Blog: Anti-aesthetics

Christine Alfery

Posted on July 25 2021

Blog: Anti-aesthetics

Featured image: Green Apples Wire Basket

How do you think about things? Or better yet, how do you want to think about things? Why do you think that way? Would you like to think that we should all meet in the middle and that the middle is grey, which would make your thinking grey? Or would you like to think that we should all meet in the middle and that the middle is multicolored and all your thinking is multicolored?

If you think in multicolor, do you say to yourself when you don’t understand something, "Well, it is what it is? Things are what they are – let them be." If you do, then your version of multicolor isn't multicolored at all.
Is this the way that you think about art – it is multicolored, and it is what it is?

Then your art isn’t anything at all.

Is your thinking regarding aesthetic like that also?

Let me give you some examples. You are sitting peacefully on the porch with a glass of wine or coffee and watching quietly the sun rise or set. You take many deep breaths and wish that life could always be like this. Is how you are thinking about this peace that you feel, grey or multicolored? Is peace grey?
Or when two crows make a "caw caw caw" racket in the morning and the power of their voices drown out the small bird songs in the forest, and the sound of the hummingbird's wings flying over your head as he comes for his morning drink of water. What is the color of your aesthetic responses to these two aesthetic moments? Grey peace or multicolored possibilities?

The difference between the song of the smaller birds and the song of the crows and the sound of the hummingbird wings is huge. Differences don’t require compromise one over the other – a compromise that eases the conflict between the two aesthetics. But that is exactly what is happening in the arts and in our culture. I call it anti-aesthetics.

Anti-aesthetics happen when distinctions are extinguished, virtues are extinguished, where goals are extinguished, where character is extinguished, where there is no significance between the two. It is like saying there is no difference between the song of the crow and the song of the finches. Of course, there is a difference.

Anti-aesthetics exists. It does nothing and gets nowhere. It is definitely grey.

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