Essentials Of Unification Thought - The Head-Wing Thought

II. Art and Beauty

A. What is Art?

Art is the activity of creating or appreciating beauty. The human mind has the three faculties of intellect, emotion, and will, corresponding to which there are different areas of cultural activity. As intellectual activities, there are philosophy, science, etc.; as volitional activities, there are moral conduct, ethical conduct, etc.; and as emotional activity, there is art. Thus, art can be defined as "the emotional activity of creating or appreciating beauty."

Then, what is the purpose of art? The purpose for which God created human beings and the universe was to obtain joy through loving an object. Likewise, it is for the purpose of obtaining joy that human beings create or appreciate works of art as their objects. Therefore, art can also be described as "activity of creating joy through creation or appreciation."

The British art critic Herbert Read (1892-1968) said, "All artists have ... the desire to please; and art is ... defined as an attempt to create pleasing forms." This is in agreement with the definition of art in Unification Thought.

B. What is Beauty?

According to Divine Principle, love is the "emotional force given by the subject to the object," and beauty is the "emotional force returned to the subject by the object." 5 In cases where the object is a mineral or a plant, what comes from the object is a material stimulus, but the subject (human being) can receive it as emotional stimulation. However, there are cases where, even though the object gives stimulation to the subject, the subject does not receive it emotionally. In such cases, the stimulus cannot become an emotional stimulation. The question, therefore, is whether the subject receives the stimulus coming from the object emotionally or not. If the subject receives the stimulus emotionally, then that stimulus becomes an emotional stimulation. Therefore, beauty can be described as "an emotional stimulation that the object gives to the subject." Since beauty is one of the values-along with trueness and goodness-beauty can be expressed in another way as well, namely, as "the value of an object felt as an emotional stimulation."

I have described the emotional force given by the subject to the object as love, and the emotional force given by the object to the subject as beauty. Yet in reality, in the case of human relations, both subject and object mutually give and receive love and beauty. In other words, the object also gives love to the subject, and the subject also gives beauty to the object. The reason is that, 'when the subject and object become united, there comes into being a love that is latent even in beauty and a beauty latent even in love."(" When an emotional force is sent either from the subject to the object or from the object to the subject, it is sent as love, and received as an emotional stimulation, namely, beauty.

In the discussion above, I have given the definition of beauty from the Unification Thought position. In the past, beauty was defined by philosophers in various ways. Plato, for instance, explained the essence of beauty in terms of beauty itself, namely, the Idea of beauty existing in an object; lie also said, "Fineness is auditory and visual pleasure." 7 Kant explained beauty as the subjective purposiveness of an object," or the "form of purposiveness of an object.",, Here, subjective purposiveness means purposiveness without any purpose. This means that, even if an object has no intentional purpose (either objective or subjective), the form of the object is considered as having purposiveness when we feel unity and harmony from it, and this purposiveness is judged as beauty.

C. The Determination of Beauty

How is the flow of beauty determined? About this point, the following explanation is found in Divine Principle.

The original value of an individual body is not latent in itself as an absolute. It is determined by the reciprocal relationship between the purpose of the individual body (as a particular kind of object centered on God's ideal of creation) and the desire of man (as the subject) to pursue the original value of the object... For example, how is the beauty of a flower determined? Its original beauty is determined when God's purpose in creating the flower and man's spontaneous desire to pursue the flower's beauty are in accord with each other-when man's God centered desire to find its beauty is fulfilled by the emotional stimulation he receives from the flower. This brings him perfect joy [at that moment, original beauty is determined]. 9

Beauty does not exist objectively, but is determined through give-and-receive action between the subject, which has the desire to seek value, and the object. In other words, beauty is determined when the subject feels joy through the stimulation received from the object and judges that stimulation as such to be emotional.

D. The Elements of Beauty

Beauty is not something that "exists" objectively but something that "is felt." Some element existing in the object gives the subject an emotional stimulation that is felt by the subject as beauty. Then, what is this element that stimulates the subject emotionally, in other words, what is the element of beauty? It is the combination of the purpose for which the object was created (the purpose of creation) and the harmony of the physical elements within the object. That is to say, when the physical elements, such as lines, shapes, sounds, colors, space are well harmonized centering on the purpose of creation, they give to the subject an emotional stimulation that is felt as beauty. When beauty is recognized as such by the subject, it becomes actual beauty.

Harmony refers to both spatial harmony and temporal harmony. Spatial harmony refers to the harmony in spatial arrangement, and temporal harmony refers to the harmony that is produced over the passage of time. Art forms with spatial harmony include painting, architecture, sculpture, handicraft, and so on. Art forms with temporal harmony include literature, and music, and so on. These two kinds of art are called spatial art and temporal art. Drama, dancing, and the like are regarded as art that is both spatial and temporal. In either case, it is harmony that gives rise to the feeling of beauty.

Aristotle said in Metaphysics, "The chief forms of beauty are order and symmetry and definiteness." 10 Read said, "The work of art has an imaginary point of reference (analogous to a center of gravity) and around this point the lines, surfaces and masses are distributed in such a way that they rest in perfect equilibrium. The structural aim of all these modes is harmony, and harmony is the satisfaction of our sense of beauty." 11 Both agree that the element of beauty is harmony.

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