Page 1

45th UNIVERSITY CONGRESS – ROME 31 MARCH - 8 APRIL 2012

UNIV Forum 2012 PRESENTATIONS ______________

COMUNICACIONES Forum UNIV 2012 UNIV Forum Scientific Committee • Universidad de Navarra


UNIV Forum Scientific Committee, Pulchrum: the power of beauty. UNIV Forum 2012 Presentations / Pulchrum: el poder de la belleza. Comunicaciones Forum UNIV 2012, Universidad de Navarra, 2012 Š UNIV Forum www.univforum.org


The UNIV Forum is a forum on the principal questions affecting the human person and contemporary society: it is a place for communication and academic debate. Created in 1968, the Forum is currently enjoying its fifth decade of service to university students. The goal of the UNIV Forum is to help students perceive their studies not only as a time of intellectual learning but also as a means of personal dedication to the bettering of society. Among other activities, participants of the forum (most of them freshmen or sophomores), under the direction of a professor, may submit a presentation on the proposed theme for that year. This book contains a selection of the papers delivered in 2012. El Forum UNIV es un foro de diálogo sobre las principales cuestiones que afectan a la persona y a la sociedad de nuestro tiempo: un punto de encuentro para la comunicación y el debate universitario. Creado en 1968, cuenta ya con más de 40 ediciones. Con esta iniciativa se quiere sensibilizar a los universitarios para que sean capaces de valorar esos años de estudio como un tiempo no sólo de aprendizaje intelectual, sino también de compromiso personal en la mejora de la sociedad. Entre otras actividades, se puede participar en el Forum UNIV elaborando, bajo la dirección de un profesor, una comunicación sobre el tema propuesto para cada año. El presente libro recoge una selección de las comunicaciones presentadas en 2012, la mayoría realizadas por estudiantes de primeros cursos. UNIV Forum Scientific Committee Universidad de Navarra


TABLE OF CONTENTS ÍNDICE Heidegger Meets Newton. Sciencie and the Recovery of Beauty (Oxford University, UK) .............3 Beauty in the old and the sick: A three-part pilot study (University of Asia and the Pacific, Philippines) ....................................................................................................................................16   "Changing beauty for naughty”: systematic review of the effects of media sexual content on adolescent sexual behavior (Universidad de Navarra, Spain).......................................................30   We live in a perfect world: beauty as a trascendental property of being (University of Warsow, Poland) ..........................................................................................................................................42   Pulchrum and Medical Aesthetics (Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain)...........................................49   Cerebro. Música. Emoción. (Universidad de Navarra, Spain) .......................................................59   The integration of art with the Catholic Church (The Heights School, USA) .................................72   El valor existencial de la belleza en el Banquete de Platón (Universidad de Navarra, Spain) ......78   Painful art as a discourse with the Other: Comparing aesthetic moves in van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross and He Qi’s Carrying Cross (National University of Singapore) .....................88   Beautiful Art: Escapism, A Deeper View of Reality, Or A Necessity For Man? (The Heights School, USA) .................................................................................................................................92   A Study of Colorism in the Philippines. Effects of Media Promotion of Whitening Products in the Country (University of Asia and the Pacific, Philippines) ...............................................................99   Arquitectura y belleza: hacia un mundo más humano (Universidad de Navarra, Spain) ............107  


HEIDEGGER MEETS NEWTON. SCIENCIE AND THE RECOVERY OF BEAUTY

Pinkoski, N. Marsland, R. Oxford University Supervisor: Teh, N. Oxford University (UK)

ABSTRACT The traditional narrative of the loss of beauty in the modern world places much of the blame on the shoulders of modern science and technology. Focusing this critique through the thought of Martin Heidegger, we show how technological thinking attempts to alter the human way of being in the world. If beauty is still possible at all, it seems that it must rebel against technology and give up all that has been accomplished in the Baconian project of the “relief of man’s estate.” But through closer attention to the role of beauty within science, we conclude that despite the abuses it has made possible, science itself is not an enemy of beauty. Rather, it is a powerful force for the recovery of beauty and an authentic understanding of human existence. INTRODUCTION When we first grow conscious of the world we inhabit, how does the world show itself to us? If in the words of Flannery O’Connor, we “pay attention to the sky,” what do we discover? Terence Malick’s 1978 film Days of Heaven intimates an answer. On a farm in the American Midwest, the young girl Linda who has fled the ferocity of early 20th century Chicago places her head against the earth, and listens. This simple act allows her and the viewer to experience all the movements of the field: the sound and touch of the wind blowing across the prairies, the rumble of the ground from nearby horses and the birds flying through the sky. It is not a single object that is experienced by this act of paying attention, but the whole world around her. By putting her head to the ground, Linda sees her own being not as something isolated, but as a being-in-the-world. She discovers that in her basic existence she is not involved with a particular object, but is involved with the totality of reality that cannot be objectified. Her life cannot be separated from the world in which she lives: indeed without the world her life would be impossible. The modern way of living in the world, emphasizing a technological and scientific understanding as the ultimate reality, conceals the primacy of this experience, dramatically affecting how we understand our own being, the world, and beauty – we have come to think that there is no alternative. Yet there is. In this paper, we will first attempt a rough sketch of an alternative understanding that takes as its starting point Martin Heidegger’s insight into our fundamental condition as beings in the world. This perspective on our existence makes possible

3


a robust account of the meaning of beauty and its link with goodness and truth, and provides a powerful critique of the technological worldview. It lends great importance to the fruitful interplay between our rationalized representations of the world and the unfathomable depth of the reality that is represented. We will go on to show that the claims of science to capture ultimate reality fail on their own terms by eliding this key distinction between the representation and the represented. Finally, we will see that scientists themselves do take this distinction seriously – that it is in fact the key to good science, and also provides an avenue to the rediscovery of a beauty founded in truth. HEIDEGGER’S CRITIQUE Recovering this meaning of human being, as a being-in-the-world, was one of the projects of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy for overcoming a philosophical tradition that preferred to focus on a subject-object dichotomy, imagining “us” and “world” as ontologically separate. It allowed him to examine art in a highly original way. Heidegger suggested that if we are living in the world before we are speculating about entities in the world, a world in which practice precedes theory, then art originates out of how we make our practices meaningful. For practices to give meaning to a community, they must be held up to the practitioners themselves as a story they can tell themselves about themselves.1 Before that moment the practitioners might not, as it were, be paying to attention to the sky. The meaning of their practice might be hidden. According to Heidegger, art “opens up a world,”2 enabling the reflection upon our own practices to give meaning and purpose to the life of our community, telling us where and who we are, and what we have to do.3 A good work of art collects scattered practices and unifies them for collective action, so that all practitioners now relate to each other in terms of that common understanding.4 Heidegger’s example of art opening up a world is the Greek temple: It is the temple-work that first fits together and at the same time gathers around itself the unity of those paths and relations in which birth and death, disaster and blessing, victory and disgrace, endurance and decline acquire the shape of destiny for human being. The all-governing expanse of this open relational context is the world of this historical people. Only from this expanse does a people first return to itself for the fulfilment of its vocation.5 This invitation to fulfil one’s vocation suggests that art provides an ethos for the moral and metaphysical orientation of a civilisation: moral, because it tells the people the proper way to live, and metaphysical, because it offers a cosmological vision dividing the world between earth inhabited by men and sky inhabited by gods.6 But the temple’s centralization of practices into a definite form is not the whole of reality. The representation can never wholly articulate what it attempts to represent, which always Dreyfus, Herbert, “Heidegger on the connection between nihilism, art, technology, and politics,” in The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, ed. C. Guignon, 2nd Ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2006), pp. 345-372, 353.

1

“Towering up within itself, the work opens up a world and keeps it abidingly in force.” Martin Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” in Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstader, New York: Harper and Row (1971), pp. 15-86, 44.

2

3

Young, Julian, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Art, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2001), p. 29.

4

Dreyfus, 354.

5

Heidegger, 41.

6

Young, 24.

4


remains in a certain sense unfathomable.7 The resistance of unintelligible and concealed is what Heidegger calls “earth;”8 it defined by its constrast to the presentation of a meaningful horizon of existence, for which he reserves the term “world.”9 Good art enables us to pay attention to the “earth” by initiating us into a “world.” It substantiates a particular way of being within the outlined horizon, giving meaning to certain practices and values. Without this horizon, there would be no values foundationally held in common, and the “earth” could not be noticed. But good art also resists efforts to be reduced to these values, to suppose that this particular way of looking at the world is all there is. If great art is to initiate us into truth, it must displace such forgetfulness of “earth” by evincing the “extraordinary awesomeness” of what is beyond the horizon.10 It must reveal the holy, prompting a response of awe and reverence in the face of an infinite mystery.11 Acknowledging art as inherently mysterious means no interpretation can ever fully capture the meaning of the work despite the need to make it meaningful.12 It is this struggle between “world” and “earth” that discloses truth.13 Therefore, good art, in presenting this struggle, fulfils its foundational task in unconcealing truth.14 We have mentioned the place of morality and the place of truth. Yet we have not mentioned beauty. Surely the Greek temple is beautiful? Where does beauty stand in this account of the work of art? In certain features of the piece? In the measure of man? But recall that our account sought to avoid speaking in terms of the subject-object distinction in favour of the more foundational way of being. So we must look over our account again to see where beauty shows itself. The closest we have come to mentioning beauty is when we spoke of “good” art. Where art is good, we encounter beauty. This suggests that beauty is not naturally separated from goodness; just like the Greeks, we would use the same word kalos to describe what is noble, good, praiseworthy and beautiful. If the good and the beautiful are intimately related in a work of good art, then beauty is also closely related with the foundation of art: truth. Beautiful, good art happens when representation successfully unconceals a hidden truth while maintaining reverence for the underlying mystery.15 For example, a great medieval altarpiece discloses a cosmological truth that requires a beautiful form to express it, 16 but contrary to charges of idolatry, has as its purpose to be a visible sign pointing at an invisible mystery.17 Indeed the entire 7

Ibid., 40.

Note that the earth is not simply corresponding to the hidden, nor the world simply corresponding to the open. “But the world is not simply the Open that corresponds to clearing, and the earth is not simply the Closed that corresponds to concealment.” Heidegger believes every world is a decision that rests upon “something not mastered, something concealed, confusing:” this is the earth rising up. “The Origin of the Work of Art,” 53.

8

“By the opening of a world, all things gain their lingering and hastening, their remoteness and nearness, their scope and limits.” Ibid., 44.

9

10

Ibid., 65.

11

Young, Julian, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Art, 42.

12

Dreyfus, 356.

“Setting up a world and setting forth the earth, the work is the fighting of the battle in which the unconcealedness of beings as a whole, or truth, is won.” Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,”54.

13

“The actual reality of the work has been defined by that which is at work in the work, by the happening of truth.”Ibid., 56.

14

15

“Beauty is one way in which truth occurs as unconcealedness,” Ibid., 54.

16

Young, Julian, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Art, 14.

“It stands as a visible sign of the invisible God, to whose glory these spires rise like arrows pointing towards absolute light and to the One who is Light, Height and Beauty itself.” Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI at the Mass of dedication of the Church of the Sagrada Familia, during the Apostolic Journey to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona (7 November 2010).

17

5


building, with spires pointing up toward the heavens, reflects its ontological purpose as a sign of heaven. In the medieval cathedral, as in any great work of art, beauty, goodness and truth all come together to make manifest a world in which human beings may act meaningfully. But as there can be meaningful ways of being-in-the-world, so there can be meaning-less ways of being-in-the-world. These are the ways of nihilism. We said that the struggle between world and earth, the struggle between the need to organize practices and setting forth mystery forms the essential spirit of good art. Yet if the attempt to set forth mystery is abandoned, then we are left only with a way of being-in-the-world that celebrates efforts to get everything under control.18 The past 500 years of Western history have witnessed this shift in how we approach the relationship of truth, goodness and beauty. The medieval model focused on truth, goodness and beauty uniting in the mystery of our being-in-the-world. But this was challenged by a modern project designed for what Francis Bacon called the “relief of man’s estate:” controlling the natural world to alleviate human suffering and misery. Truth now derives by measuring our success in controlling and directing an object, not by our receptivity to mystery. Reality is now defined as an object meant for our use.19 The more we focus on controlling objects, the better we are. The effort to control objects through technological development becomes an end in itself. These trends are reflected in art. Here, beauty has not been formally banished, but the focus on objects instead of worldliness means that every work of art is decontextualized from any relation it may possibly have.20 Philosophers of art begin to focus on sensations and feelings associated with the subject (as Kant did) or on the act of the creator (as Nietzsche did). And what of the work of art itself? They become art “pieces,” and all these have left for calling beautiful are formal, abstract qualities. As trends in 20th century abstractionism show, art that believes beauty is in geometry will end up painting squares. Even if called beautiful, art of this sort can have no relation to the good, as it does not call us to live in a certain way. Nor can it set forth mystery because it makes no effort to represent the world.21 Beauty as formality and technological development as an end in itself make for a particularly sinister combination, shown during the debate over developing the Hydrogen Bomb in the early 1950s. Nuclear physicist J.R. Oppenheimer opposed efforts to design such a bomb on moral grounds. But when a new design was proposed, Oppenheimer withdrew his opposition, “remarking that the new design was ‘so technically sweet’ — i.e., so ‘beautiful’, that it had to be done.”22 His moral experience, however, offered a different narrative: one where he becomes “death, the destroyer of worlds.”23 Oppenheimer exclaimed that designers who looked upon the detonation of their atomic bomb could have seen nothing else than their own wickedness: “the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.”24 Here we have two dramatically different ways of experiencing beauty offered by the same human being. In one, the technological development is beautiful because it works through certain formal qualities; in the other, it is ugly because it is a moral catastrophe. Those who say that our 18

Dreyfus, 357.

19

Ceasar, James, Reconstructing America, New Haven: Yale University Press (1997), 191.

20

Young, 9.

21

Ibid., 168.

Quoted in Philip Anderson, Some Ideas on the Aesthetics of Science, Nishina Memorial Lecture, Keio University Tokyo (May 18, 1989).

22

Quoted in “Interview about the Trinity explosion” in The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1965), produced by Fred Freed, NBC White Paper.

23

Oppenheimer, O.P., Physics in the Contemporary World, Arthur D. Little Memorial Lecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (November 25, 1947).

