Aesthetic

Now besides life, knowledge, play, aesthetic experience, friendship, practical reasonableness, and religion, there are countless objectives and forms of good. But I suggest that these other objectives and forms of good will be found, on analysis, to be way or combinations of ways of pursuing (not always sensibly) and realizing (not always successfully) one of the seven basic forms of good, or some combination of them.

The sense of ultimate truth is the intellectual counterpart of the aesthetic sense of perfect beauty, or the moral sense of perfect good.

Mortifications have their reward in a state of consciousness that corresponds, on a lower level, to spiritual beatitude. The artist - and the philosopher and the man of science are also artists - knows the bliss of aesthetic contemplation, discovery and non-attached possession. The goods of the intellect, the emotions and the imagination are real goods; but they are not the final good, and when we treat them as ends in themselves, we fall into idolatry. Mortification of will, desire and action is not enough; there must also be mortification in the fields of knowing, thinking feeling and fancying.

In ethical, psychological and aesthetic matters, to give a clear reason for one’s judgment is universally recognized as a mark of rare genius. The helplessness of uneducated people account for their likes and dislikes is often ludicrous.

Education is not a process that continues for some years and then ends. Education has only one sovereign purpose: to prepare one for more education. All else is subsidiary to this. Education should create hungers - spiritual, moral, and aesthetic hungers for value... The gift of education will be a heart that is whole.

We are here to attempt to give more to this life than we take from it, a task that, if undertaken properly, is impossible. The more we give, the more we get. But that’s the point. We are here to discover, develop and cultivate, in loving stewardship of our world, our neighbors and ourselves. Each of us is intended to grow and flourish within the power of our talents on every dimension of worldly existence: the Intellectual, the Aesthetic and the Moral - the great I Am - in such a way as to find our place in the overarching realm of the Spiritual, the ultimate context of it all. There is more to life than meets the eye. Much is required. But more is offered. We are participants in a grand enterprise, not called upon to consume with endless desire, but rather to care and create in such a way as to free the spirit of this vast creation to love and glorify its creator forever. Why? Because it is good. And that’s good enough for me.

Art is an indecent exposure of the consciousness... Art is not and never has been subordinate to moral values. Moral values are social values. aesthetic values are human values.

Order is light, peace, inward liberty, free command over oneself; it is power... It is aesthetic and moral beauty, it is well-being, it is man's greatest need.

Art and Religion are, then, two roads by which men escape from circumstance to ecstasy. Between aesthetic and religious rapture there is a family alliance. Art and Religion are means similar states of mind.

Nothing sublimely artistic has ever arisen out of mere art, any more than anything essentially reasonable has ever arisen out of the pure reason. There must always be a rich moral soil for any great aesthetic growth.

We need to find a form of life that is valuable in itself. What can make a life meaningful? Candidates for this role need to be worthwhile in themselves and not just means to future ends. They need to treat each human life as an autonomous being-for-itself, not merely a being-in-itself to serve some cause beyond it. They need to satisfy our aesthetic and ethical needs, as being both tied to the present moment and existing across time. And there is no reason why such meaning should not be found in this life and not only in a supposed life to come.

Whatever it is that we value in life – relationships, creativity, learning, aesthetic experience, food, sex, travel – the call to seize the day is the call to appreciate these things while we can and not to put them off indefinitely. Some things require work and time, and often the best choice is not to do today everything you want to do before you die. The true spirit of carpe diem is not to panic and try to do everything now, but to make sure every day counts. The wisdom of carpe diem is that time is short, this is the only life we have and we should not squander it.

Without the worship of the heart liturgical prayer becomes a matter of formal routine; its technically finished performance may give aesthetic pleasure, but the spirit has gone out from it.

The holy is above all aesthetic as well as moral and logical classifications - it is the “wholly other” transcending all worldly values.

Prayer is religion in act; that is, prayer is real religion. It is prayer that distinguishes the religious phenomenon from such similar or neighboring phenomena as purely moral or aesthetic sentiment.

In the highest love between man and woman, or parent and child, as the person reaches the ultimates of strength, self-esteem, or individuality, so also does he simultaneously merge with the other, lose self-consciousness, and more or less transcend selfishness. The same can happen in the creative moment, in the profound aesthetic experience, in the insight experience…and others which I have generalized as peak experiences.

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.

Beyond the logic concerned with things, education must provide the possibility of awakening and cultivating moral aesthetic intuitions. It is the neglect of these higher values that has reduced life to a mere struggle for existence and to the detriment of social and human values in economic and political life.

The Western world is now suffering from the limited moral outlook of the three previous generations. Also the assumption of the bare valuelessness of mere matter led to a lack of reverence in the treatment of natural or aesthetic beauty…

Virtue is as little to be acquired by learning as genius; nay, the idea is barren, and is only to be employed as an instrument, in the same way as genius in respect to art. It would be as foolish to expect that our moral and ethical systems would turn out virtuous, noble, and holy beings, as that our aesthetic systems would produce poets, painters and musicians.