WHAT IS BEAUTY? (1.)

Beauty of Plato

Plato = Ancient philosopher of classical Greece. Born in Athens in -428 / -427, died in -348 / -347 in this same city.

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For Plato, if I have not an intellectual knowledge of the essence of the beautiful, I shall not be able to say what is beautiful; It is only by starting from a knowledge of the essence of the beautiful that I can say in experience that such an object is beautiful. And in the « Phaedo » (100 cd) Plato shows that it is beauty in itself that makes such an object beautiful: « But if anyone comes to tell me that what makes a thing beautiful, Is either its brilliant color, or its form, or some other thing of that kind, I leave behind all these reasons, all of which only disturb me, and I simply, simply, and naively hold on to this, Nothing makes it beautiful except the presence or the communication of this beauty in itself or any other way or means by which this beauty is added.

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Beauty eternal, uncreated and imperishable, free from increase and diminution, a beauty which is not beautiful in one part and ugly in another, beautiful only in such time and not in another, beautiful in one respect and ugly under one Another, beautiful in one place and ugly in another, beautiful to them and ugly to them; Beauty that has nothing sensible like a face, hands, or anything corporeal, which is not either a discourse or a science, which does not reside in a being different from itself, in an animal , For example, in the earth, or in the sky, or in anything else; But which exists eternally and absolutely by itself and in itself; Of which all the other beauties participate, without their birth or destruction bringing it the least diminution or the least increase, nor modifies it in any way whatsoever.

The right path of love, whether one follows it from oneself or is guided by another, is to begin with the beauties of this world and to rise The supreme beauty, passing, so to speak, through all the steps of the ladder, from one beautiful body to two, from two to all others, beautiful bodies to beautiful occupations, beautiful occupations to the fine sciences, Until from science to science we come to the science par excellence, which is none other than the science of beauty itself, and that we end by knowing it as it is in itself.

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Paragraphs, copied and translated from the original article in French: » Bibliographie sur la beauté : Platon « . In the site: philo.alcimia.fr
To read the full article click here

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18 réflexions au sujet de « WHAT IS BEAUTY? (1.) »

  1. Y to villains everywhere. In all societies, all countries, all ethnic and all sexes.
    It is the barriers of the democratic system (the true) that stop the bad guys and force them to become nationalist citizens.
    Good night dear friend

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  2. Know well – my dear friend – that you are in the elite. ( Yes you ). Your way of thinking, analyzing, criticizing … does not exist in 80% of the world’s population. I am a university scholar in the humanities, I know that the elites who changed the world, the elites who organized and guided the revolutions, the elites who built the civilizations: the arts of the renaissance were production of the elite Cultural and economic elite; Against the domination of the religious. The French revolution and the independence of the underdeveloped countries are all organized and guided by the cultural and economic elites. The peoples alone can think only of eating, « loving », and praying.☺

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  3. Ping : Hello again…. What is Beauty? | Ms. Shada Burks/ Self Published Author

  4. It doesn’t take an expert to isolate beauty, or define Beauty – that is exactly my point…..it isolates itself, though (I understand what you ask to which I say) the definition of art rests in the medium through which one either projects or perceives it.

    Of course one who’s versed in that medium, is in fact taught to define art – from an inorganic set of instructions – developed and remembered by the intellect rather than discerned by it, or organically drawn from Beauty! Man’s need of tools is so evident in the interpretation of art! Mind you, none of this is a bad thing, or negative it is a matter of debate and discussion that Beauty has evoked.

    The medium teaches certain expertise which only relevant to those society’s taste and understanding – An art critic, or aesthete or else, would not successfully reproduce, define, or elucidate Aesthetics to the Amazonians. Purely because of cultural limitation and conventional restrictive concepts of Western beauty and vise versa … Would Plato have appreciated, ethnic art, digital art, graffiti, Abstract, surreal and decadent art. I don’t think so!

    Not to suggest that beauty, truth or Plato’s ideas should be fixed and inherent, and not subject to change, that would be against nature. The angel of time, and the twists of culture are perpetually forming and reforming object and subject relationship in Art

    It remains that each epoc finds the means to capture impressions that are in a state of flux forming in and out of each other, in a singular instance of motion… that is how supposedly one captures and isolates the Aesthetic (but this is what we are taught), like Plato who was the embodiment of his epoch’s ideals – I love the guy, just some of his ideal are rather exclusive and indeed limiting for this and age therefore not eternally univesal, but some of his thoughts have stood the flings of time, but not the one on Beauty).

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  5. Thank you for your interesting comment.
    I totally agree with you, without being against Plato.
    Receiving beauty, discovering beauty, feeling beauty, valuing beauty, …. are possible for everyone, without exception.
    But, isolating the beauty of its object, analyzing the structure of beauty far from its physical platform, defining the concept « BEAUTY » without using « BEAU » and « LA BELLE » Intellectuals and specialists, including estheticians, professional artists, psychoanalysts, philosophers, ….
    What do you think ? Dear friend

    J'aime

  6. By the way really enjoyed What is Beauty, article? And your pieces were a lovely illustration of that Beauty.

    Actually I was mulling over this very sort of thing, just the other day – to be precise, The Aesthetic (and ‘limitations’ in the interpretation of Art- will post soon). And your page came up, today!

    I have to disagree, totally, with Plato’s requirement for prior « intellectual knowledge [on] the essence of the beautiful, » in order to describe Beauty. And here are my reasons why:

    As pointed out in the article above, Beauty is a pure autonomous essence, which manifests itself in Nature, Art, People, Objects etc. Not subject to any influence, or manipulation – Beauty exists through its own volition. In other words it SPEAKS and represents it self, it doesn’t need Plato’s ‘intellect’, aesthete, or modern day acclaimed art critic to describe Beauty – It’s worthy to note that the intellect is able to merely ‘recreate’ the representation of that beauty from the impressions that it had perceived, and which Beauty had, in the first place, revealed to it, as equally, as it would have formed those very impressions in the peasant, or the labourer.

    Beauty is not meant to be explained by an intellect, it should be universally beheld, appreciated, and contemplated, having form in Human expression, or Nature!

    ‘The essence of beauty’ which is the Aesthetic, is impossible to capture because of its allusive nature, How Plato et el thought that per chance they had dissected and comprehend it, remains to me a deliberate manipulation of the aesthetic.

    Plato must have known full well that beauty is impalpable and its essence is a revelationary, immaterial and powerful force that is indiscriminate, and that which draws no distinction between scholar or maid, mountain or valley.

    Ironically, It is Beauty which captures us, we do not capture it. Its raw and unbound nature is quite the opposite to the boarded and bounded intellect, subjugated by the trapping of conventions – therefore it is sorely unable to accommodate the scope of the aesthetic liberty and its extrapolation would fall short.

    The elite have for centuries dominated, and coveted the art scene, appropriated it for their sole pleasure. Claiming that their refined sensibilities, and delicacies are the only appropriate condition by which to fathom art and therefore it is only fit for contemplation by virtue of lofty society’s [re]creation – as Plato’s limiting and incorrect statement clearly shows in the example of requiring prior ‘intellectual knowledge’ to describe it!
    Thank you for reading.

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