24

6


efforts at controlling the world through technological development are simply a natural extension of our primary way of living in the world have a lot of explaining to do here. The experience of the technological age seems to have shifted the very way we understand ourselves as beings-in-theworld and therefore the very way we apprehend beauty, and if it is true that our essence is beingin-the-world, then what we are really asking is how the technological age changes the human being. The essence of the technological age is one of efficiency for its own sake; even its supporters would agree. Computers become faster and faster not because we have a specific goal in mind, but simply because this may be useful to some future planner. Infrastructure projects run on the same principle, harnessing nature’s energy for future projects. Heidegger understands what this essence of efficiency entails: The hydroelectic plant is set into the current of the Rhine. It sets the Rhine to supplying its hydraulic pressure, which then sets the turbines turning. This turning sets those machines in motion whose thrust sets going the electric current for which the long-distance power station and its network of cables are set up to dispatch electricity . . . the energy concealed in nature is unlocked, what is unlocked is transformed, what is transformed is stored up, what is stored up is, in turn, distributed, and what is distributed is switched about ever anew. In the context of the interlocking processes pertaining to the orderly disposition of electrical energy, even the Rhine itself appears as something at our command.25 Technology promises to bring everything under our control: nature, civilisations, human beings. It is the one regime to rule them all, binding all mankind under its order. It commands that man himself be viewed as an object of production, to be produced according to a given end. The ends are defined without any sense of human being as a meditative being; man’s mind is restricted to calculative thinking meant to serve his instincts. The instinctual ends are satisfied through the deconstruction and reconstruction of the human being, in both practical intention and theoretical imagination. In practical intention, the gates are thrown open to the biological construction of new human types. In theoretical imagination, the project to satisfy instinct crowns itself the king of philosophy and queen of the sciences under the name of utilitarianism. It is a Novus Ordo Saeculorum—a new order of the ages, and its original proponents point to how ambitious and comprehensive the new order shall be. Consider the changing character of language. Jeremy Bentham desired to alter all use of language so that it would only convey images of perceptible things, leaving all else to the domain of “nonsense.” Following his example, modern economic society recasts the English language for the purpose of technical communication, which cannot but have dramatic effects on the way we view our being. For example, students are increasingly subject to the concept “networking.” This is meant to be a description for their act of socializing with fellow students and colleagues. The concept carries with it the command that they make manifest their economic utility to one another so one can know who is the most useful to one’s ends. This now becomes the principle way of being in society, the primordial relation between strangers at parties, conferences and other events. But the use of this new concept carries with it a dramatic change in our horizon. There was once a time when the primordial human experience of socializing, forming friendships based around a shared vision of the good, was given the prominence of place. Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics contains only one book on justice, but two on friendship. Yet friendship is now secondary to this new way of manifesting our being in the world. One will find many books on networking and business relations in your local bookstore, but very few books on friendship. The House of our Being has changed to accommodate the commands of the technology king. But this does not Heidegger, Martin, “The Question Concerning Technology,” in The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt, New York: Harper & Row (1997),16.

25

7


change the fact that this king has reduced the ratio of humanity to the impulse of animality.26 Beneath its purple robes lies a fabricated being programmed to serve the instinctual. To this creature, beauty can have no meaning but sensation. It is a reign premised on nothing less than the extinction of the spirit, leaving nothing but the living dead.27 How far this is from paying attention to the sky! Yet some still do. Careful persons are daring enough to place their ear to the ground and listen. When they rise again the technological world looks alien, and they ready the resistance against the order that would suppress the earth for the sake of a fabricated world. We could prepare to do battle, as some of the deep ecological movements are ready to do, ready to be anti-technological. We could join the anti-globalization movements and combat consumerism. But once again Heidegger counsels. The problem with technology is not with specific technologies or specific practices, but with a technological understanding of being that fails to grasp the relationship among beauty, truth and goodness. The real danger is that “calculative thinking may someday come to be accepted and practiced as the only way of thinking.”28 The threat is not a problem demanding a solution, but an ontological condition transforming our understanding of being.29 If this is the case, then we need to reexamine the direction technological discourse has taken and see if the banishment of mystery, the expulsion of “earth,” is really inevitable. NEWTON AS IDOL We have seen how the technological domination of the world in the modern age has divorced truth from beauty and goodness, and elevated calculative rationality above our receptivity to moral responsibility. As we have already hinted, this transformation in our way of living has grown in tandem with a transformation in our way of thinking, one which acknowledges only the rationalized, conceptualized “world” as real, forgetting completely about the underlying mysterious “earth.” This shift in thinking is not due to modern science as such, although it is made easier by the technological power science gives us. Good science actually demands a respect for the unfathomable “earth,” and can only flourish when it explicitly recognizes the character of its models as human artefacts, designed to present the world in a particular way for a particular purpose. But in order to see how science itself can lead us back to an awareness of the “earth” behind the “world,” and so to a rediscovery of beauty, we need to take a closer look at the rationalistic vision that science is commonly taken to promote. The abandonment of “earth” was already well underway in the time of the famous 18thcentury poet and artist William Blake. Blake saw quite clearly the immense threat posed to humanity by the obsession with Newton’s mathematical physics as the uniquely true representation of the world. In his famous monotype depiction of Newton, he represents him as a god, constructing the universe with his paper and compass. Blake’s Newton sits beyond the accidents of history and human society, dominating the world with the pure light of reason. This vision is still shared, at least implicitly, by much of contemporary Western society. Self-proclaimed heroes of reason like Richard Dawkins have set themselves up as prophets of this vision, promising that a perfectly rational, mathematical reconstruction of the universe is within our grasp. This promise relies in large part on the work of theoretical physicists, who keep discovering ever-deeper mathematical unity at the lowest levels of matter. This sort of work 26

Ceasar, 194.

27

Ibid., 194-95.

Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, trans. by J.M. Anderson and E.H. Freund, San Francisco: Harper and Row (1966), 56.

28

29

8

Dreyfus, 361.


captures the imagination of our technological culture, as expressed for example in a recent article by MIT physicist Alan Lightman for Harper’s Magazine: The underlying hope and belief of this enterprise [fundamental theoretical physics] has always been that these basic principles are so restrictive that only one, selfconsistent universe is possible, like a crossword puzzle with only one solution. That one universe would be, of course, the universe we live in. Theoretical physicists are Platonists. Until the past few years, they agreed that the entire universe, the one universe, is generated from a few mathematical truths and principles of symmetry, perhaps throwing in a handful of parameters like the mass of the electron. It seemed that we were closing in on a vision of our universe in which everything could be calculated, predicted, and understood.30 The success of the grand vision of a rational reconstruction of nature lies in the hands of these physicists, and is supported by their steady progress in rooting more and more of what we know about the physical world in a few seemingly self-evident mathematical principles. Some of these physicists self-consciously see their work as directed towards this ultimate aim. A little later in the article, Lightman interviews his fellow physicist and noted cosmologist Alan Guth, who tells him The reason I went into theoretical physics is that I liked the idea that we could understand everything—i.e., the universe—in terms of mathematics and logic.31 But Lightman presents these claims in the past tense, because science itself is beginning to show how this vision is fatally flawed. Blake understood these flaws clearly, and displayed them in his art. Although Blake’s Newton appears at first sight to be a god, charting out the true structure of the universe, he has in fact locked himself into a rather pathetic, narrow-minded isolation. He seems to be sitting at the bottom of the sea, removed from all the rich and living vibrancy of the world. Even there, in the depths, shrouded in darkness, the rock he sits on is covered with a remarkable variety of living things – corals, algae, etc. He is oblivious to all this, however, and focuses all his attention solely on the picture he is projecting from his own mind. Blake’s Newton (although arguably not the real Newton, as we will see below) falls into the narcissistic mistake of regarding his mental reconstruction as more real than the “earth” that underlies it. This fallacy quickly makes good scientific theories incoherent, and it is impossible for it to persist long when its implications are actively pursued in the context of a flourishing empirical science. Recent advances in theoretical physics and philosophy of science have unwittingly begun to undermine the foundations of this persistent error. Lightman locates the origin of this collapse in a combination of string theory and the new Multiverse hypotheses in contemporary cosmology. String theory shows that there is a nearly unlimited number of mathematically and logically possible ways that the laws of physics could have been, and the multiverse hypothesis holds that all these possibilities are actually realized in unobservably distant reaches of the world. The fact that our own part of the universe obeys certain general laws turns out to just be a random accident, and not something deducible from logic or mathematics. But these hypotheses in particle physics and cosmology only uncover one aspect of the problem. The other three pillars of physics—quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and general relativity—are also beginning to reveal the radical insufficiency of a world-view that replaces reality with our mathematical reconstruction. When applied to the universe as a whole, quantum mechanics forces us to conclude that all conceivable histories of the universe are Lightman, Alan, “The accidental universe: science’s crisis of faith,” Harper’s Magazine, Dec. 2011, <http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/12/0083720>.

30

31

Ibid.

9


physically possible. Some philosophers respond by holding that all these histories are actually realized, in a deeper sort of multiverse, while others hold that a single history is somehow picked out by random chance. Although much has been written in an attempt to explain why we should still strongly expect that our own world-history is part of a narrow set where the outcomes of quantum experiments turn out to produce the statistics that have actually been observed, it is still unclear whether any of these explanations succeed, and the theory lies in grave danger of undermining its own empirical foundations.32 A similar problem arises even in classical statistical mechanics. Statistical mechanics in its most primitive form seeks to explain all the irreversible thermodynamic phenomena we see around us, such as your coffee cooling down when it’s left out for too long, in terms of the billiardball collisions among the molecules that make it up. The explanation initially seems quite simple, for it can be shown that if the molecules in your coffee are equally likely to be arranged in any of the states consistent with the macroscopic characteristics (like temperature) that you observe, then it is overwhelmingly more probable for your coffee to cool down than to spontaneously suck heat out of the room to warm itself up. But if we want the mathematical description of the molecules of the coffee to be the uniquely true representation of reality, we need to make this notion of probability more precise. It turns out that there is no consistent and empirically adequate way of doing this without invoking a probability of universe-histories.33 But this brings us back to the same problem of defining what we mean by a universe-probability. Normally we find out what probabilities are by observing the relative frequencies with which different outcomes occur, but there is no way even in principle to do this with the entire universe. Finally, Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity has generated an enormous literature on a problem known as “the hole argument.” In this case, the effort to elevate the mathematical vision of the world to the status of ultimate truth demands that the points of spacetime be regarded as the ultimate entities in the universe. The theory treats all other physical phenomena as reducible to the dynamics of physical fields, which are defined as properties of these points. But it turns out to be a logical consequence of General Relativity that no law of physics could possibly determine what the field values are at any given point, even if the field values are known everywhere else in the whole history of the universe except for a small neighbourhood (“hole”) around the point.34 The laws of physics do guarantee that the set of field values in this neighbourhood will be a member of a certain restricted class of such sets, but to regard these classes as representing the fundamental entities requires a significant revision in how we think about the theory. An attempt has been made at this sort of revision, but significant doubts have been raised about its prospects for success.35 Various solutions have been proposed for all these paradoxes, which we have not had time to present here, and it is possible that some of them may succeed. But this brief survey of the problems confronting an absolutist vision of physics strongly suggests that Blake’s Newton has run his course. It is precisely through five of its most active areas of current inquiry that modern

For a summary of these attempts and some of the main objections, see Simon Saunders et al., Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010).

32

For a powerful and readable argument for this position, see David Albert, Time and Chance, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (2000).

33

Originally noticed and resolved by Einstein itself, this was resurrected as a distinctly philosophical problem by John Earman and John Norton in their article, “What price spacetime substantivalism? The hole story,” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 28:515-25.

34

For a more detailed discussion of this and related responses to the argument, see John Norton, “The hole argument,” in E. N. Zalta (Ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2008 edition, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spacetime-holearg/.

35

10


physics displays the fundamental incoherence of the desire to have world without earth, reason without mystery, representation without reality. NEWTON AS MAN There is another way of reading Newton, however, which leaves room for the humble receptivity characteristic of aesthetic experience, and indeed makes science itself into an adventurous and creative aesthetic project. Princeton philosopher Bas van Fraassen has recently produced a thorough exposition of this alternative view, taking as his starting point the recognition that the mathematical models of our physical theories are human artefacts, which only represent the world because we use them to represent the world.36 The goal of physics is to investigate the deep connections among various quantitative aspects of our experience and to find apt representations for making these hidden connections manifest. The currently accepted theories in cosmology, particle physics, quantum mechanics (including quantum electrodynamics), statistical mechanics (including condensed matter physics) and relativity are all successful precisely because they accomplish this goal very well. The crippling paradoxes that philosophers have found in each of these five branches tend to spring from the desire to use them as constituting a complete explanation of the world, as opposed to a representation constructed to highlight some interesting aspects of the world. If we view the theories from the latter perspective, some of the problems never arise at all (since we are no longer trying to explain why the world has to be the way it is), and some can be resolved by making use of concepts that lie outside the theory, but are necessary to make sense of representations (like the concept of self-location within a representation). This approach also shows why older theories like Newtonian physics and classical electromagnetism that have been superseded by more accurate ones are still taught in science classes and used by working physicists. All successful physical theories from the history of modern science were successful because they represented nature in a way that revealed some genuine and interesting quantitative relationships. Even if the representation only captures these relationships to a good approximation, and only applies in a limited domain, it can still prove useful by revealing these relationships more clearly than a more accurate but more complicated theory. As Nobel-prize winning physicist Phillip Anderson has pointed out, this goal bears a close resemblance to the goal of art discussed above, which likewise attempts to depict the world in a particular way so as to bring to light some important truth that was formerly hidden. Both physics and art accomplish this by situating the piece of the world under study within a broader context through multiple layers of cross-reference and analogy, while giving the depiction a simplicity and rational harmony that enables it to be effectively used, comprehended, and held in one’s memory.37 One of the best examples of this in physics is the harmonic oscillator model – the “mass on a spring.” One thing every physics student learns very early on is that most things in nature can be usefully represented as a mass on a spring. The spring is presumed to obey Hooke’s law, producing a restoring force proportional to the displacement from equilibrium. This simple force law facilitates an investigation into all the various aspects of the spring’s behaviour: how fast the mass oscillates around the equilibrium position if it is displaced and then released, how it responds to periodic driving forces of different frequencies, how the oscillation amplitude decays with time if the spring has some friction, etc. 36

Bas van Fraassen, Scientific Representation, Oxford: Clarendon Press (2008).

37

Anderson, Philip, loc. cit.

