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Thread: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

  1. #21
    Member R. Eugene Laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    Truth is not always beautiful.
    I'm interested to hear some examples.

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Ever watched a baby with whooping cough?
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  3. #23
    Copper Member Briton's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    A quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Truth is not always beautiful indeed.
    I'm not one to ever pray for mercy
    Or to wish on pennies in the fountain or the shrine
    But that day you know I left my money
    And I thought of you only
    All that copper glowing fine

  4. #24
    Member R. Eugene Laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    Ever watched a baby with whooping cough?
    Quote Originally Posted by Briton View Post
    A quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Truth is not always beautiful indeed.
    Let me offer a prayer that all your children be free of illness, and all your pregnancies be free of complications.

    I have no status to defend Nature against the suffering and seeming injustices that accompany life in our biosphere. I'm living life. I have family and friends. I know what pain and loss are. All I can say here is that my spiritual path calls me to seek the meaning of my life, including the awful things. Many spiritual paths call for seeking the beauty in our suffering. I might add that as a Pagan, I'm not given to call Nature ugly.

    The equation of Truth and Beauty is a traditional philosophical framework that I felt was apropos to the thread, offered here as meditation on how scientists are like artists. The poem I posted earlier in the thread expressed the same theme.

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    Copper Member Briton's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    As a pagan? Describing the behaviour of nature will vary. As a pagan, I would say the complete opposite, that I am prone to point out its ugly side. No offence meant, I just don't think you can make assumptions about anyone using the broad term 'pagan', that one would not call nature ugly if one was to describe themselves so.
    I'm not one to ever pray for mercy
    Or to wish on pennies in the fountain or the shrine
    But that day you know I left my money
    And I thought of you only
    All that copper glowing fine

  6. #26
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Although "aesthetics" is, technically, the philosophy exploring "what is beauty?", it does, of necessity also include the contemplation of "what is ugly?", since no thing can be understood without also understanding it's not thing.

    Beauty is subjective; it changes from one person to another. I appreciate the elegance of an animal skull, others find them morbid.

    Beauty is often created out of ugly; a sunset reflects the quantity of particles in the air (i.e.: pollution).

    Beauty is about relationships between dissimilar things; parasites and their hosts are dissimilar things in an amazingly intricate relationship.

    I could go on and on and on, but I gottses stuff to do.

    However, recogognizing these things does not reduce the immediate affect of one's gut-level response to the perception of beauty; instead, they create additional avenues of appreciating beauty on an intellectual level - as well as through yer bowels.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  7. #27
    Sr. Member Spiny Norman's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Briton View Post
    Truth is not always beautiful indeed.
    The truth can be very uncomfortable some times. Initially, anyway.

    - - - Updated - - -

    A couple of years ago I went to a talk on rainbows at the local astronomy club, which was fascinating. I hadn't realised for example that rainbows make a full circle under the right conditions.
    http://earthsky.org/earth/can-you-ev...e-of-a-rainbow
    Once a man, like the sea I raged;
    Once a woman, like the earth I gave;
    And there is in fact more earth than sea.
    Genesis lyric

  8. #28
    Member R. Eugene Laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Briton View Post
    As a pagan? Describing the behaviour of nature will vary. As a pagan, I would say the complete opposite, that I am prone to point out its ugly side. No offence meant, I just don't think you can make assumptions about anyone using the broad term 'pagan', that one would not call nature ugly if one was to describe themselves so.
    I was expressing personal sentiments that developed as part of my personal Pagan orientation. I wasn't defining Paganism for everyone. I do respect that other adopters of the Pagan label arrive at different sentiments. That's the Nature of Paganism in contemporary, information-rich society, and it's a beautiful thing!

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    Although "aesthetics" is, technically, the philosophy exploring "what is beauty?", it does, of necessity also include the contemplation of "what is ugly?", since no thing can be understood without also understanding it's not thing.
    I'm not convinced of that. If one likes the concept of Beauty as the experience of perceiving Truth, a juxtaposition to conceptual ugliness may not be clarifying. The opposite of a perception isn't a different thing, it's rather a a non-event, something that might happen but hasn't. Further, what might we call the opposite of recognizing Truth when we see it? A missed opportunity? Misunderstanding? Error, perhaps?

    It's not that I don't understand the common parlance or that I don't appreciate the linguistic value of the juxtaposition. I get it, but because I do like the equation of Truth and Beauty, I'm probably more inclined to use different terms to express the more common comparison: maybe ugly vs. pretty, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post

    [examples snipped for brevity]

    ...However, recogognizing these things does not reduce the immediate affect of one's gut-level response to the perception of beauty; instead, they create additional avenues of appreciating beauty on an intellectual level - as well as through yer bowels.
    Do you think there's a meaningful difference between the guttural response and appreciation?

  9. #29
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by R. Eugene Laughlin View Post
    I'm not convinced of that...

    ...Do you think there's a meaningful difference between the guttural response and appreciation?
    OK. I'm disinterested in convincing any body of any thing. For the record, though, there are two basic ways of knowing a thing that often work in conjunction (often, but not always. "Dark Matter" for example) - knowing what a thing is, and knowing what it is not (in art terms, foreground and background).

    No. A gut response is one of many ways of appreciating.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  10. #30
    Member R. Eugene Laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: Does science reduce appreciation of beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    OK. I'm disinterested in convincing any body of any thing.
    Apologies. I wasn't literally asking you to try to convince me of anything. That phrase was intended as a rhetorical lead-in, an alert that an alternative perspective would follow. While a response to the alternative ideas was/is welcome, it was neither requested nor expected. I use question marks to signal that.

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