Intuition is an unconscious mental process that can erupt into consciousness and manifest as imaginative knowledge. Intuition ignites thought and stimulates emotion, so that it is frequently misconstrued for these mental modalities. Yet intuition’s true existence is something transcending both.
“Scientific research is not itself a science; it is still an art or craft.” – William H. George
As a bridge between theories of truth and ethics, Immanuel Kant was most important in the effort to integrate aesthetics into a cohesive philosophical structure. In his descriptions of beauty assessment, he also attempted to position aesthetics as both subjective and universal. Although legitimatizing the significance of aesthetics in a comprehensive knowledge system, several of his ideas are highly dubious. First problematic is his very narrow definition of an intuition, as referring only to sensation. Second, and more egregious, is his notion that the aesthetic experience is disinterested, occurring while in a non-directed mental state, without purposive desire. To clarify the true nature of the aesthetic experience, these two erroneous ideas are in need of refutation and elucidation.
“The ideas expressed about the “beautiful” were themselves ugly to him, and the ugliness was so deep and pervasive he hadn’t a clue as to where to begin to attack it or try to get around it. It seemed woven right into the whole fabric of Kant’s world so deeply there was no escape from it.” – Robert Pirsig
Although there is no universal agreement on artistic essence, a human-made artifact achieves artistic status to the extent it reveals value, as an event or object recognized for its quality. What all artists seek is excellence, in experience and invention, attainable by adapting an inherited culture to current circumstances and desires.
“Areté is a word that means excellence in character and life. It is the accumulation of virtue in one’s life.” – Tobin Wilson
In a gamut of value assessments, often experience is modulated by thoughts racing to decision outcomes. Perhaps unique amount animals, humans live in the present in anticipation of the future. During many activities, this expectation of potential reduces the appreciation of the present. Aesthetics can help to reclaim the present, by fully experiencing the pleasure opportunity obtainable moment-by-moment.
“In order to have that degree of control over the future, man must first have learnt to distinguish between what happens by accident and what by design, to think causally, to view the future as the present and anticipate it . . .” – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Art as a frame of reference can exceed acculturation. Careful and measured, aesthetics interrogates the nuances of understanding, in a medium that is irreducible to any other idiom. Not only is art able go beyond current cultural awareness, but also can transcend the artist making the work.
“My interest is in experience that is wordless and silent, and in the fact that this experience can be expressed for me in art work which is also wordless and silent.” – Agnes Martin
Joined in spirit
Associated with thinking and cognition, in western philosophy the intellect is the human mind’s facility to reason and understand, especially with regard to abstract knowledge and ideas. Reasoning forms conclusions or inferences consciously from perceptions or premises either by applying first principles or by argument. On the other hand, intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Dynamic quality assessment occurs as a function of intuition.
“There’s a kind of dynamic quality about theater and that dynamic quality expresses itself in relation to, first of all, the environment in which it’s being staged; then the audience, the nature of the audience, the quality of the audience.” – Wole Soyinka
Mathematics is only a language, simply another useful human representational modality. Like all languages, it is an attempt to communicate something about reality, but is not itself actuality. A common perpetrated mistake is that Art considered as data can be reduced to a mathematical language. Art is its own irreducible language, with its own set of capabilities and vulnerabilities. Human capacity for language representation is elastic but vulnerable in its consequence. Humans tend to confuse language with truth. In addition, science is not just mathematics, but rather is a methodology that rigorously tests speculative hypotheses.
“String theory describes energy and matter as being composed of tiny, wiggling strands of energy that look like strings. And the pitch of a string’s vibration determines the nature of its effect.” – Roy H. Williams
Words attempt to describe existence, but are not in-themselves reality. Since the invention of language, the problem of intuition has been massively confused by the use of technical terms in philosophy. A technical term is a word that has an explicit meaning within a specific field of expertise, frequently pointing to a completely different meaning than both that word’s common connotative usage, and even its multiple dictionary definitions (denotation). Technical terms are like jargon, similar to slang used by a certain group or subculture, unknown to the rest of society. For a practicing artist, understanding intuition beyond linguistic obfuscation is important. As mental functions, inspiration, aesthetic response, and quality assessment are all related to intuition. The poetic use of language might also be related to intuition, as an attempt to expand on the expressive capabilities of a modality that is limited in its inherent power.
“Those who do not know the torment of the unknown cannot have the joy of discovery.” – W. I. B. Beveridge
Value equates to taste and judgment when exercising aesthetic dexterity. This ever-evolving capacity refers to the ability to discern an undefinable but recognizable quality evident in an event and its associated essence. All action involves preference distinctions, which depend on a specific standard of evaluation. In the dynamic flux of awareness, individual standards of appraisal are subject to refinement, constructing an increasing level of sophisticated intellectual sensibility.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” – Albert Einstein
Art has the capacity to disclose something about reality, acting as a special conduit to truth. As the first to write a philosophy of art, Schelling was convinced that art has a truth status, in that “all knowledge is founded upon the coincidence of an objective with a subjective,” which are unified through aesthetics. He correlates the objective with nature and the subjective with freedom, and claims that the “basic character of the work of art is that of an unconscious infinity,” a synthesis of nature and freedom. Heidegger is also vested in this proposition as described in his theories of unconcealment and enframing. Each aesthetic interpretation may disclose a characteristic of existence, but at the same time it hides other actuality aspects. To the extent that aesthetics is able to expose that which was otherwise concealed, art is supreme.
“We seek [art] essence in the actual work. The actuality of the work has been defined by that which is at work in the work, by the happening of truth.” – Martin Heidegger