the harmonic groundwork, they now became responsible for the
consistency of the whole edifice."
1940, pp.vii - viii.
Psycho-dynamic art : essentialist.
Pure psychic automatism by means of which one proposes to express, either
verbally, by writing or by any other means, the real functioning of
thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exerted by
reason, beyond every esthetic or moral preoccupation."
Breton, A. : Manifeste du surréalisme,
54. Psycho-dynamic art rejects
the habitual waking state of the artist and delves into the mind to
discover its unique psycho-dynamic mechanism of letting necessity
(measure, determination) & freedom (uncertainty) touch.
Psycho-dynamic art confronts consciousness from within. The empirical ego
is deemed only a fraction of the psyche, and what is called
"consciousness" is likened to a candle flame in a large dark room.
Thought, affect & volition are functions of a consciousness limited from
without by sensate reality and from within by unconscious activity. The
psychic mechanism is the via Regia to an expansion of consciousness
by integrating the various levels of the unconscious, i.e. making them
Historically, the rise of surrealism & dadaism paralleled the radical
rejection of traditional values and beliefs. As the power of the great
religions waned, new visions of spiritual emancipation were conjured using
a mix of poetry, art, mysticism and the occult. The idea of a personal God was rejected for a
mystical force at the heart of every psychic mechanism : objective chance
Does the Divine exist ?, 2006,
Objective chance is not a common coincidence or chance event. It
differentiates itself from the latter precisely because it is the
geometric place of these chance events, a meetingpoint or point of contact
between necessity (of nature) and freedom, between natural & human
necessity. Objective chance is a natural bond between the psychic
mechanism and the universal automatism, between the personal (un)conscious
& the collective unconscious.
For Breton, this wonder is the totality of phenomena manifesting the
invasion of the marvellous in life. It shows chance events are not
"random", but explicate expressions of a deeper, implicate reality,
elucidating the connectivity between the psyche and the cosmos. In the
1930s, depth-psychologist Jung and physist Pauli developed a similar
theory on "synchronicity". When archetypal representations enter
consciousness, their "psychoid" structure splits in two : a conscious
experience (inner) and a synchronistic event (outer). This comes close to
objective chance events.
"But it cannot be predicted in advance when the hit
will come. Could we do so, we would be dealing with a law, and this would
contradict the entire nature of the phenomenon. It has, as said, the
improbable character of a 'lucky hit' or accident that occurs with a more
than merely probable frequency and is as a rule dependent on a certain
state of affectivity."
Jung, C.G. : On Synchronicity, in :
Collected Works, Vol.8 (pp. 969 - 977). Here Jung discusses the
results of the parapsychological experiments of Rhine.
In esthetics, a transformed subjectivity enthrones itself as the essence
of the artist, his or her own-Self. Soul matters, nothing else. The artist
is true to his own psychic mechanism, equipping him to produce art as
marvellous points of contact between the artist and the world (nature and
culture). Objective chance is the stuff of magical realism, the existence
of unexpected & meaningful series of quasi impossible events.
In music, psycho-dynamic art evokes objective chance, mobilizing all six
dimensions of music. Very high or low pitch are not avoided. Rhythms are
complex. Color & dynamics of each note are considered. Both harmony &
counterpoint are fused as to address a variety of moods & momenta. The
composer unlocking the psychic mechanism is a kind of sonic wizard, a
"master of sound".
Richard Wagner, like many other great composers, certainly integrated the
psycho-dynamic key in his work, but the serious, concrete stature of his
Germano-mythic motifs remained dominant and left nothing to chance.
Moreover, although creative genius is always the outcome of discovering
the psychic mechanism, psycho-dynamical harmonization is not necessarily
the sole key used by creative artists.
The essentialist key has no objective expectations and knows how to wait.
In the music of Alexander Scriabin (1872 - 1915), the combination of
mysticism & music was so strong, other harmonizations pale. Building
chords upon chords allowed him unexpected fusions, especially with quickly
changing dynamics and coloration. Seeing sounds as colors, the theosophist
he was, tried to cause illumination in those who listened to his works.
Applying sound as a way to convey higher vibrations, he reached for a
spiritual manifestation brought about by his music.
