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Monday, March 12, 2012


Freddie J

Biopolitics, great. I thought this blog was about South Dakota politics. Am I missing something here?

Bill Fleming

Yes, Freddie, you are missing a discussion of truth and beauty, two things sorely missing in political discourse of late.

Good topic, KB. In design the notion that "form follows function" is a time honored (if not universally embraced) aesthetic.

Put another way, if something is designed such that it performs its intended function in the most efficient way possible, it almost always results in (what we consider to be) a beautiful form as well.

And then of course, there is Keats:

"O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'"

(Last stanza, "Ode on a Grecian Urn.")

D.E. Bishop

This is really interesting. Thanks KB.

I have a client who is moderately mentally retarded. She can learn. She can count. She can read a little. In my experience with clients with mental disabilities, abstract art is a great divider.

People with lower IQs and diminished life experiences do not like it. Yet this client loves abstract. She is a big fan of art, though her own work is primitive and child-like. I take her to art galleries frequently, and she is enthralled.

I have never had that experience with any of client at her IQ level. I've discussed her affinity with my colleagues, and we are all surprised.

KB, this is the particular part of your post that brought my client to mind:

"Human souls are incredibly complex by contrast. Our ability to appreciate beauty is grounded in (or emerges from) inclinations that were selected for according to their usefulness. They also allow us to appreciate beauty apart from any reduction to usefulness."

Mark Anderson

I would recommend this by Stendhal, beauty is the promise of happiness. It seems the most true.

larry kurtz

you should know that i'm grokin' you on this, kb.

Ken Blanchard

Bill: thanks for the excellent poetry.

D.E.B.: thanks for the marvelous story. I would like to know more about your client because your account confirms some of what I think about the soul.

Mark: I hope that beauty is more than a promise, but I think I get the point.

Larry: Now you have me worried.

Freddie J: South Dakotans are interested in a wider range of topics than are dreamed of in your philosophy.

Bill Fleming

Thank Keats, KB. ;^)

Further exploration along these lines may well include Daniel Kahneman's new book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow."

Here's an overview/review:

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