Beauty is either objectively independent or a subjective affair of personal opinion, or both simultaneously. Sort of like how quantum physics defines light as either a wave or a particle, or both. In the universe, there is always room for some kind of inherent uncertainty. In any case, the feeling that there is something objective about what one finds beautiful, or ugly, cannot precisely be identified.
“If a determination of the feeling of pleasure or displeasure is called sensation, then this expression means something entirely different than if I call the representation of a thing . . . sensation.” – Immanuel Kant
Considering the sum-total of given objects and events identified with nature, it is interesting to ponder their existence outside of sensation and memory. In such cognition, the transcendent use of reason is beyond the bounds of possible experience.
“Nature is the existence of things, insofar as that existence is determined according to universal laws. If nature meant the existence of things in themselves, we would never be able to cognize it, either a priori or a posteriori.” – Immanuel Kant
Along a line
Conditions of existence
Phenomena play across the surface of consciousness, always connected with the perception of external variations. Within such experience, aesthetic feelings offer a progressive staging of unique elements, detected in a fundamental emotion of undulating magnitude.
“Our thought, in its purely logical form, is incapable of presenting the true nature of life, the full meaning of the evolutionary movement. Created by life, in definite circumstances, to act on definite things, how can it embrace life, of which it is only an emanation or an aspect?” – Henri Bergson
Fringe of land
As a kind of aesthetically accessible spirituality, the inexhaustibility of existence implies that perceptual relations always contain hidden potential. Any combination of observable reality is never fully drained by human perception. Kant affirms this principle in his contention of the thing-in-itself as unknowable but nevertheless imaginable.
“The secret of success is to be in harmony with existence, to be always calm to let each wave of life wash us a little farther up the shore.” – Cyril Connolly
Totality of differences
Time is not space
Duration is an absolute existence necessitating that time operates on a different stratum than space. Each of time’s new moments are added to an accumulated past. Progressing forward in this flow, consciousness cannot pass through the same circumstance more than once.
“The universe endures. The more we study the nature of time, the more we shall comprehend that duration means invention, the creation of forms, the continual elaboration of the absolutely new.” – Henri Bergson
In the Middle Ages, progressive philosophers argued that any seemingly miraculous phenomenon is explainable according to natural principles as the result of hidden causes. Much of what passes for knowledge is speculation on the specifics of such concealed realities.
“It is the object of Natural Philosophy to make us acquainted with the various qualities or properties of matter, and the manner in which different masses of it affect each other.” – John Johnston
At the edge
As an ideal and as something to be overcome, nature is differentially treated. Considered simultaneously as a static condition and as a dynamic process of change depending on context, the most commonly assumed human position places the natural world in opposition. Yet, humans are unavoidably included as ingredients of existence.
“Some things are the same both in potentiality and in actuality, but not at the same time or not in the same respect.” – Aristotle
Does the Universe possess an internally or externally assigned function? In his great Socratic dialogue, The Republic, Plato defines virtue as the degree of effective functionality. For example, to perform its appropriate function properly, a knife’s virtue is its sharpness. This delimitation implies that anything that exists without a designed purpose is virtueless. Meanwhile, Plato says natural beauty is closest to the greatest good.
“The Beautiful is not beautiful because of any externally posited function it has, whether beneficial, pleasant, or useful.” – Steven Barbone
An ontological challenge located on the interface boundary is understood in terms of non-inferential sensation response.
“Instead of coming to have a concept of something because we have noticed that sort of thing, to have the ability to notice a sort of thing is already to have the concept of that sort of thing, and cannot account for it.” – Wilfrid Sellars
Outside looking in
The ocean is a sensual object with many real qualities mysteriously hidden. In perception and reception, aesthetics as a subject of inquiry seems agreeably attached to inexhaustible experience.
“The sea is the sweat of the earth.” – Empedocles