Morality as an aspect of beauty


#1

Is there a universal imperative for morality? If so, can it be argued that moral behavior is an aspect (or component) of aesthesis?

I think so. I think Keats may have had it right too when he wrote:

                            'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all   
                             Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' 

There is very little we can “know” on earth because after all there is so much that is so unknowable–[to name just a handful: the quantum, the vast mysteries of space, the puzzle even of what time is or why it goes forward and never in reverse]-------but one thing we all recognize, even as small children before we know anything else----- and that is a sense of the aesthetic ; for example, the beauty of a sunset, the symmetry of nature, the comfort of the ocean-----and thousands of other things which smack of aesthetics. All these things are recognizable as pleasing to us ----even as infants.

And as for morality------I submit that a disciplined man (or woman), i.e. one who conforms his/her behavior to a set of principles befitting the greater good of his/her fellows is also a “thing of beauty”. That is worthy of appreciation, invoking awe, inviting emulation.

There is a “revealing truth” which arises out of such beauty too. By “revealing truth” I mean a recognition of reality which is revealed “revealed” within the act of appreciation and during a state of awe or captivation of such things------ a sunset, a painting, poem, for example, and, the beauty of a moral life. Hence, beauty is truth and truth beauty. And by, extension, morality is a cosmic truth

Who agrees or disagrees? I welcome commentary.


#2

Yes. Commandment #1.

Also, Psalms chapter 1.


#3

I don’t really follow where you’re deriving truth out of beauty. Can you explain a little further? Will you define what you mean by truth, and what you mean by reality? I understand what you mean by beauty but these other things I’m failing to see the correlation as I understand them.


#4

Yeah, I'm with SighGuy. I don't really see the logic behind yet, but I'm happy to hear you go into more.

btw, Fr. Barrron was talking about this last night on EWTN with Colleen Carroll Cambell. He quoted Hans Urs von Balthasar as saying something to the effect of how as Christians we need to start with beauty and experience, then illustrate how that's good, and from the good derive truth. Beauty --> Goodness --> Truth.

He said too often we approach it from the wrong end, try to bang people over the head with Truth, and then wonder why they run the other way.

Here's an article by him summing it up:
Place Good Link Here


#5

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