What happens when you take the boron rods out of the nuclear reac- tor of beauty, the rods that restrict beauty mode (German Stimmung) to the human subject? Recall that there is no good reason not to, since Kan- tian beauty just is an object-like entity insofar as it is not-me. I discover in my experiential space evidence for the wrongness of solipsism, and this evidence is called beauty. The beauty of the thing is ungraspable, yet it is somehow “there,” yet not metaphysically there, since I can’t cut a piece out of the thing and say that this is its beauty. Beauty is a quantum, a thing that I can’t slice up, yet it isn’t an atom (a-tomos, “uncuttable”) since it refuses to be a little metaphysically present ball of something. Instead, beauty is a weird coherence between me and a thing that isn’t me, avail- able in me as an object-like entity that again isn’t me, and I can taste it and feel it, but I can’t totally grasp it. This is the same thing as saying that the beauty mode is sad: beauty has a melancholy flavor to it, because of the ungraspability, and this flavor just is an object-like entity, the foot- print of something in me. The necessarily horrible or disgusting proxim- ity of a thing is a condition of possibility for beauty, then, but beauty is a kind of allergy medicine, a sort of vaccine that consists of this disgusting thing in a loop: “Oh happy living things! No tongue / Their beauty might declare,” which is to say, the water snakes in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are unspeakably horrible, or unspeakably beautiful, at the same time (Coleridge, part 4, lines 283–284).
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Beauty Minus Essentialism Is a Pathway to OOO
From the same essay:
Posted by Timothy Morton at 8:51 PM