11


Springs may not be so interesting in themselves, but it turns out that an analogue to Hooke’s law applies to an astonishing variety of physical systems, and the intuitive understanding we have for the spring system, refined through the theory, can be applied to these other areas. In electronics, for example, one finds that an RLC circuit can be represented as a mass on a spring, if the charge on the capacitor is taken as the displacement, the inverse capacitance is the spring constant, and the inductance is the mass. In optics, the electrons in a medium can likewise be represented as tiny masses on springs, and everything from the frequency-dependence of the index of refraction to the shape and size of absorption lines can be determined from the hypothetical properties of the imaginary springs. The material properties of solids can also be usefully studied under a representation as a lattice of tiny masses held in place by springs. The same equations hold for all these diverse phenomena, and just by understanding how the mass on the spring behaves, we can obtain great insight into all these other things. In physics just as in art, it is meaningless to seek the ‘uniquely correct’ representation of a phenomenon. The “earth” that undergirds the representation remains forever mysterious, and all our representations can at best only capture limited aspects of it. A physics representation must give sufficiently good quantitative predictions as a minimum condition for its utility, but many different acceptably accurate representations are possible that bring out different features. A representation of the atoms in an optical medium in terms of solutions to the Schroedinger Equation with an electrostatic potential captures some quantitative relationships that are completely unintelligible on the classical spring picture, but it makes the qualitative shape of the resonance lines and the behaviour of the index of refraction more obscure. It is also possible for a theory to have exquisite quantitative accuracy, but still be an unacceptable theory because it utterly fails to highlight interesting relationships, demonstrate their harmonious unity, and situate them within a broader context. The extreme case would be a perfect computer simulation of the physics of an African savannah. The simulation would in principle provide the means for calculating the statistical distribution of values for any observable quantitative feature of the savannah, such as the distance between a particular lion and the nearest gazelle, but it would not tell you anything beyond what the savannah itself tells you.38 This perfectly rationalized, perfectly accurate picture of the savannah would not provide any new understanding, which would only come through studying the simulation with the usual methods of ecology, biology, chemistry, and statistical physics.39 Most physicists understand this point very well, and absorb it early on in their training. Their goal is not to make a copy of the world, or to replace the world with their mathematically intelligible version of it, but to discover new and interesting ways of representing the world that reveal some of its hidden truths while respecting its unfathomable mystery. This is arguably the way Newton himself saw his role: approaching the natural world he was representing with receptivity, wonder, and a realization that reality is infinitely larger and richer than any human being could imagine. As he put it in one of his late memoirs, I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.40 In fact, it would not tell you anything at all unless accompanied by some means of translating the numbers spit out by the simulation into predictions of identifiable macroscopic configurations.

38

This example is due to David Wallace, from his article “Decoherence and Ontology,” in S. Saunders, loc. cit. (2010).

39

Brewster, Sir David, Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton (1855), Volume II., Ch. 27, quoted in <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_newton>, accessed 20 March 2012.

40

12


Standing in awe before the vast horizon of existence, Newton seems to have seen himself as simply discovering a few interesting details that had not been noticed before and revealing them through an apt representation. But to discover those details and construct the appropriate representation required immense labour, and the result was a permanent and glorious achievement, a thing of true beauty. The beauty of Newton’s representation of the solar system lies precisely in the fact that it quantitatively captured a genuine and universal aspect of the natural world itself. It was not merely a plausible story that could be told about the Heavens, like the long-forgotten mechanical theories of his contemporary competitors, but rather a representation perfectly adapted to reveal a truth inherent in the very constitution of the physical universe. With the data represented in terms of the metaphysical and mathematical structure he introduced, the law of universal gravitation followed as a logical deduction in its exact quantitative form. The idolization of this work by later thinkers paradoxically diminished its significance, either by treating this brilliantly creative mode of representation as derived from a priori conditions of human knowledge (cf. Kant’s analysis), or as something more real than the data for which it was designed. A careful study of what scientists actually do (as opposed to the things they say in public lectures or write in books when they retire) can set us back on the path to reconnecting beauty with truth. The reverence of a good scientist before nature combines with his determination to pry open more of her secrets in just the way that the good artist successfully combines the task of rendering reality intelligible with a respect for the mystery that always lies beyond. The continuing success of science in accomplishing this task reminds us that it is not impossible, that we can and should render our world intelligible and meaningful through art, literature, and the “aesthetics of daily life” as well as through science, and that this effort has lasting universal value when it point us beyond the representation to wonder and awe at the represented. Understood properly, the example of science can enable our culture to rediscover the power and depth of a beauty rooted in truth, a power that can once again make us the masters of our technology instead of its slaves. CONCLUSION The technological paradigm, taken as the world, has brought modern humanity to crisis. Its forces array themselves in a diffuse yet dominating manner to expel our receptivity to mystery. Thus it seeks nothing less than the colonisation of our House of Being by dramatically changing the way we understand our being in the world, manipulating our moral and existential grammar so that we can no longer experience “earth.” This divorces beauty from truth and moral responsibility, leading to the degradation of human society and the abuse of scientific knowledge for sinister ends. Yet there are two paths to recovery. In one, we restore the authentic scientific practice from its contemporary misuse. By believing it can display the ultimate, total reality, scientific practice has fallen into a number of paradoxes and contradictions from which there appears no solution. The discourse seems trapped in its own assembled House of Being. But by recognizing the significance of the status of scientific models as representations, we can throw open the windows of the House and recognize that this House is only a presentation of a particular aspect of a more wondrous, infinitely rich “earth” that can never be fully ensnared in the scientific work of art. Indeed, science as an art owes its grandeur to its ability to engage honestly and rigorously with the mysterious “earth” beyond its horizon. Only then does scientific art reveal the glory shining through each discovery. The other path to recovery is in how we live in the world in the face of a paradigm that wants us to reimagine our existence. Like Linda in Days of Heaven, we have to be daring enough to live in our primordial way of experiencing reality. This means holding to the saving power of practices the technological paradigm deems insignificant, practices such as authentic friendship in lieu of networking. These practices must be discovered as meaningful in themselves, as places

13


where we meet the truth of what we are, and with truth, beauty. But there is more. Heidegger suggested that we also have to keep meditative thinking alive.41 Against a technological paradigm that wants us to control and make a world, we have to preserve our sense of ourselves as receivers of being.42 We must be ready to receive the world offered by great works of art such as a cathedral and allow our being to take up a meaningful life in the context of this world. In this way our being-in-the-world moves from an “in” of merely occupying a place, like being “in” the store, to an existential “in,” like being “in” love. Great art weaves together truth, beauty and goodness in what is nothing less than a call to live in openness to mystery. What we moderns await, then, is a shared content to this openness: a new understanding of being, which will preserve our sense of ourselves as receivers of being. This is what Heidegger calls our need for a new rootedness, a new rootedness to save us.43 Yet those of who recall the theme of the last World Youth Day will know that this is what the Holy Father has been telling us all along. EPILOGUE God’s Grandeur The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod. And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; And though the last lights off the black West went Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs — Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings. Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918. BIBLIOGRAPHY Anderson, Phillip. “Some Ideas on the Aesthetics of Science.” Nishina Memorial Lecture, Keio University Tokyo. 18 May, 1989. Albert, David. Time and Chance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press (2000). Pope Benedict XVI. “Homily of His Holiness Benedict XVI at the Mass of dedication of the Church of the Sagrada Familia, during the Apostolic Journey to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona.” 7 November 2010.

41

Heidegger, Discourse on Thinking, 56.

42

Dreyfus, 365.

43

Ibid.

14


Brewster, David. Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton (1855). Ceasar, James. Reconstructing America. New Haven: Yale University Press (1997). Heidegger, Martin. Discourse on Thinking. Trans. J.M. Anderson and E.H. Freund. San Francisco: Harper and Row (1966). Heidegger, Martin. “The Origin of the Work of Art.” In Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstader. New York: Harper and Row (1971). Heidegger, Martin. “The Question Concerning Technology.” In The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays, trans. William Lovitt. New York: Harper & Row (1997). Dreyfus, Herbert. “Heidegger on the connection between nihilism, art, technology, and politics.” In The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger, ed. C. Guignon. 2nd Ed.. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2006). Earman, John and John Norton, “What price spacetime substantivalism? The hole story.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 28:515-25. van Fraassen, Bas. Scientific Representation. Oxford: Clarendon Press (2008). Heidegger, Martin. Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. Lightman, Alan. “The accidental universe: science’s crisis of faith.” Harper’s Magazine. Dec. 2011. <http://www.harpers.org/archive/2011/12/0083720>. Accessed 19 March 2012. Norton, John. “The hole argument.” In E. N. Zalta (Ed.) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2008 edition <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spacetime-holearg/>. Accessed 19 March 2012. Oppenheimer, O. P.. “Interview about the Trinity explosion.” First broadcast as part of the television documentary The Decision to Drop the Bomb (1965), produced by Fred Freed, NBC White Paper. Oppenheimer, O.P.. “Physics in the Contemporary World.” Arthur D. Little Memorial Lecture at M.I.T., 25 November, 1947. Saunders, Simon et al. (eds.). Many Worlds?: Everett, Quantum Theory, and Reality. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2010). Young, Julian. Heidegger’s Philosophy of Art. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2001)

15


BEAUTY IN THE OLD AND THE SICK: A THREE-PART PILOT STUDY

Oliveros, L.A. Mundo, J.M. Marasigan, J.M. Galvez, W.C. University of Asia and the Pacific (Pasig City, Philippines) Supervisor: Cortes, R University of Asia and the Pacific (Pasig City, Philippines)

ABSTRACT With the rise of the culture of death and as different media promote a more sensual approach to human beauty, emphasizing youth and vigor as requirements for being “beautiful,” the researchers found significance in a phrase written by Peggy Noonan1 in her book John Paul the Great: “… the Pope reminds us that it is crucial to see the beauty in the old, the infirm, the imperfect.” Can the old and the infirm be beautiful? If so, in what way? What do the Filipino youth think of this issue? To find the answer to these questions, the researchers used three approaches that reflect John Paul II’s holistic approach to the study of issues: first, a deeper study of the Aristotelian and Thomistic definition of beauty; second, an empirical exploration of what the Filipino youth of today think of the question; thirdly, a personalist approach to the issue at hand. The researchers found that a majority of Filipino youth from different age groups believe that there is more to beauty than the physical and that the old and the infirm can be beautiful: thus they can be appreciated in more ways than one. The researchers likewise found a certain disparity between this opinion of the youth and their initial reaction towards the question on beauty. They believe this disparity can be bridged by exposing the youth to the real concept of beauty both in the theoretical and practical spheres.

1

Noonan, P., John Paul the great: remembering a spiritual father, Viking, New York, 2005.

16


INTRODUCTION “Beauty is attractive, and we don’t want people to be attracted by old things. We want them to like the new ones.” –– Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Can beauty be found in the elderly and the infirm? This is an interesting and very current question in the light of Benedict XVI’s2 most recent address to Germany’s Bundestag: “Yet I would like to underline a point that seems to me to be neglected, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man.” Concretely, modern society now cringes more and more at the idea of becoming old and sick and the incidence of euthanasia and other means to shorten the lives of these people has been increasing3 4. In a 1997 study of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (EAS) in North Holland, “for both men and women EAS was most frequently performed in the age-categories of 60-69 years and 70-79 years... In the age-groups of 70-79 years and 80 years and over, the number of cases of EAS increased over the years”5. The toleration and acceptance of EAS is not true only in Holland. Larue6 states that while “active voluntary (EAS) are illegal in every country throughout the world except Colombia..., it is possible to state that, throughout the world, passive voluntary euthanasia for the terminally ill is not often treated as illegal.” While it is true that people resort to euthanasia for a variety of reasons, it cannot be denied that one possible reason for the rise of euthanasia is that the elderly and the infirm are valued less and less. Part of this is connected to their lack physical attractiveness, as more and more value is being placed, especially by media and advertisements, on physical beauty, youth, and vigor. The terms “old” and “sick” (or other similar terms) have gained such negative connotations that it’s as if being old and sick were an indisposition: something that should not be tolerated and looked at. When one encounters the old & the sick, one might be led to ask, “what’s beautiful in them?” Some studies show that the state of senescence and infirmity is unattractive to young people. In a survey done in Ireland sponsored by the National Council for the Elderly, 67% of girls and 49% of boys of college age manifested some “fear or anxiety about growing old” and “larger percentages of the respondents entertained negative images of most elderly people... the terms most often selected to describe the elderly were ‘cranky’... and ‘difficult’”7. This sort of negativity

Benedict XVI, “Visit to the Bundestag, Reichstag Building - Berlin, 22 September 2011”, in <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2011/september/documents/hf_benxvi_spe_20110922_reichstag-berlin_en.html> , retrieved 12.21.11.

2

John Paul II, “Letter to the Elderly, 1999”, in <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_01101999_elderly_en.html>, retrieved September 17, 2011,

3

4

Lavi, S. J., The Modern Art of Dying: A History of Euthanasia in the United States. Princeton, N.J, 2007

Owuteaka-Philipsen, B., Muller, M., & Der Wal, G. V., “Euthanasia and old age”, in <http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/6/487.full.pdf>, retrieved 12.1.11

5

Larue, G. A., “Euthanasia: A Global Issue. Humanism Today - The Humanist Institute”, in <http://www.humanismtoday.org/vol13/larue.html>, retrieved 11.17.11

6

7

Power, B., Attitudes of young people to ageing and the elderly. National Council for the Elderly, Dublin, 1992.

17


may consequently lead to the belief that the old and the infirm are only a burden to the resources of the family8, a belief that further worsens the negative image of the old and the infirm. This negative view of old age is only worsened – again, by advertising media – when it shows that those who are growing older are resorting to products that attempt to hide their real age. Filbey9 in her study on language in cosmetic advertisements affirms that advertisements nowadays almost always nearly includes famous models who are not in their youth, but are still wrinkle-free. The more direct implication, of course, is that women would look like these models if they used these products. However, a more subtle implication is that old age is unattractive and must be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, the ideal of beauty that is being promoted, now more than ever by the same advertising media, is that of young men and women with nearly perfect physiques: for women, thin and pretty; for men, muscular and good-looking; and for both, full of life and vigor10. As a consequence, looking at the elderly and the infirm as “beautiful” may seem absurd and out of the question, especially with the definition of beauty in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a beautiful person or thing”, wherein “beautiful” is defined vaguely defined as something that is “generally pleasing”11. This superficial definition that is attached to the word “beauty” today results to a greater difficulty in seeing beauty in the elderly and the infirm. However, there was one person who begged to differ: Pope (now Blessed) John Paul II. In her book entitled John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father, Peggy Noonan12 paraphrases Michael Novak’s words on Pope John Paul II: "The pope's suffering tells us...that it is important in an age like ours to look beyond the superficial. We honor and adore surface things—beauty, youth, grace, vigor. And it's understandable: they're beautiful. But the pope reminds us it is crucial to see the beauty in the old, the infirm, the imperfect. They have a place in life, a purpose, a deep legitimacy and due. John Paul not only said this, of course, he also lived it. He showed us this truth by presenting himself to the world each day as he was." These ideas from the Pope that directly negate the common tendencies present in modern society got the researchers asking whether the old and the infirm could, in fact, be beautiful. If so, how or in what way? Are there others who think like him - especially among the youth? Moreover, how would the Filipino youth respond to the question “Can beauty be found in the old and sick”? METHODOLOGY Due to the fact that time was limited and the researchers found no previous study done on this subject, this study was necessarily just a pilot or initial study. Nevertheless, to make it as indepth as possible, the researchers approached the question in three ways. First, they explored the meaning of beauty beyond its dictionary meaning. They did this by studying and reflecting on the concepts of beauty laid down first by Aristotle, then enriched by St. Thomas Aquinas, and later on elaborated by Mortimer Adler in his book, Six Great Ideas13. The reason for focusing on Essman, E., “The elderly, from life in the USA: The complete guide for immigrants and Americans. Life in the USA: The complete guide for immigrants and Americans”, in <http://www.lifeintheusa.com/people/elderly.htm>, retrieved 11.27.11.

8

Filbey, A., “The hide of a rhinoceros or soft as a baby’s bottom? Ecology and the language of cosmetic advertisements”, in <www.ecoling.net/language_and_ecology_journal_article.doc>, retrieved 12.3.11.

