Friday, August 27, 2004

speaking of beauty...

Here's a bit of Bauman discussing the very same:

“In our liquid modern society, beauty has met the same fate suffered by all the other ideals that used to motivate human restlessness and rebellion. The search for ultimate harmony and eternal duration has been recast as simply an ill-advised concern. Values are values in as far as they are fit for instantaneous, on-the-spot consumption. Values are the attributes of momentary experiences. And so is beauty. And life is a succession of momentary experiences.

‘Beauty has no obvious use; nor is there any clear cultural necessity for it. Yet civilization could not do without it,’ Freud mused. ‘This useless thing which we expect civilization to value is beauty. We require civilized man to reverence beauty whenever he sees it in nature and to create it in the objects of his handiwork so far as he is able.’ Beauty, alongside cleanliness and order, ‘obviously occupy a special position among the requirements of civilization.’

[...] It is out of a hunger for beauty that civilizations (that is, the efforts to ‘civilize’, the ‘civilizing’ process) have been born. But far from placating that hunger, they seem to have made it insatiable.”

Zygmunt Bauman, Wasted Lives, p121


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