Another example is Olivier Messiaen (1908 - 1992).
Total art : lyrical.
55. Total art
seeks to dynamically balance object & subject of esthetics, quasi
perfectly equilibrating them, prompting an "eternal" cycle. Art is a
delicate balance between necessity (tragedy) and freedom (drama).
Revolution & dada aim to transform object & subject. But there is still a
subtle preference at work : in revolutionary art, by creating a new
object, and in psycho-dynamic art, by emancipating the subject. By
negating the object, a new object emerges, is solidified in glyphs and
negated, etc. By negating the subject, a better subject emerges, is
mummified by conceptual consciousness and negated, etc. These dialectical
cycles pertain to transformation.
The last two harmonizations try to undo the tensions. Either object &
subject of the esthetic are conceived as part of a totalizing & dynamic
dual-union or a definitive negation eliminating both is sought.
"I never lie down to sleep without reflecting that
(young as I am) I may perhaps not see another day - yet none of those who
know me can say that I am morose or melancholy in society - and I thank my
Creator every day for this happiness and wish from the bottom of my heart
that all my fellow men might share it ..."
Wolfgang Mozart : Letter to his
father, 4 IV 1787.
The esthetic phenomenon as a whole is the object of total art. In every
esthetic judgement, object & subject are present. All options are
investigated in an "epic" kind of way. The artist creates with spontaneous
fluency and each work of art allows the public to encounter again & again
the soul or own-Self of the artist.
Lyricism found a balance between tragedy and drama, between the reality of
sensate objects and the creative power of the artist in tune with his or
her core of being. It always detains a sense of open space, a field of
"all possibilities". It has not need for translations to be understood,
for the esthetic process is transparant.
A comprehensive approach to music happens in the Baroque Opus of
Georg Philip Telemann (1681 - 1767). This gigantic oeuvre evidences great
fecundity, originality, continuity & genius. Outstanding concern for
balance & dynamism and the merging of all aspects of music prevail.
Because of his refined harmony, unusual orchestration & daring
voice-leading, clarity & fluidity are persistent.
The best example of a composer who's melodic, "Operatic" power is
predominant in everything he wrote, is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 -
1791). Moreover, his compositions are very balanced, extremely varied and
also clean-clear. Great care is taken to give every section its share.
Mozart's music can be identified after hearing only a few notes, for the
"seed-cell" of the complete work is present in neary every bar.
Another example is György Ligeti (1923 - 2006).
Magisterial art : comical.
art integrates all former harmonic keys, sublimely contaminates
their contexts, futilizes all styles, transforms every sensate object
into beauty, invites the smile. Art is the perplexing manifestation of
transcendent (infinite) purity into the fabric of the immanent & finite.
With the definitive negation, the multiple tensions between esthetic
object and esthetic subject end. This
analysis eliminates both of the two necessary elements
constituting the esthetic phenomenon apprehended by a conceptual
a non-conceptual, transcendent ground is penetrated.
Sensate objects are designated as functional & efficient fabrications,
productions or displays of the full momentum of
an interdependent becoming without
eternal substance (i.e. empty of
permanent identity or eternalized existence). But, sensate facts refer, so
must the conceptual mind think, to objective preceptive states of our
receptor organs, constituting the conventional ground of science,
characterized by experimental evidence arrived at through testing &
repetitive confirmation (cf.
There is only energy-in-process (cf. Whitehead).
In affective & volitive contexts, consciousness posits mental objects. As
a mental object of itself, it is scrutinized and cleared of ontological
traces. Empirical ego & own-Self, the two foci of the "elliptic" continuum
of consciousness, as well as this continuum itself, depend on the
lightnature of every single mind.
In a comical style, all keys are used but also negated. The artist is no
longer the creator of the work of art, the work of art is the artist and
so art becomes a way of life. Futilization is innocent and non-violent.
This makes true comedy the most difficult form of art.
The limitations of each key become clear at the point of their
transcendence. Then a multi-harmonic approach to beauty is opened, and
every manifestation is an artistic display from the base of all possible
S = O = Ø (or S = P with CI = 1) points to nondual thought (cf.
Intelligent Wisdom, 2007).