9

Grogan, S., Body image: Understanding body dissatisfaction in men, women, and children (2 ed.). Taylor & Francis e-Library, New York. 2008.

10

“Beauty - definition and more from the free Merriam-Webster dictionary”, <http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/beauty>, retrieved 11.22.11

11

12

Noonan, P., John Paul the great: remembering a spiritual father, Viking, New York, 2005.

13

Adler, M. J., Six Great Ideas, Macmillan, New York, 1981.

18


these sources is that Pope John Paul II, whose remark sparked the interest of this study, although known to be steeped in phenomenology and personalism, had a philosophy that had deep Aristotelian and Thomistic foundations14. By synthesizing these mentioned sources with texts from John Paul II and other Vatican documents speaking of the elderly, the researchers sought to articulate the connection between beauty and old age and infirmity. Next, to see another perspective on the issue of beauty, old age, and infirmity, the researchers decided to conduct a survey (online) among Filipino youth ages 15 - 44 from all over the world that touched on the relationship between these three realities. Initially, the writers of the research came up with the hypothesis that most of the Filipino youth do not see beauty in the old and sick because the average Filipino youth is now more exposed to media and advertisements that promote this kind of mentality against the old and the infirm. This is so because of “the emergence and prominence of technology related activities”15. As most pilot studies, the researchers used convenience sampling16 in a survey made using Google Docs and blasted through Facebook, Google+ and a number of Filipino forums such as www.filipinopeople.com and www.pinoyexchange.com. The survey ran from October 7 to December 7, 2011. The survey can be found in this link17. Lastly, since the idea of doing this research came from an encounter with the words of John Paul II who was known for his personalist philosophy, the researchers thought that it was but proper to include a “personalist side” to this study. Aware that in the personalism of John Paul II “interpersonal relations...are never superfluous or optional to the person, but are constitutive of his inherent make-up and vocation,”18 the researchers decided to personally interview a handful of senior citizens so that, having directly encountered the persons of the old and sick, they might acquire a deeper understanding of this group of people that might in turn explain further and contribute to the understanding of the results of the survey. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Philosophical Findings Whereas today’s media promotes a type of beauty that focuses on the perfection of the human physique, youthfulness, and vigor, Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas offer a deeper view. At first glance, Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas who state that “beautiful things are those which please when seen”19 seem to agree with the beauty that is portrayed by the media. These advertisements and billboards, after all, show images which “please when seen.” However, a closer study of the definition of beauty by these two philosophers shows that there is more to beauty than meets the eye, i.e., than merely the perfection of the human physique. Flippen, D. “ Library : Was John Paul II a Thomist or a Phenomenologist? - Catholic Culture”, in <http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8105>, Retrieved 12.1.11.

14

15

McCann – Erickson World Group, Intergeneration youth study highlights. Manila, 2006.

16

“Convenience sampling: An overview”, <http://dissertation.laerd.com/articles/convenience-sampling-an-

overview.php>, Retrieved 10.20.11 17<https://docs.google.com/a/alumni.unav.es/spreadsheet/viewform?hl=en_US&formkey=dGVGX2hXek5fcmczZnFZ

dzBrdzkwblE6MQ#gid=0> Williams, T., & Bengtsson, J. O. (2009, November 12). Personalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved November 28, 2011, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/personalism/

18

Aquinas, S. T. “Summa Theologiae, Ia q.5 a.4” in Aquinas, S.T., St. Thomas - Summa Theologica, in <www.op.org/summa/>, retrieved 12.8.11.

19

19


That beauty is connected to the intellect is clearly pointed out by St. Thomas Aquinas when he said that “beauty relates to the cognitive faculty”20 and that the “senses chiefly regard the beautiful, which are the most cognitive, viz. sight and hearing, as ministering to reason”21. On the other hand, beauty is connected to the will because, as Aquinas pointed out, “The beautiful is the same as the good, and they differ in aspect only. For since good is what all seek, the notion of good is that which calms the desire; while the notion of the beautiful is that which calms the desire, by being seen or known”22. Finally, Aquinas connects the intellect and the will through beauty by saying that “it is evident that beauty adds to goodness a relation to the cognitive faculty: so that ‘good’ means that which simply pleases the appetite; while the ‘beautiful’ is something pleasant to apprehend.”23 The considerations just mentioned point out that there are various levels of beauty. These levels of beauty are differentiated not only in the faculty or faculties that apprehend them but also in the effort involved in doing so. The level of beauty apprehended by the intellect and will is definitely deeper and requires more effort than that apprehended only by the external senses. This understanding hints that in Aquinas’s definition, the word see doesn’t only pertain to the sense of sight but also to the internal senses (i.e. imagination and memory) and the intellect and will as well. Adler24 states that “the word see does not always mean apprehend visually.” In fact, it can also mean to imagine, to remember, and to understand (and thus, desire). That man uses his intellect and will in the appreciation of beauty points to the fact that beauty is closely related - indeed inextricably connected - to the ends of these faculties which are truth and goodness, respectively25. In turn, this last consideration necessarily leads to the following ideas: 1) that beauty is then more than what is seen in the material and physical, and 2) that since the truth and goodness of a thing is dependent on the nature of that thing, so is its beauty. This latter idea requires that one judges the thing’s beauty vis-a-vis its nature. Adler26 calls this “admirable beauty,” - that beauty which is objective - and he distinguishes this from “enjoyable beauty” which is subjective. This manner of looking for and at beauty is what reveals the more profound levels of beauty than the media advertisements promote. The previously mentioned ideas lay out how old people and the infirm could be and are beautiful. While it is undeniable that old and sick people rarely have physical beauty, their beauty stems from the very nature of what it means to be human. A document released in 1998 by the Pontifical Council for the Laity27 actually expounds on the source of the beauty of old people. In that document one reads about charisms proper to old age, which is another way of saying “extraordinary power(s)...given a Christian by the Holy Spirit for the good of the church”28 fitting and appropriate to old age. Upon reflection on these charisms, 20

Ibid

Aquinas, S. T. “Summa Theologiae, Ia IIae q. 27 a. 1” in Aquinas, S.T., St. Thomas - Summa Theologica, in <www.op.org/summa/>, retrieved 12.8.11.

21

22

Ibid.

23

Ibid

24

Adler, M. J., Six Great Ideas, Macmillan, New York, 1981.

Aquinas, S. T. “Summa Theologiae, Ia IIae q. 27 a. 1” in Aquinas, S.T., St. Thomas - Summa Theologica, in <www.op.org/summa/>, retrieved 12.8.11.

25

26

Adler, M. J., Six Great Ideas, Macmillan, New York, 1981.

Pontifical Council of the Laity. (1998) “The dignity of older people and their mission in the Church and in the world.”, in <http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/documents/rc_pc_laity_doc_05021999_olderpeople_en.html>, retrieved 12.3.11.

27

“Charism - definition and more from the free Merriam-Webster dictionary”, in <http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/charism>, retrieved 12.12.11

28

20


the researchers realized that they could also be applied, by extension, to the sick and infirm. The definition of charism shows how it is a form of grace. Building on the basic Thomistic doctrine that “grace perfects nature according to the manner of the nature”29 it can then be concluded that these gifts are appropriate to this particular stage of life in the human being more than to any other. This is the source of the beauty of the old and the infirm. This point can be understood more clearly once the following charisms proper to old age (and the sick) are enumerated and understood. Disinterestedness: not being part of the main workforce, they can look beyond today’s over-busy society & press for the need to take away the indifference that overshadows the dimension of self-giving. Memory: having lived through generations, the old can help restore the loss of the sense of history in society. Experience: with all their experiences, they can help preserve the true meaning of humanity in a world where science & technology are slowly overshadowing it. Interdependence: as they seek company & support, they confront a rising individualism in today’s world. A more complete vision of life: the important human values they gain - especially from their experience of suffering - are an abundant resource for cultivating & putting together society, the family, and the individual, in a world where essential human knowledge are forgotten30. John Paul II himself refers to these charisms in his “Letter to the Elderly”31. The previously mentioned charisms proper to the old (and the sick), which are perfections proper to human nature, provide the key to how the old and the sick can, in fact, be beautiful. The old and sick may not be physically perfect or attractive, but they cannot be then said to be ugly for that reason; rather their beauty should be reckoned by these charisms proper to them. For the old and the sick, the possession of these charisms is what it means to be beautiful. However, like any free being, the individual old and sick person must seek to move towards these perfections freely to possess the fullness of beauty proper to the human being in their stage of life. Survey Results The online survey conducted for the Filipino youth ages 15 to 44 through Google Docs from October 7 to December 7, 2011, got 289 respondents of whom 51% were male and 49% were female. (The small sample size which limits the conclusion of this study is due mainly to time constraints.) The great majority (77%) came from the 15-19 age bracket - the digital natives of Generation Z32 - and the 20 - 24 (14%), the 2 most “digitally native” age brackets. Complete demographic information & all graphs are found in http://univcharts2012.blogspot.com/. The survey consisted of questions that related to the respondent’s perception on beauty. After the questions on demographics, the respondents were first asked to choose among eight images which corresponded to a matrix that showed the different combinations of the presence or absence of three qualities related to human beauty: youthfulness, health, and physical attractiveness. Aquinas, S. T. “Summa Theologiae, Ia q. 62 a. 5” in Aquinas, S.T., St. Thomas - Summa Theologica, in <www.op.org/summa/>, retrieved 12.8.11.

29

Pontifical Council of the Laity, “The dignity of older people and their mission in the Church and in the world.”, in <http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/documents/rc_pc_laity_doc_05021999_olderpeople_en.html>, retrieved 12.3.11.

30

John Paul II, “Letter to the Elderly, 1999”, in <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_let_01101999_elderly_en.html>, retrieved 9.17.11.

31

Schroer, W, “Generations X,Y, Z and the Others...Social Librarian Newsletter - WJ Schroer Company”, in <http://www.socialmarketing.org/newsletter/features/generation3.htm>, retrieved 12.9.11.

32

21


In the survey the respondents were asked to choose “in which of the images they found their personal concept of beauty in some or all of its forms”. The top choice (86%) was picture #2, representing a young, healthy, and pretty woman. Ironically, picture #1 came next (72%) showing a sick boy, albeit also “cute”. This seems to show that the respondents’ initial take on beauty involved youthfulness and a certain facial attractiveness. The statement is supported by the fact that, the least picked images were pictures #8 & #4 which showed old and physically unattractive persons (19% and 20% respectively). Fig. 1 below is the image that was shown to the respondents, while Fig. 2 is the graph that shows the complete results of this part of the survey.

Figure 1

Figure 2

Majority of the respondents (62%) answered that physical attractiveness did not equal beauty, i.e., beauty does not lie in physical attractiveness alone, but also in the different aspects of a human person. They mentioned that there is an inner beauty found in the person that relates to the person’s personality, character, or attitude. For instance, one respondent commented that old persons can be beautiful “when they have a soul that is admirable and makes you want to be better. They have a heart that makes you smile when you're down. In short, they have beauty with in (sic) them.”

22


Relating to the same question, the respondents also mentioned that a person’s significant contributions to society can define how he or she may be beautiful. This means that being “beautiful” can be found externally but not through the physical attractiveness that would initially be seen; rather, through the works that one does. For example, one respondent commented that “... good deeds could come as beautiful. Your legacy to the world could come as beautiful, take for example Steve Jobs who made a technological difference in today's era.” Steve Jobs ranked 4th in the picture survey. Also relating to the question above, the respondents mentioned that beauty can be found within the soul, i.e., virtue. One respondent commented that “physical beauty fades and that a person’s real beauty is seen in his soul”. The respondent then added that “beauty in the soul is a reference to having a good moral conduct, a strong will to overcome problems, and confidence despite physical appearance”. When asked whether or not beauty can be found in the old, majority (38%) of the respondents answered “Yes.” The primary reason was that beauty could also be found in the personality/character of the person. Also, 21% of the respondents noted that beauty in the old can be found in their wisdom. One respondent stated that “in the old we see wisdom, and in my opinion, that is beauty...They have walked through the whole path of life that we barely even stepped on yet (sic).” Likewise, on whether beauty can be found in the sick and in the infirm or not, majority of the respondents (52%) stated that “beauty” is found only in the infirm’s attitude towards life. One answer that jumped out of the majority came from a respondent who said: “An able person would never be able to fully understand the world through an invalid's eyes, would never understand the reason why, even if every day was painful, it would still be glorious...People who are like that, who are sick…and are able to survive while smiling, are wonderful and beautiful because of their strength.” While 52% of the respondents stated that beauty is found in the sick and in the infirm, 7% of the respondents answered otherwise. The latter seemed to say that beauty in any or all of its forms cannot be found in the sick and in the infirm. One possible explanation for this opinion is found in a study entitled “Disease Avoidance and Ageism” which states that since pathogens are microscopic, people tend to rely on “superficial morphological or behavioral cues” to be able to detect them. These cues then trigger disgust and an ill-disposed perception that relates to the working memory and triggers avoidance towards the sick and the infirm33. The next two questions focused on whether or not the old and the sick and the infirm should be subjected to mercy killing because they’re either hopelessly sick or they (the old and sick) think that they’re of no use to society. While a big majority disapproved of euthanasia in any of its forms, it is nevertheless interesting to note that a rather large percentage (25%) actually approved of euthanasia for the “hopelessly sick” and 14% for the “old who believe they are of no use to society.” The respondents were later asked what value they found in the old and the sick. The ones who answered in the affirmative as regards the old represented 89% of the survey; for the sick, it was 69%. Since this was an open question, they gave various answers which the researchers later classified according to one or a combination of the charisms proper to old age enumerated

Duncan, L., & Schaller, M., “Prejudicial attitudes toward older adults may be exaggerated when people feel vulnerable to infectious disease: Evidence and implications”, in Analyses of Social Issue and Public Policy, 9 (2009), pp. 97-115.

