Friday, January 19, 2007
Ethics and esthetics
Having freshly read Alan Hollinghurst's excellent "Line of Beauty", I began to thing about this strange, complex connection, perhaps more implicit than explicit in the book itself. Of course, I see art as fusion of these two, but I have not regarded them as directly connected in any essential way. It would seem that might be a too hasty conclusion. There is a certain proportion to our mostly tragic, brief and ephemeral fates and actions here, to our wild, unsafe experience, so quickly forgotten. A sense that too fortright ethical conclusions are lacking depth and understanding. In that way it could be said that esthetics have a deep ethical dimension - and vice versa. There are appropriate endings and valuations in the particular contexts and shapes of our passionate lifes that escape any simple ethical conclusions. This to me is not devaluing ethics but the opposite: giving a deeper, more universal moral significance to our scattered, inpermanent persons and actions.