Contra Mozilla

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Quote of the Day: Charles De Koninck on Beauty

I discovered the writings of Charles de Koninck a few years ago thanks to a fellow physicist-philosopher, and suffice it to say that I can't recommend them enough. The Charles de Koninck Project is doing a good work by transcribing and translating his works to English; today I went over to their site and found this post:
The intelligence as such is a certain concrete nature, it is a natural appetite of its proper object, the intelligible. Being, considered as a term of this appetite, has beauty as a transcendental property. That is to say that every being, as an object of intelligence, is beautiful. Consequently, although mathematical being, being only a being of reason, does not at all participate in goodness, and cannot be an object of will, nevertheless it participates in beauty. And thus, like every object of intelligence, mathematical being can be indirectly an object of will insofar as will desires the concrete good of intelligence. In effect, one can distinguish a twofold good of intelligence: the good of the object considered as term of the desire to know for the sake of knowing, which is beauty–pulchrum proprie pertinet ad rationem causae formalis–but it is also the good of the concrete act which entails knowledge in intelligence taken as nature, and this act is an object of will and causes in it this characteristic joy which is as a complement to contemplation. Without being essential to the beauty which is formally in contemplation, delight is a quasi per se accidens. The enjoyment proper to beatitude which consists in contemplation is consequently an enjoyment of the object of intelligence as object of intelligence; this enjoyment, which one can call aesthetic, is the most noble of all pleasures.

All beings--whether beings of reason or real beings--participate in some way in beauty. This makes sense (and yes, it can include the demons, as St Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:14), that anything which is is beautiful, that it can be contemplated and appreciated for its beauty. Even the pagan philosophers recognized this (notable, Aristotle), though it took Christianity to show that this beauty ultimately points back to God, that while contemplation is among the highest acts of man qua man even here, that contemplation is elevated when it turns to God in prayer. It is further elevated in the next life, when it turns to the contemplation of God "face-to-face" in heaven.

And just as beauty in this life can be distorted (again, think of Satan, but think also of smut), so too do I think it will be distorted in the next life for those in Hell. They may contemplate God in fear and loathing, and do their own misery is increased by this loathing, this inescapable beauty upon which their backs are forever turned. Perhaps Hell is the realization that the heart's greatest desire is right there, behind you, but the inability to ever see it when you turn: always behind you, never before you.

An in related news, the Dominicana blog (St Joseph Province) has a post about modern music and heresy:
With this in mind, we return to the driver’s seat. When listening to popular music one is often most struck by the euphoria-inducing dance beat. It seems that much of the music played on pop stations is composed/generated/programmed with the intent that one dance to it at a club. Frustrated in such a pursuit, I find myself relegated to fist-pumping. And yet, when one goes in search of the other elements typically associated with music (melody, harmony, lyrics, etc.), the pursuit is many times in vain. The profusion of DJ mashups testifies to the fact that it is indeed possible to cut a record having only played four chords, and the staggering amount of forced and awkward rhyme (Yes, “man” does rhyme with “man”) makes evident a clear disassociation of modern music from substantive poetry. For example, take a song popular about four years ago: Apologize by Timbaland featuring OneRepublic. In the song, the primary artist’s sole contribution are the syllables “Eh, eh, eh” repeated some two dozen times to the exact same three notes at strategic points throughout. I note the phenomenon merely to suggest that musicality is no longer the primary criterion for the production and consumption of pop music. Where then can the casual listener turn the dial for solace?

We do get glimpses of heaven on earth--and Hell also.

No comments:

Post a Comment