33

23


by the Pontifical Council for the Laity34. A good number of respondents refer to “a more complete vision of life” as the source of beauty for both the old and the sick. As well, many respondents pointed out to “experience” of the old as a source of the latter’s beauty, and with reference to the sick, their “being” (i.e., their suffering selves that point out to something deeper). Upon studying the results of the whole survey, one sees a seeming conflict between the respondents’ initial take on beauty in the old and the sick (i.e. their response to the images) and their answers to the questions that prompted them to take a deeper look at it. Concretely, whereas the images that majority of the respondents chose implied a gravitation towards those people with youthfulness and a certain facial attractiveness and a repulsion towards people who are old and sick, in the succeeding questions, the respondents seemed to have leaned away from that very pattern. After being asked questions that prompted them to think more deeply about beauty in the old and sick, their answers hinted more to a belief that beauty can be found in the old and sick, and that it is not necessarily related to physical attractiveness. The conflict mentioned above hints that for the majority, the initial take on beauty more often than not always involves physical and facial attractiveness. However, the majority does know that beauty is not necessarily superficial and skin-deep. It seems that they only needed to be prompted and reminded to make this knowledge or belief come to the surface. Interview Results In order to corroborate on a personal level (more than conclude) the findings and results, after examining the philosophical findings and gathering results from the survey, the researchers interviewed people who were qualified to be called “elderly” (60 years old and above) . All of these men and women complained of some kind of physical ailment as well. The term “personal” here has two meanings: a focus on the unique experiences of individual subjects that point towards the beauty found in them and the collective subjective experiences of the researchers in the course of interviewing these elderly people. The subjects were asked, among other things, questions on their own personal concept/s of beauty, and how they felt about the initial take of people on beauty in the old and the sick. This personalist approach allowed the researchers to see more clearly and concretely the beauty that the philosophical findings and survey results disclosed the old and the sick may possess. According to the survey, the youth find beauty in the old through wisdom. The researchers interpreted “wisdom” as a combination of three “charisms proper to old age”- experience, memory, and a more complete view of life - mentioned in the Pontifical Council of the Laity35 document on the elderly. The researchers found this among the people they interviewed. For example, Alice Mundo (65 yrs. old) believes that beauty resides in objects or persons that are in balance and harmony with nature. She added the example of Blessed John Paul II and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, citing that "they were not particularly physically beautiful because of many qualities that disabled them, e.g. Blessed John Paul's rigid face and slurred speech and Mother Teresa's wrinkled state and stooped figure." Despite these difficulties, for her, both of them were able to "radiate an inner beauty that captivated and taught countless lessons to many people". She also added that for herself and for many, Blessed John Paul and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta "gave a good example of how dignified, respectable, and beautiful it is to be old and infirm" and that they showed us "not only what we could go through when we become old and sick, but more importantly, how to go through it". In addition, Pablo Carencia (not his real name), 65 yrs. old, says that “age begets wisdom,” and that older people “are good advisers” because of that. Pontifical Council of the Laity, “The dignity of older people and their mission in the Church and in the world.”, in <http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/documents/rc_pc_laity_doc_05021999_olderpeople_en.html>, retrieved 12.3.11.

34

35

Ibid.

24


The same respondents and two others are not ashamed of their age. The researchers opine that being at ease with one’s age manifests a more complete vision of life because it shows that they see life more than just a function of age, a number that would make no difference. This is the exact opposite of what the media show a lot of old people doing who are trying so hard to look much younger than their age. One respondent, Generosa R. Basco (86 yrs. old), stated that she is not “sensitive with the issue” (i.e., being old) because “it is the truth and is a part of life”. Another respondent, Lenny Dominguez (62 yrs. old), referring to the same issue, said: “Oo. Hindi ako dapat mahiya at dapat ko itong tanggapin. Dapat ko na lang i-enjoy ang buhay” (“Yes. I shouldn’t be ashamed and I should accept it. I should just enjoy life”). Fortunato Mondragon (79 yrs. old) accepts his current state, and does not get insulted when he is called ‘old’: “What can I do? I really am old already.” Another response in the survey which caught the researchers’ attention was that people who are old and sick can be beautiful because they were people who “give us unconditional love.” This kind of attitude towards the youth and other people is a reference to another “charism proper to old age”, which is disinterestedness. The researchers likewise perceived this attribute in their interviews. Generosa R. Basco stated that her many experiences is something that she can share with her children and grandchildren “to guide them in their lives.” Maria Napay, a 77-year old lady whom the researchers met months before this research and whom they revisited for it, takes care of her grandchildren since their parents have problems taking care of them. Despite hardly being able to walk, she hobbles about with a cane to make sure that the house is kept orderly, and she did so without any complaint, going about her business as if it were the most normal thing. Pablo Carencia, added that he thinks of his life as a life of service to others, citing the facts that he still tries to help with his family’s businesses and that he would like for others to benefit from what he has to offer (e.g. mentoring and spiritual direction). Lastly, Crescencia Monte, 72 yrs. old, whom the researchers met and interviewed while she was taking care of a sick grandchild, proudly spoke of how she was part of raising all of her numerous grandchildren. All these individuals did not show any sign of regret for having their time taken away and all showed that disinterested love which can only be considered “unconditional.” The last “charism proper to old age,” interdependence, was likewise hinted in the survey results with answers that mentioned “gratitude” and “being part of a family.” The researchers saw this sense of interdependence in the interview as well. Alice Mundo stated that having been in contact with the elderly allowed her to have more insight on how to “become old”. This kind of dependence on other elderly people allowed her to be able to get in touch with them and allowed her to be able to understand more why they (elderly people) are like how they are. The seven sons and daughters of Dolores and Domingo Marasigan (77 and 84 yrs. old, respectively) now have their own families and/or professions to take care of, and the parents see most of them very few times a year. But they receive those few meetings with great joy, returning with great gratitude even the small acts of respect and love done to them by their grandchildren. Pablo Carencia speaks of old people as models of respect, relating this with his experiences with younger ones doing good deeds to him without asking for them. This is similar to what Pope Benedict XVI, mentioned in his Letter to the Elderly36, that “the long years of life allow them to afford the opportunity to appreciate the greatest gift of God, which is the gift of life, and the fragility of human spirit.” However, the researchers did notice that interdependence was the charism that surfaced least in the interviews. Interestingly, this was also the charism that surfaced least in the survey. In the interviews, the researchers saw that most of the interviewees were afraid to get sick, and Benedict XVI, “London Borough of Lambeth, Visit to St Peter's Residence for the elderly, 18 September 2010”, in <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2010/september/documents/hf_benxvi_spe_20100918_st-peter-residence_en.html>, retrieved 1.16.12.

36

25


perhaps this is normal. However, this could also mean that the old are afraid to be a burden to their loved ones37, a manifestation which is opposed to interdependence and something that would not have been an issue if one’s environment actually encouraged such interdependence38. All in all, the researchers found that what they found concretely in the interviews and the survey echoed the idea of beauty in the old and sick that they were able to articulate from their philosophical exploration. The coherence among the three parts of this research seems to affirm that what the researchers found in the philosophical texts and documents can and ought to be seen every day by the simple acts of taking notice of the elderly and the infirm and looking beyond their physical attributes. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS Much has already been said about beauty being “more than skin deep.” What this research first wanted to clarify was how this truism applied to the old and the sick, if it could. Upon reflecting on the Aristotelian and Thomistic philosophy of beauty and synthesizing this with more recent Vatican documents, the researchers concluded that the old and sick could be beautiful. According to Aristotle and Aquinas the beautiful is that which is pleasing to behold where “behold” refers not only to the senses but the intellect as well. Connected to this, something is pleasing only to the beholder insofar as his or her intellect first grasps that the thing beheld conforms to that thing’s nature. The pleasure then increases in proportion to the apprehension of perfections that conform to the said nature. Considering that the old (and, by extension, the sick) have a charism proper to them which are perfections proper to human nature, one can thus conclude that the old and sick can be beautiful, i.e. pleasing to behold, in those in whom these charisms are present. These charisms include disinterestedness, a more complete vision of life, memory, experience, and interdependence39. Reflecting on these charisms and one’s experience with the old and sick will immediately suggest that the “pleasure” in beholding them transcends the physical. This likewise suggests that beauty in the proper sense should and does transcend the physical. The survey (albeit limited) on the Filipino youth about their perception of beauty in the old and sick and the interviews which the researchers did on a few elderly men and women (most of whom had physical ailments as well) hinted to the researchers that these charisms are in fact present in the old and sick and are the reasons that they are considered beautiful by a big majority of the respondents. The researchers acknowledge the fact that the survey results are not conclusive because of the sampling method used. In fact, they suggest a similar study to be done in the future using more randomized sampling and a bigger sample size (and allotting enough time for the survey) to make the results more conclusive. These can then be compared to this study’s results. That being said, they nevertheless believe that the results of the present study point in the right direction due to the congruence of the three parts of the study. Insofar as the Filipino youth are concerned, majority of them have the usual superficial idea about beauty, e.g. a certain facial attractiveness and a certain air of youthfulness (based on the graphs) but when prompted to think about it more deeply, they actually show that they understand that the old and sick possess a more transcendental form of beauty. This means that the youth ought to be educated better in terms of attitudes and behavior towards the elderly so that this understanding of the old and sick as valuable and beautiful becomes present more permanently 37

Havighurst, R. J., & Albrecht, R. E., Older people. Arno Press, New York.

Buettner, D. The blue zones: Lessons for living longer from the people who've lived the longest, National Geographic, Washington, D.C., 2008.

38

Pontifical Council of the Laity, “The dignity of older people and their mission in the Church and in the world.”, in <http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/documents/rc_pc_laity_doc_05021999_olderpeople_en.html>, retrieved 12.3.11.

39

26


in their minds, not just something that comes up when prompted. More frequent occasions and venues for the young to see the beauty of the elderly and the infirm more regularly would help to this end. Practices such as visiting the sick in hospital and visiting homes for the aged are such occasions. Several studies have shown40 41 42 43 that men and women in occupations that require them to be with elderly and the infirm (nurses, doctors, speech pathologists, etc.) have positive attitudes and initial takes towards the elderly and the infirm. In this sort of exposure, the youth in the survey have much to improve. After all, when in one part of the survey, the respondents were asked how often they visited people who are old and sick and who are not necessarily related to them, only 9% of the respondents admitted that they visited the sick or old more than quarterly. The majority (69%) either visited these people only once a year (35%) or none at all (34). ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The researchers and their adviser would like to sincerely thank the following people who helped them with this study: Mrs. Generosa Basco, Mr. Pete Dimaculangan, Mrs. Lenny Dominguez, Dr. Jerry Kliatchko, Mrs. Dolores Marasigan, Mr. Domingo Marasigan, Mr. Fortunato Mondragon, Mrs. Crescencia Monte, Ms. Alice Mundo, Mrs. Maria Napay. BIBLIOGRAPHY Adler, M. J., Six great ideas. New York: Macmillan (1981) Aquinas, S. T. (n.d.). St. Thomas - Summa Theologica. Ordo Praedicatorum. Retrieved December 8, 2011, from www.op.org/summa/ Beauty - definition and more from the free Merriam-Webster dictionary. (n.d.). Dictionary and thesaurus - Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved November 22, 2011, from http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/beauty Benedict XVI, London Borough of Lambeth, Visit to St Peter's Residence for the elderly, 18 September 2010, Benedict XVI. Vatican: the Holy See. Retrieved January 16, 2012, from http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2010/september/documents/hf_benxvi_spe_20100918_st-peter-residence_en.html Benedict XVI, Visit to the Bundestag, Reichstag Building - Berlin, 22 September 2011. Vatican: the Holy See. Retrieved December 21, 2011, from http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2011/september/documents/hf_benxvi_spe_20110922_reichstag-berlin_en.html Cheong, S. K., Wong, T. Y., & Koh, G. C., “Attitudes Towards the Elderly among Singapore Medical Students”, in <http://www.annals.edu.sg/pdf/38volno10oct2009/v38n10p857.pdf>, retrieved 11.27.11.

40

Zambrini, D. A., Moraru, M., Hanna, M. H., Kalache, A. K., & Nuñez, J. F., “Attitudes towards the elderly among university students of health care related studies at the University of Salamanca, Spain”, in <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18521885>, retrieved 11.27.11.

41

Chew, D., & Greenhill, J., “Nurses' attitudes toward elderly people and knowledge of gerontic care in a multipurpose health service (MPHS)”, in <http://www.ajan.com.au/vol24/vol24.4-7.pdf>, retrieved 12.10.11.

42

Searl, J., & Gabel, R. M., “Speech-language pathologists’ attitudes toward aging and the llderly”, in <http://www.nsslha.org/uploadedFiles/NSSLHA/publications/cicsd/2003FSLPsAttitudesTowardAgingandtheElderly.pd f>, retrieved 12.7.11.

43

27


Buettner, D., The blue zones: Lessons for living longer from the people who've lived the longest, Washington, D.C.: National Geographic (2008) Charism - definition and more from the free Merriam-Webster dictionary. (n.d.). Dictionary and thesaurus - Merriam-Webster online. Retrieved December 12, 2011, from http://www.merriamwebster.com/dictionary/charism Cheong, S. K., Wong, T. Y., & Koh, G. C., "Attitudes towards the elderly among Singapore medical students", Annals academy of medicine, 38(10), 5. (2009), Retrieved November 27, 2011, from http://www.annals.edu.sg/pdf/38volno10oct2009/v38n10p857.pdf Chew, D., & Greenhill, J., "Nurses' attitudes toward elderly people and knowledge of gerontic care in a multi-purpose health service (MPHS)". Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 24(4), 37-41, (2007), Retrieved December 10, 2011, from http://www.ajan.com.au/vol24/vol24.4-7.pdf Convenience sampling: An overview. (n.d.). Laerd dissertation - The online research guide for your dissertation and thesis. Retrieved October 20, 2011, from http://dissertation.laerd.com/articles/convenience-sampling-an-overview.php Pontifical Council of the Laity, "The dignity of older people and their mission in the Church and in the world". Vatican: The Holy See, (1998). Retrieved December 3, 2011, from http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/laity/documents/rc_pc_laity_doc_05021999 _older-people_en.html Duncan, L., & Schaller, M., Prejudicial attitudes toward older adults may be exaggerated when people feel vulnerable to infectious disease: Evidence and implications. Analyses of Social Issue and Public Policy , 9(1),(2009), 97-115, Essman, E. (n.d.). The elderly, from life in the USA: The complete guide for immigrants and Americans. Life in the USA: The complete guide for immigrants and Americans. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from http://www.lifeintheusa.com/people/elderly.htm Filbey, A., The hide of a rhinoceros or soft as a babyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bottom? Ecology and the language of cosmetic advertisements. Language, Society and Ecology Series , (n.a.) (2008). Retrieved December 3, 2011, from www.ecoling.net/language_and_ecology_journal_article.doc Flippen, D. (n.d.). Library : Was John Paul II a Thomist or a Phenomenologist? - Catholic Culture. Catholic News, Commentary, Information, Resources, and the Liturgical Year - Catholic Culture. Retrieved December 1, 2011, from http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8105 Grogan, S., Body image: Understanding body dissatisfaction in men, women, and children (2 ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis e-Library, (2008). Havighurst, R. J., & Albrecht, R. E., Older people. New York: Arno Press. (1980) John Paul II, Letter to the Elderly, Vatican: the Holy See, (1999), Retrieved September 17, 2011, from http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/letters/documents/hf_jpii_let_01101999_elderly_en.html Larue, G. A., Euthanasia: A Global Issue. Humanism Today - The Humanist Institute. (1999), January 1Retrieved November 17, 2011, from http://www.humanismtoday.org/vol13/larue.html

