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Cemetary with neat lines of headstones.

Beauty and the Noumenal

...the experience of natural beauty, is experience of the noumenal world as it filters through the phenomenal world, and, that in order to secure the experience of natural beauty, the human mind must act passively in receiving its contents and not actively in organising them.

Robert Zimmerman (1963)


I find these woods beautiful. The flower of Nigella damascena. On the way a component of beauty is immediate, and not open to argument. Maybe the photograph can act as a reminder, a pointer to what counts as natural beauty for you. Kant’s suggestions in metaphysics allow him to make a concomitant claim in aesthetics: the subjective experience of beauty in nature Two lambs looking out from behind a tree. A little on the nature of nature. is the experience of a “crack” through which we receive the light. Light streaming in between the trees of a wood. Leonard Cohen’s way of capturing this connection between 'worlds'. A crack in the “veil” which stands between the phenomenal world and the noumenal Bust of Peter Scott at the WWT reserve in southern Scotland. A page on Kant’s concept of what cannot be conceived.
world. An inevitably misleading metaphor A line of sheep passing beside a wood. Metaphors like analogies may mislead us, just as much as they enlighten. no doubt. But it offers a nudge to help us to look from a new viewpoint. A view of the River weed in southern Scotland. Establishing a viewpoint is central to any understanding. This is not the peering through a crack in a wall between two realms, rather it is the removing Fisherman tending his net on Madras beach. Attention requires the stripping away of distracting thoughts. of elaborations, leaving us freer to roam in a world of which we were already part. A Vietnames milestone showing zero miles to destination. That we are already there - there is nowhere to go but here.

The quote comes from his article in the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 21 page 333. The writer is unrelated to other Bobs who have held the same name. Our man was professor of philosophy at Rutgers, the New Jersey State University, during the 1960s, and specialised in Kant, Hegel and Nietzsche.

The photograph is of a path in the Torrachilty woods by Strathpeffer, northern Scotland. Within the large area held by the Forestry Commission there are areas that cannot be cultivated, these have been left to go their own way - not 100% natural (as nothing is in the UK) but with a good degree of freedom for nature to get on, relatively unmolested from day to day by humanity.

Above, hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 15th October 2022

Murphy on duty to this site