28


Lavi, S. J., The Modern Art of Dying: A History of Euthanasia in the United States. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, (2007). McCann - Erickson World Group, Intergeneration youth study highlights. Manila: (n.a.). (2006) Noonan, P., John Paul the great: remembering a spiritual father. New York: Viking. (2005) Owuteaka-Philipsen, B., Muller, M., & Der Wal, G. V., "Euthanasia and old age". Age and Ageing, 26, (1997), 487-492, Retrieved December 1, 2011, from http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/6/487.full.pdf Power, B., Attitudes of young people to ageing and the elderly. Dublin: National Council for the Elderly, (1992). Searl, J., & Gabel, R. M., "Speech-language pathologistsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; attitudes toward aging and the elderly". Contemporary Issues in Communication Science and Disorders, 30, (2003), 146-155. Retrieved December 7, 2011, from http://www.nsslha.org/uploadedFiles/NSSLHA/publications/cicsd/2003FSLPsAttitudesTowardAgin gandtheElderly.pdf Schroer, W. (n.d.). "Generations X,Y, Z and the Others..."Social Librarian Newsletter - WJ Schroer Company. WJ Schroer Company. Retrieved December 9, 2011, from http://www.socialmarketing.org/newsletter/features/generation3.htm Williams, T., & Bengtsson, J. O. Personalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2009, November 12). Retrieved November 28, 2011, from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/personalism/ Zambrini, D. A., Moraru, M., Hanna, M. H., Kalache, A. K., & NuĂąez, J. F., Attitudes towards the elderly among university students of health care related studies at the University of Salamanca, Spain. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 28(2), 5, (2008). Retrieved November 27, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18521885

29


"CHANGING BEAUTY FOR NAUGHTY”: SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE EFFECTS OF MEDIA SEXUAL CONTENT ON ADOLESCENT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

Vallejo-García, V. Ortego-Zabalzaª, I. Vizcay-Atienzaª, A. Univerisdad de Navarra (Spain) Supervisor: Martínez-Gonzálezª, M.A. Universidad de Navarra (Spain)

ABSTRACT There are two important views on the portrayal of the human body. On one side, the Judeo-Christian tradition states that the human body relates to Beauty, a transcendental concept, and that it is sacred because it was created by God and mass media might have a negative effect on society by degrading sexuality. On the other hand, the portrayal of sexuality and the human body is considered a personal decision protected by freedom of expression. Religion, in this view, would be negative because it might exert a negative effect on society by promoting abstinence and condemning contraceptives, as some mainstream communication media claim. Could it be that, according to the best scientific evidence available the media has a negative effect over adolescent behavior? To answer this question, we conducted a systematic review of the available articles and epidemiological surveys published in the last ten years in scientific journals and analyzed the effects of sexual content in the media and adolescents' sexual behavior. We discuss the possible implications for public health. Key terms in Pubmed were "sexual content media adolescents" and after reading and selecting the relevant articles we conducted a search of the "related articles" shown. Criteria for inclusion were having a measurable outcome such as initiation of sexual activity, pregnancy, advancement in non-coital behavior, sexual harassment, having a prospective design and adjusting for covariates. All but one of the retrieved articles (N=8) supported our original hypothesis that sexual content has negative consequences on adolescents’ behavior, either as a causal relationship or as a nonrecursive relationship. This has implications for public health as evidence suggests that decreasing sexual content in media might lower early sexual activity, unwanted pregnancies and possibly abortion.

30


INTRODUCTION What do you think of when you hear the word "Beauty"? Do you relate it to a philosophical concept, an artistic concept or the latest Maxim issue? The concept of Beauty has troubled philosophers since ancient Greece and marketing departments since the advent of globalization and the consolidation of the mass media as an entertainment source. There is no consensus when we talk about beauty anymore, as people seem to have irreconcilable differences about what it means. It is curious how, in spite of living in the most globalized society in history, we cannot seem to find common ground on certain topics. Alasdair MacIntyre refers to this conundrum on his book After Virtue when he says that modern debates about moral and philosophical issues are intractably long because people do not know the philosophical framework of their position. For Plato, Beauty is linked to Good and therefore with love (Labrada, M.A., Belleza y racionalidad: Kant y Hegel). It is an idea, that which is valuable in itself and therefore, convenient for us, because goodness is an intrinsic quality of it and it answers Socrates' inquiry of what makes a life worth living. Beauty is transcendental; it allows the one who contemplates it to love and therefore to be eternal, as all love is fundamentally immortal as Plato states in The Banquet. On the other hand, St. Thomas Aquinas says that the contemplation of Beauty is not only intellectual, it is also sensible as there is objective beauty in the world. Beauty is perceived by our external senses (eyesight and hearing) but it is enriched with our internal senses because it refers to understanding. Beauty, for the scholastic philosopher, is the same as goodness except that good is referred to appetites because people want that which is good while beauty is already contemplating that which is good, so Beauty is not referred to appetites but to knowledge. As we can see, in the history of philosophy the concept of Beauty is intertwined with the concept of Good and it is an infinitely richer concept that swimsuit models. It started to change with Kant and it was further attacked by relativists such as Foucalt and it is only recently that some philosophers like Derrida and his deconstructionalism have stated that there is no true objective reference. For them, Beauty is not a universal concept, rather a subjective one. In that line of though, Beauty only relates to people's desires and therefore, it is logical to treat is as a commodity and to supply it to people in whatever form they seek it. Furthermore, it would be wrong to promote a particular vision of Beauty as it will undermine freedom of choice, because people ought to choose their own definition of Beauty. What no philosopher can deny is that there is Beauty in the human body. It might be a transcendental Beauty, in which the human body is sacred (John Paul II) or the beauty in Victoria Secret models in the latest lingerie fashion shows. But, philosophy apart, could it be that any conception of beauty may be harmful to society? Could it be that, perhaps, considering the human body as an object of pleasure leads to negative public health outcomes? Or is it, perhaps, that the modern conception of sex represents a victory, the final emancipation of men from tradition and religion? The mass media portrayal of sex as a "no risk, everything is allowed" encompasses complex sexual fantasies and activities but very few references to sexual risks or to a transcendental notion of sex and the human person. Since men are the main consumers of pornography (Family Safe Media: "Pornography statistics") most sexual content is "male oriented" and it shows women as sexual objects, submissive to whatever the male character feels like doing, irrespectively of the women's preferences thus harming them, as feminists such as Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon have stated. Women are shown as commodities, available for the male consumer and essentially as sexual objects while men are portrayed as insatiable philanderers. If such a relation exists, then it is necessary to inform the general public, and especially adolescents, so they can make a truly informed choice. The purpose of this paper is to examine the scientific evidence on the relationship between sexual content in the media and adolescents' sexual behavior. We examined the main articles and epidemiological surveys published in the top medical journals in the last ten years and

31


conducted a systematic review of their results. Our hypothesis was that sexual content in the media has negative effects on adolescents' and it promotes unhealthy behaviors such as early initiation of sexual behavior, multiple sexual partners, sexually transmitted infections, unplanned pregnancies and abortion. If there is evidence to support this statement, then it is necessary to balance the media's portrayal of sex and to promote a different view on sex in the media and entertainment culture. MATERIAL AND METHODS To identify the most relevant articles and epidemiological surveys we searched the PubMed database of articles published between 2000-2012 for cross-sectional or longitudinal prospective cohort studies of sexual content in the media and adolescent sexual behavior. There are numerous studies regarding the relation between sexual content in the media and its effect, but relatively few methodologically robust studies are available (and relatively recent, the first one starting in 2004). We chose to only include studies with a prospective design as their results are better protected against biases and thus provide stronger evidence of causality. Key terms such as "sexual content", "media", "adolescent" and "sexual behavior" were used in the primary search strategy as well as in a subsequent search with MeSH terms. We limited the results to the English language for the sake of specifity, as sexual content in the media is most prevalent on Western culture television (Europe and The Americas) and major medical journals are written in English. Restriction based on age (0-18 years) was needed in order to study adolescents. We retrieved 73 results. Additional longitudinal studies were obtained by cross-matching the references of the retrieved articles. After reviewing all articles, we excluded those that did not have a measurable outcome such as initiation of sexual activity, pregnancy, advancement in non-coital sexual activity and sexual harassment, those without any follow-up of participants and those that did not adjust for confounding variables using stratification or multivariate regression analysis. We retrieved a previous systematic review (Escobar-Chaves et al, 2005) but it also contained numerous cross sectional studies from which no causality can be inferred, and only one longitudinal study (Collins et al, 2004) . Therefore, we decided to exclude it from the present analysis. Eight articles were selected for their relevance. A meta-analysis was attempted but the heterogeneity among the study designs indicated that a qualitative systematic review was much more adequate. Our systematic review was conducted using the latest PRISMA guidelines.

32


PRISMA FLOW DIAGRAM

33


RESULTS Study

Population characteristics

Weight measures

Covariates adjustedResults

Collins et al. 1762 adolescents, Initiation of intercourse Age, gender, race, Exposure to sexual content was (2004) 12-17 years old; 48% and advancement in peer age, sensation directly associated with early female, 77% White, non-coital sexual activity. seeking, deviant sexual initiation (OR: 1.45) while 13% Black, 7% behavior, family the portrayal of sexual risk or Hispanic, 4% Asian Follow up: 1 year structure, high parent need for safety was inversely or other race education, parental associated with the initiation of monitoring, mother sexual intercourse (OR: .81. works outside home, There was no difference in the religion, low school outcome whether the exposure grades, high was actual sexual portrayal on educational television or references to sex. aspiration, selfThe likelihood of intercourse esteem, good mental initiation was approximately health double for the high exposure group, across all ages studied. Brown et al. (2006)

1017 black and white Initiation of intercourse adolescents, 12-14 since the baseline years old; 26% black survey. males, 26% black females, 24% white Follow up: 2 years males, 24% white females. Baseline mean SMD for black adolescents was .59 (SD: .12; range: .19-.94) and for white adolescents the mean SMD was .48 (SD: .15; range .14-.82)

Parental approval of White adolescents of the top teen sex, perceived quintile of exposure to SMD were peer sexual norms, 2.2 times more likely to initiate “hands-on” intercourse in the following two parenting, gender, years compared to those in the race, age, lowest SMD quintile after socioeconomic adjusting for all covariates. The status, precoital Cox regression relative risk was sexual behavior, 1.30 (95% CI 1.04-1.63) for white relation with mother, adolescents. The relationship for parental education, black adolescents was not religious attendance, significant. However, black teens religious beliefs, with the lowest SMD scores were grades, puberty much less likely to initiate status, school intercourse than their black peers connectedness exposed to higher levels of SMD.

Martino et al. 1242 adolescents, Initiation of intercourse Age, gender, race, After controlling for all covariates (2006) 12-17 years old; 47% (limited to virgins = 938) family structure, using multiple regression girls, 52% males, and advancement (1242) parental education, analysis, exposure to degrading 68% white, 14% in non-coital sexual parental monitoring, sexual content was associated to black, 12% Hispanic, activity. parental approval of initiation of sexual intercourse 6% other sex, friends age, and advancement in non-coital Follow up: 2 years peer’s sexual norms, sexual activity (OR= 1,20, mental health, p≤0,001). Exposure to nongrades, deviant degrading sexual content is behavior, religiosity, unrelated to changes in expected negative participants sexual behavior. consequences of sex, sex self-efficacy, sensation seeking

34


Ashby et al. (2006)

Brown et al. (2008)

4808 adolescents, younger than 16 years old, ethnicity reported as White, Black or Hispanic

Initiation of sexual intercourse.

967 adolescents; 66% males, 39% females; 49% white, 51% black; mean age 13,6 years old

Permissive personal sexual norms, Progressive gender role attitudes, perpetration of sexual harassment, oral sex, sexual intercourse

Follow up: 1 year

Age, gender, race, motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education, parental approval of teen sex, parental structure, depression, selfesteem, religiosity, educational ambitions, hours of television use, parental rules on TV content, parental rules on amount of TV watched

Multiple regression analysis showed a positive association between watching television more than 2 hours/day and initiating sexual intercourse (OR=1.31) during the following year in adolescents whose parents strongly disapprove sexual behavior and without TV parental control

Age, race, socioeconomic status, parental education, peer puberty comparison, sensation seeking

Chi squared tests, linear regression analysis and longitudinal regression analysis showed that, after adjusting for all covariates, males that have greater exposure to sexually explicit media at baseline have more permissive personal sexual norms (F-change=8.31, p=.04). Increased exposure to sexually explicit media was associated with perpetration of sexual harassment by males (Fchange=3.2, p=.05) Male adolescents who had increased exposure to sexually explicit media were more likely to initiate oral sex (OR=1.72, CI 95% 1.352.19, p<.001) and sexual intercourse (OR=1.74, 95% CI 1.33-2.26, p <.001). Female adolescents who had higher exposure to sexually explicit media were more likely to initiate oral sex (OR=1.49, 95% CI 1.012.21, p=.047) and sexual intercourse (OR=1.50, 95% CI 1.04-2.16, p=.031)

Age, gender, race, family structure, parent education, grades obtained, intention to have children before college, educational aspirations, deviant behavior

There was a positive association between exposure to sexual content and pregnancy (OR=1.55, p=.03) after adjusting for all covariates. Higher levels of exposure were associated with a higher predicted probability of pregnancy that was two or three times the risk of pregnancy for youths exposed to high versus low level of sexual content

Follow up: 2 years

Chandra et al. 1461 adolescents, (2008) 12-17 years of age; 57% male, 66% white, 12% Hispanic and 17% black

Being involved in a pregnancy since baseline survey (postexposure pregnancy). Follow up: 3 years

35


Bleakley et al. 501 adolescents, 14-16 Index of adolescent sexual Parental Baseline sex behavior was (2008) years old; 42% black, activity based on Mokken monitoring/supervision, associated with more exposure to 58% white; 38,3% procedures to measure for unsupervised time at sexual content in media (OR= 1.39) males, 61,7% females initiation or advancement of home, parental on follow up. Exposure to sexual Loevingerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s H sexual behavior (deep approval of sex, peer content in the media was associated correlation is greater kissing, touching breasts, approval of sex, with an increase in sexual behavior than 0.7 for all genders breasts touched, genital physical development (OR = 1.38) on follow up. On the and the KR20 touching, receiving oral sex, or maturity, relationship cross-sectional analysis sexual coefficients for vaginal sex, giving oral sex, status, age, bedtime, behavior was associated with unidimensionality were receiving and giving anal participation in exposure to sexual content (OR= .84 for males and .85 sex) extracurricular 1.52) and sexual content was for females. activities, having a associated with sexual behavior (OR Follow up: 1 year television in the = 1.35) giving evidence for a nonbedroom, and total time recursive relationship spent with media Hennessy et al. 506 adolescents, 14-16 Sexual behavior index Gender, experimental (2009) years-old; 62% score using Mokken scaling status, race/ethnicity females, 38% males; based on difficulty ordering 42% African-American, to measure for initiation or 42% white, 13% advancement of sexual Hispanic, 3% other. behavior (same categories Loevingerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s H as in Bleakley et al 2008). correlation was greater than .7 Follow up: 3 years

The correlation between changes in exposure and changes in sexual behavior, although not quite stastitically significant, was positive for White respondents (r= .46; p= .064) but esentially zero for Black respondents (r= .03; p= .85.

The table shows the 8 retrieved articles. All of them, with the single exception of Hennessy et al (2009) found a statistically significant association between exposure to sexual media content and adverse sexual outcomes during the follow-up period. Most studies assessed early initiation of sexual intercourse as the outcome. Other assessed outcomes were advancement in non-coital sexual activity (Collins et al, 2004; Martino et al, 2006; Bleakley et al, 2008), pregnancy (Collins et al, 2008), increase in sexual behavior (Brown et al, 2008; Bleakley et al, 2008, Hennessy et al, 2009), sexual permissiveness (Brown et al. 2008), wrong gender role attitude (Brown et al, 2008) and sexual harassment (Brown et al, 2008). DISCUSSION All but one of the longitudinal studies retrieved were consistent in their results that sexual content in the media is associated with early sexual initiation, multiple sexual partners (Collins et al, 2008) and pregnancy. The effect was statistically significant for white adolescents, but it does not reach a p<.05 for black adolescents in the studies that separated results by race, although the magnitude of the effect was always large (Brown et al, 2006, Hennessy et al, 2009). The temporal sequence was clear in all studies, as they were prospective in design. The article by Bleakley et al. (2008) was particularly helpful to analyze this relation as it studies both the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships between sexual content and sexual behavior and also between sexual behavior and sexual content giving evidence for both a causative and a non-recursive relationship. The magnitude of the association was large in all studies, as participants in the highest level of exposure were at least twice as likely as participants in the lowest level of exposure to engage in unhealthy sexual behavior. We also observed a gradient of effect in participants, as many studies analyzed the effects of sexual content through quintiles and percentiles and the probability of the outcome monotonically grew in proportion to the level of exposure. Numerous psychological theories account for this effect, and the systematic review done by Escobar-Chaves (2005) assessed their relevance to this topic. We found that the social cognitive theory of Bandura is particularly coherent with the epidemiological evidence reviewed. Bandura proposed that people (and especially children) learn by observation from role models,

36


either by vicariously experiencing what the role model is doing or by creating scripts as to what has to be done in a particular situation (Bandura, 1988). Children tend to identify themselves with role models in the mass media after observing their actions. Most of the role models in popular mass media engage in uncompromised sexual activity, and the script usually does not include any negative consequences (Kaiser Family Foundation, Sex on TV4 report, 2005). On the contrary, their behavior is positively reinforced as there are few, if any, references to sexual safety or the need for compromise in sexual activity. According to Bandura, children who see that a behavior done by their role model has no negative consequences and is positively reinforced are more likely than others to emulate that behavior. It is also important to note that the studies carried out by Bleakley et al (2008) and Hennessy et al. (2009) were done using the integrative model, which takes into account Social Learning Theory and many other theories explaining the influence of mass media in children and adolescents. The consistent evidence we found in the studies reviewed is explained by this theory, and there is an analogy to the effects of mass media on violence and eating disorders. Previous studies (Martínez-Gonzalez et al, 2003; Huessman et al, 2003) have found a statistically significant direct association between exposure to mass media and the subsequent risk of developing eating disorders and aggression in adulthood, respectively. Currently, there are no studies that conclusively demonstrate a physiological basis for the effects of mass media on adolescents. However, we would like to point out the studies done by neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni on mirror neurons, suggesting a possible foundation for these effects (Iacoboni, 2008). There are some limitations to our systematic review. Selection bias might be present, as we only included articles written in English. Additionally, all of them were sampled from USA adolescents and there might be differences between American adolescents and adolescents from other countries. Also, we only looked for articles in the top medical journals so a publication bias might be present. The possibility of obtaining markedly different results is nonetheless small, as globalization has made contents in mass media relatively similar and the top television shows, movies, series and music examined in the US are present to a large extent in other countries (Baker, Frank Media Use Statistics). We find it remarkable that, although mass media have been an important part of society for decades, their effect on sexual behavior has been studied rigourously only since 2004. This indicates that it is a current topic. Further longitudinal studies should focus on longer follow-up of participants in order to see if the pregnancy is carried out to term or aborted, and to see differences in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections. All the authors of the studies reviewed conclude that balancing the content of mass media could have a positive effect on decreasing teen pregnancies and early sexual initiation. However, this approach might not be feasible as there are laws protecting the media’s freedom of expression in our democratical system. In order to reduce unhealthy sexual behavior, we propose following the APA Task Force recommendations that include promoting parent-adolescent relationship and family discussion of sexual portrayals of the media, where parents give their opinion on human sexuality and they explain the need for safety and compromise. There is already a consensus on public health strategies on sexuality (Lancet ABC approach) and parents should be actively discussing human sexuality with their children, and including information on abstinence, faithfulness and condom use only as a last resort (De Irala-Estévez, 2004). We also suggest promoting religious attendance in order to decrease the probability of initiating sexual intercourse, as studies consistently suggest an inverse association between religiosity and sexual behavior (Collins et al, 2004; Brown et al, 2006). After reviewing the evidence, we think that the Judeo-Christian view that sexual content in the media should be limited because it affects adolescents’ sexual behavior is supported by the available studies. To establish definitive causality, an experimental study must be carried out; that approach, however, is not realistic as it is unethical to experiment on human subjects when

37


previous evidence suggests a negative effect between exposure and outcome. Furthermore, religiosity appears to be inversely associated with unhealthy sexual behavior. It is highly paradoxical and ironical that some voices claim that current public health problems are a result of religious positions on human sexuality. There is sufficient empirical evidence that a personalistic approach to human sexuality actually improves adolescent sexual health and reduces the incidence of HIV as Harvard researcher Edward Green explained in a Washington Post article on 2009. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We are indebted to Miguel テ]gel Martテュnez-Gonzテ。lez MD, MPH, PhD for providing us with information on statistical analysis, growth curves and propensity scoring models and for supervising our review. We also want to thank Rebecca Collins PhD for her help researching federal laws that prohibit interference with content in the media and for giving us alternative models for public health policies to reduce unhealthy sexual behavior. We thank the University of Navarra for providing us with access to publications we analyzed in medical journals. We declare that we have no conflict of interest

38


BIBLIOGRAPHY Alonso A, De Irala-Estévez J, “Strategies in HIV prevention: the A-B-C approach”, The Lancet. (2004); 364: 1033 American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Public Education. “Children, adolescents, and television”. Pediatrics. (2001); 107: 423-26 American Psychological Association, Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. (2010). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report-full.pdf Ashby S, Arcari C, Edmonson B "Television viewing and risk of sexual initiation by young adolescents." Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. (2006); 160: 375-380 Aubry JS, Harrison K, Kramer L, Yellin J. Variety versus timing: gender differences in college students’ sexual expectations as predicted by exposure to sexually oriented television. Communication Research. (2003); 30: 432-60 Bandura A, “Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory”. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, (1986) Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Fishbein M, Jordan A. "It Works Both Ways: The Relationship between Exposure to Sexual Content in the Media and Adolescent Sexual Behavior." Media Psychology. (2008); 11(4): 443-61 Brown JD, Pardun CJ. “Little in common: racial and gender differences in adolescents’ television diets” Journal Broadcast Electronic Media. (2004); 48: 266-78 Brown JD. Mass media influences on sexuality. Journal of Sex Research” (2002); 39: 42-5 Brown JD, L’Engle K. "X-Rated. Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors Associated With U.S. Early Adolescents´Exposure to Sexually Explicit Media." Communication Research. (2009); 36: 129-50 Brown JD, Halpern CT, L’Engle KL. “Mass media as a sexual super peer for early maturing girls.” Journal of Adolescent Health. (2005); 36.5: 420-27 Brown JD, L’Engle K, Pardun C, Guo G, Kenneavy K, Jackson C. "Sexy media matter: exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines predicts black and white adolescents’ sexual behavior." Pediatrics. (2006); 117.4: 1018-27. Chandra A, Martino S, Collins R, Elliott M, Berry S, Kanouse D, Miu A. "Does watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth”. Pediatrics. (2008); 122: 1047-53 Collins R, Elliott M, Berry S Kanouse D, Kunkel D, Hunter S, Miu A. "Watching Sex on Television Predicts Adolescent Initiation of Sexual Behavior." Pediatrics. (2004), 114(3). Retrieved at: www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/114/3/e280

39


Collins R, Martino S, Elliott M. "Propensity scoring and the relationship between sexual media and adolescent sexual behavior: Comment on Steinberg and Monahan (2011)." Developmental Psychology. (2011); 47.2 577-79. Collins R, Elliot M, Miu A. "Linking media content to media effects: The RAND television and adolescent sexuality (TAS) study. In: Jordan, Junkelm Manganellom Fishbein editors. Media Messages and Public Health: A decisions Approach to Content Analysis. Routledge, New York: (2007). Escobar-Chaves SL, Tortolero SR, Markham CM, Low BJ, Eitel P, Thickstun P. Impact of the media on adolescent sexual attitudes and behavior. Pediatrics. (2005); 116: 297-331 Green E. "Condoms, HIV-AIDS and Africa - The Pope Was Right." Washington Post 29/03 2009. Halperin D, Steiner M, Cassell M, Green E, Hearst N, Kirby D et al. “The time has come for a common ground to prevent transmission of HIV”. The Lancet. (2004); 364:1913-15 Hennessy M, Bleakley A, Fishbein M, Jordan A. "Estimating the Longitudinal Association Between Adolescent Sexual Behavior and Exposure to Sexual Media Content." Journal of Sex Research. 2009; 46.6: 586-96. Hetsroni A. “Three decades of sexual content in prime-time network programming: a longitudinal meta-analytic review.” Journal of Communication. 2007; 57: 318-48 Huesmann, L. Rowell; Moise-Titus, Jessica; Podolski, Cheryl-Lynn; & Eron, Leonard D. Longitudinal relations between children’s exposure to TV violence and their aggressive and violent behavior in young adulthood: 1977-1992. Developmental Psychology, 2003; 39(2): 210-21 Iacoboni M., “Mirroring People: The New Science of How We Connect with Others”, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, New York, NY 2008. Labrada, M.A., Belleza y racionalidad: Kant y Hegel, Pamplona, EUNSA 2000. L'Engle K, Brown J, Kenneavy K. "The mass media are an important context for adolescents' sexual behavior" Journal of Adolescent Health 2006; 38: 186-92 Liberati A, Altman DG, Tetzlaff J, Mulrow C, Gotzsche PC, Ionnidis J, et al. The Prisma Statement for Reporting Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses of Studies That Evaluate Health Care Interventions: Explanation and Elaboration. 2009; PLoS Med 6(7):e1000190. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000100 Kunkel D, Eyal K, Finnerty K, Biely E, Donnerstein E. “Sex on TV(4): a biennial report to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation 2005. Martínez-González MA, De Irala-Estévez J. “Medicina preventiva y fracaso clamoroso de la salud pública: llegamos mal porque llegamos tarde”. Med Clin (Barc) 2005; 124: 656-60 Martínez-Gonzalez MA, Gual P, Lahortiga F, Alonso Y, De Irala-Estévez J, Cervera S. “Parental factors, mass-media influences and the onset of Eating Disorders in a prospective populationbased cohort”. Pediatrics. 2003; 111: 315-20.

40


Martino SC, Collins R, Elliot MN, Strachman A, Kanouse D, Berry S. “Exposure to degrading versus nondegrading music lyrics and sexual behavior among youth.” Pediatrics. 2006; 118.2: e430-441 Martino, S, Collins, R et al. "Social cognitive processes mediating the relationship between exposure to sexual content and adolescents sexual behavior." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 89, 914-924 Pardun C, L'Engle K, Brown J. "Linking exposures to outome: Early adolescents' consumption of sexual content in six media." Mass Communication Society. 2005, 8(2): 75-91 Peterson JL, Moore KA, Furstenberg FF. “Television viewing and early initiation of sexual intercourse: is there a link?”. Journal of Homosexuality. 1991; 21: 93-118 Steele JR, Brown JD. “Adolescent room culture: studying media in the context of everyday life”. Journal of Youth Adolescence. 1995; 24:551-76 Steinberg, L, Monahan K. "Adolescents’ exposure to sexy media does not hasten the initiation of sexual intercourse”. Developmental Psychology. 2011; 47.2: 562-76 Strasburger VC. “Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and the media- are the media responsible for adolescent behavior?” Adolescence Medicine. 1997;8(3): 403-14 Pontifical Council for Social Communication, "Pornography and violence in the communication media. A pastoral response". 1989. Retrieved from: www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/pccs/documents/rc_pc_pccs_doc_07051989_por nography_en.html Villani S. "Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents: A 10- Year Review of the Research." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2001; 40: 392-401 Ward L. "Does television exposure affect emerging adults' attitudes and assumptions about sexual relationships? Correlational and experimental confirmation." Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2002: 31: 1-15

41


WE LIVE IN A PERFECT WORLD: BEAUTY AS A TRASCENDENTAL PROPERTY OF BEING

Bobrowicz, R. College of Inter-Faculty Individual Studies in the Humanities – University of Warsaw (Poland) Supervisor: Szafrański, A. Faculty of Law and Administration – University of Warsaw (Poland)

ABSTRACT This essay is trying to recall metaphysical understanding of beauty. It shows main trends of thinking about beauty in history. It is trying to define transcendentals, and concentrates on discovering beauty as one of them. In consequence it shows that beauty is a property of everything real. It shows that beauty is a synthesis of truth and goodness and grabs the aspect of perfection in all beings. It shows that by this approach we can discover the law of integrity. This essay is also trying to show, that this approach allows us to solve problems like pornography in art or roots of ugliness. This paper also touches the problem of connection between Absolute and ugliness. INTRODUCTION Beauty – in Latin pulchrum, which is a translation of greek kalos (καλός). By this word Greeks were defining properties of things (pretty, wonderful), as well as moral qualities of human (noble, good, delicate) and his behavior. Greek kalos may have his roots in a verb kalein (καλέιν) or kelein (κελέιν). Meaning of the first one is “to invite”, “to recall”, “to name”, the second one means “to fascinate”.1 On this short etymological analysis we can see, that this ancient intuitions mostly define our modern view on subject of beauty – but the outcomes went in totally different ways. Today, the most popular way of thinking about beauty is an aesthetic one, which refers to beings external only. The problem with this view, is that it creates a very subjective definition of beauty and concentrates only on a subject of cognition, not a beautiful object itself. In my opinion much more objective is the metaphysical attitude to beauty, which treats beauty as a transcendental property of being. It is referring to a process of attraction, which is engaging both will and intellect.2

Maryniarczyk, Andrzej, Racjonalność i celowość świata osób i rzeczy, Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu, Lublin, 2000, pp.106-107

1

It must be pointed, that this paper has no ambitions to refer all of modern views on beauty, even this metaphysical; it provides only one opinion, which is based on realistic concept of reality: an outcome of classical philosophy tradition and neo-scholastical views. It is inspired mostly by the Lublin School of Metaphysics.

2

42


HISTORY OF CONCEPT There are four major views on beauty in the history of this concept: objectivism, subjectivism, relationism and agnosticism. The first three are especially important because of their significant impact on the definition of beauty – they provide base for this concept. The last one is also worth noticing because of its observations and the fact that it completes the picture of beauty. The first one was created by Pythagoreans. In this view beauty is conceived as a property of thing in itself. Depending on the view it depends on harmony, proportion or integrity, which will be finally expressed in St. Thomas so-called objective definition: ad pulchritudinem tria requiruntur: integritas, consonantia, claritas3. In this conception ugliness has no ontic status – it is lack in being. Over time this three elements became synonyms of beauty, by which it started to being treated as a aesthetic cathegory. This definition caused that aesthetic approach prevailed in thinking about beauty. Subjectivism was commenced by sophists. In this conception beauty is not a property of an object but of a subject. There is a wide spectrum of views around this concept from stating that beauty is constituted by pleasure to an opinion that beautiful is that, what delights by means of eyes and ears. Relationionism has been sketched by St. Basil the Great, and continued by St. Thomas Aquinas. This conception draws from both previous views. Piotr Jaroszyński in his book Metaphysics of beauty write: “Beauty is neither a property of an object in itself nor a property of a subject, but expresses simultaneous subordination of being to the subject possessing love and intellectual cognition.” Agnosticism is in fact the most consistent view. Plato in Hippias Major wrote: Socrates: (…) So I think, Hippias, that I have been benefited by conversation with both of you ; for I think I know the meaning of the proverb "beautiful things are difficult".4 This phrase best describes this conception. Representatives of this view belive that although we may see beauty, we can’t define it in any way or formulate the nature of it in words. TRANSCENDENTALS What are transcendentals? The first references of them dates back to Plato, but the biggest breakthrough were made by St. Thomas Aquinas. He argued, that beings in their essence have certain properties. They are identical with being but do not constitute it, they depend on it and express what is actually included in being. St. Thomas pointed five transcendentals: Res, which tells us, that being carry certain content; Unum, which is a negative consequence of the first transcendental, tells us, that being is only a being, not a being and nothing in the same time; Aliquid, the first transcendental, which refers to relation, shows us that being is separated from other beings; Verum, the Truth, refers to efficient cause and shows us, that being is an effect of a certain plan. By this, it can be a subject in process of cognition – being is intelligible. And the last one, Bonum, the Goodness, is connected with a final cause – being have certain destination, certain purpose of existence. Being is lovable, can be a subject of desire. Every transcendental depends on the previous one – we can’t think of Unum, without Res; we can’t think of Verum, without Res, Unum and Aliquid together. The most problematic transcendental is beauty. In St. Thomas works, there is not much in this subject, and beauty is not even a transcendental. Although, he propose some definitions of it.

3

Three things are needed for beauty: wholeness, harmony and radiance (translation by James Joyce)

Plato, Hippias Major, transl. Benjamin Jowett, available on <http://www.ac-nice.fr/philo/textes/Plato-Works/02GreaterHippias.htm>

4

43


The most influential of them is: pulchra sunt quae visa placent5. There are three important elements in this definitions: visa placent, which refers to a subject of cognition, quae, which refers to an object, and a relation between them. As we can see, all three conceptions (objectivism, subjectivism and relationism, with an emphasis on the last one) are present in this definition. But pure objectivism and subjectivism are insufficient. The first one has to be rejected, because it gives only a partial definition – harmony, integrity or proportion refers only to some relations and carry no additional essential information. This terms are not similar – we can’t replace beauty with harmony and vice versa. The major problem with subjectivism, on the other hand, is that it ignores the fact, that our cognition is always directed towards something, and on the ground of classical philosophy the process of cognition can’t constitute anything. Therefore we should choose the relationism, because it is the only conception that grabs the wholeness of beauty. Beauty in metaphysical context was rethought in XX century by such figures as J. Maritain, E. Gilson, U. Eco, F. Kovach, M. A. Krąpiec and others.6 There was created many different point of views. Some of them opposed to a beauty as a transcendental property of being. The reasons were different: part of them were arguing that some beings seems ugly to us, and this contradicts the universality of beauty. Other argument against was that beauty is not related to a whole being, but to a formal cause only7. Regardless of this, overwhelming part of rethinkers discovered beauty as sixth transcendental. DISCOVERING THE TRANSCENDENTAL BEAUTY There are two different ways of discovering the beauty. We firstly discover it in our experience of the world, as a result of analysis of spontaneous cognition. In the chronological order of cognition beauty is the first transcendental that is striking us. It is binding person with a being. It awakes our personality by engaging both will and intellect. When we are exploring the reality we are automatically accept and intellectually perceive beings in the same time. We can’t separate the moment of acceptance and cognition. “And this acceptance is manifested as a seed of lovedelight”8.This kind of primal experience is relevant not because it shows us whole nature of transcendental beauty, but because it affects the most and by this it creates the base for next studies. More scientific method of discovering the transcendental beauty is metaphysical separation. On the first stage, in so called existential judgments, we affirm existence of particular beings. Results should be verbalized in sentences like: “John exists”, “red rose exists”, “Eve exists”. This judgments shows us two elements of being – essence and existence. On the second stage we assign this beings to intellect and will of the Creator or a maker, and by this we find that “existing John is a subject of my cognition and delight”, “existing red rose is a subject of my cognition and delight”. We can also rebuild this statement to a existential judgment: “Eve as a subject of my cognition and delight exists”.

5

That is beautiful which gives pleasure to the eye.

For more complex review of figures and views: Jaroszy ski, Piotr, Metafizyka Piękna. Próba rekonstrukcji teorii piękna w filozofii klasycznej, RW KUL, Lublin, (1986)

6

This was inspired by thought of St. Thomas (and we can observe it for example in Etienne Gilson work: Elemnts of Christian Philosophy). St. Thomas identified beauty with good in some part of his works. The difference between them, which was pointed by him, was that good is connected with final cause, and beauty is connected with formal cause.

7

8

Kr piec, Mieczys aw Albert, Metafizyka, in: Wprowadzenie do filozofii, Lublin, (1992), p. 66

44


On the third stage, we can see, that every being comes from a Creator, and by this is lovable and intelligible in the same time. By this we can conclude, that everything, which is real, is also beautiful, as a derived from the will and intellect. Beauty synthesize both of them. BEAUTY ITSELF There are different views on what is the transcendental beauty, but the most common is that beauty is a synthesis of the two previous transcendentals, truth and goodness (which can be also spotted on the effects of metaphysical separation). And this connection is something more than just a sum of them – it enhance the view on being. Transcendental understanding of beauty shows us new aspect of existence of things. They exist as objects of contemplation. Contemplation is a specific type of contact with reality – it is cognition with love. But we must remember that “Being is not beautiful because of human contemplation, but because it is assigned to intellect and will of Absolute, while our cognition discovers only this, which being itself contains”9. With transcendental beauty we can discover law of integrity (perfection), which rules the existence of being as a beauty. This law speaks: beauty is the reason for the ultimate fulfillment of the being or everything that exists is fulfilled in the synthesis of truth and goodness.10 Two previous transcendentals grabs the being in aspect of intelligibility and purposefulness, this one grabs the aspect of perfection. In this context it is worth to recall a fragment from Aristotle Metaphysics: “Perfect" <or "complete"> means: (a) That outside which it is impossible to find even a single one of its parts; e.g., the complete time of each thing is that outside which it is impossible to find any time which is a part of it. (b) That which, in respect of goodness or excellence, cannot be surpassed in its kind; e.g., a doctor and a musician are "perfect" when they have no deficiency in respect of the form of their peculiar excellence”11. With term of perfection is also strictly connected problem of nature of being. Perfect beings are this, which exist in conformity with their nature. It is especially important in case of human – as intelligent and free creatures we can search and be aware of our existence purpose, and by this pursue to fulfill perfection. And this is also important when we speak of imperfection – it is straight consequence of freedom. We could argue now about the correctness of the conception of theodicy, but this is not a subject of this paper. Nevertheless, this is the best moment to think about an opposite of beauty – ugliness. As we can see in the above quotation perfect is something that contains all of its parts, so if we want to create a contrary concept to it, we must state that ugliness is just some lack in being. It is created in reference to beauty. It can’t exist, because ugly being would be aintelligible and not wanted (it would be impossible for us to know it and every existence is strictly dependant on the Absolute will, as a pure existence). Being in its nature is perfect. It is designed to fulfill the perfection (as it was said earlier about human). On the essential level of being every lack of beauty would destroy being – it can’t exist without existence (which we can conclude only by definition), and without essence the being would be an Absolute (but it can’t be, because it doesn’t have reason of existence in it). Only possible lack can be in accidental properties, Jaroszy ski, Piotr, Metafizyka Piękna. Próba rekonstrukcji teorii piękna w filozofii klasycznej, RW KUL, Lublin, (1986) p. 105

9

Maryniarczyk, Andrzej, Racjonalność i celowość świata osób i rzeczy, Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu, Lublin, (2000)

10

11Aristotle.

Metaphysics. from: Aristotle. Aristotle in 23 Volumes. Vols.17, 18. translated by Hugh Tredennick. William Heinemann Ltd. London. (1989). available at: <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0052%3Abook%3D5%3Asection%3D 1021b>, 5. 1201b

45


because they don’t constitute being. So we can have it on qualitative level in number, quality, place, time, relationship, possession, position, sensation or/and action. Metaphysical beauty reveals to us that reality is not only a collection of particularly existing beings, but also a space of our contemplative activity. The content of this experience is expressed from subject side in such experiences like: pleasure, happiness, enjoyment, delight, friendship, and from object: harmony, commensuration, lumen, splendor, perfection. This are the aspects of love-delight experience. It would be appropriate to note that second triad of transcendentals is also connected with Aristotelian division of sciences. Theoretical are connected with truth, practical with goodness and poetical with beauty. This allows us to better understand their nature. For example, in poetical sciences we are the makers of things, which can be subjects of cognitive and desire relationship. BENEFITS OF METAPHYSICAL APPROACH Why bother metaphysical approach to beauty? Apart from better knowledge of the reality, do understanding of beauty let us solve some real problems? Or this are just some theoretical matters? In my opinion it allows us to deal with some burning problems from very practical guidance for our actions to solving the problems of existential nature. For example, metaphysical point of view, although referring to a being, may be used in a context of art. Today, it is popular to divide this synthesis. If the only value, which artist want to show in art is truth, there comes, for example, problem of pornography. The lack of love leads us to rejection of the human dignity. If only value is goodness, the art is trying to evoke emotions at all costs and starts to reach for the shocking methods of attracting. In both cases art begins to smuggle ugliness. As we can see deep misunderstanding of beauty leads to deviation and corruption in art. Transcendental understanding of beauty lets us to avoid this problems. Another, much more existential, but still very important, is problem of connection between Absolute and ugliness. This is one of these burning questions – “if God is perfect, how can there be an ugliness”. If ugliness, like we said earlier, is a lack in something (which means that it “is” nothing, not existing), and Absolute is pure existence, than there can’t be any connection between them (it is a similar way of thinking like as with the problem of evil). CONCLUSION The main problem of modern discourse is that fundamental questions, about causes (like famous, Aristotelian dia ti?) and principles of reality are ignored. We must constantly, repeatedly get back to beings in all of their aspects to control our thinking. The whole universe and whole creation is in its nature perfect. Of course we can observe some imperfection in particular beings, but it is the cost of freedom in the area of intelligent creatures: humans and angels. Misuse of freedom may undermine perfection of the world in some areas, but does not affect whole of it, because it has his reason in the Absolute. The creation can harm it, but can’t destroy it, like it can’t destroy the essential part of beings (it would be only one true destruction of the being). So the main conclusion which I would like to leave my readers with, and which is a major consequence of discovering beauty as a transcendental property is, that we live in a perfect world!

46


BIBLIOGRAPHY Aristotle. Metaphysics. from: Aristotle. Aristotle in 23 Volumes. Vols.17, 18. translated by Hugh Tredennick. William Heinemann Ltd. London. (1989). available at: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0052%3Abook%3D 5%3Asection%3D1021b Chaudhury, Pravas Jivan. “Aesthetic Metaphysics”. In: The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. Vol. 24, No. 1. Supplement to the Oriental Issue: The Aesthetic Attitude in Indian Aesthetics: Pravas Jivan Chaudhury (Autumn,1965). pp. 191-196 Gilson, Etienne. Elementy filozofii chrześcijańskiej. translated by T. Górski. Warszawa. (1965), pp. 135-151 Jaroszyński, Piotr. Metafizyka Piękna. Próba rekonstrukcji teorii piękna w filozofii klasycznej, RW KUL. Lublin. (1986) Jaroszyński, Piotr. Spór o piękno. Poznań. (1992), pp. 135-188 Kiereś, Henryk. Spór o sztukę. Lublin. (1996). pp. 126-144 Krąpiec, Mieczysław Albert. Metafizyka. in: Wprowadzenie do filozofii. Lublin. (1992). pp. 66 Maritain, Jacques. Nauka i mądrość. Fronda PL sp. z o. o.. Apostolicum. Warszawa. (2005) Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. O przyczynach, partycypacji i analogii. Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu. Lublin. (2005) Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. O rozumieniu metafizyki. Monistyczna i dualistyczna interpretacja rzeczywistośc., Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu. Lublin. (2001) Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. Odkrycie wewnętrznej struktury bytów. Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu. Lublin. (2006) Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. Pluralistyczna interpretacja rzeczywistości. Dzieje arystotelesowskiej koncepcji. Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu. Lublin. (2004) Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. Racjonalność i celowość świata osób i rzeczy. Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu. Lublin. (2000) Maryniarczyk, Andrzej. Realistyczna interpretacja rzeczywistości. Polskie Towarzystwo Tomasza z Akwinu. Lublin. (2003) Morris, Bertram. “Metaphysics of Beauty”. in The Journal of Philosophy. Vol. 32. No. 22 (Oct. 24, 1935). pp. 596-604 Plato. Hippias Major. Translalted by Benjamin Jowett, available on: http://www.acnice.fr/philo/textes/Plato-Works/02-GreaterHippias.htm Tatarkiewicz, Władysław. A history of six ideas : an essay in aesthetics, translated by Christopher Kasparek. Kluwer. Boston. (1980)

47


Tatarkiewicz Władysław. History of Aesthetics. Edited by C. Barrett. Mouton. The Hague. 1(97074) Aquinas, St. Thomas, Summa Theologicae

48


PULCHRUM AND MEDICAL AESTHETICS Silva Santos, J.A. Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain) Supervisor: Jarque, C. Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain)

INTRODUCTION As a medical student, I had the opportunity to practice in the department of psychiatry. This experience encouraged me to study a little more about the consequences of surgical interventions in the field of physical appearance. In these last four decades we have seen a change in the perception of beauty. Nowadays we give more importance to the external beauty than to the unique and genuine inner beauty. This fact reveals a preponderance of having than to be. This has made medicine to be seen not as a source of healing but as an instrument to serving the possession of a rising good, the physical beauty. So the cosmetic surgery exploded and each year more and more cosmetic surgeries are performed. The actual concept of beauty is based in informatics standards and modified photos from computer. This makes reach that kind of beauty almost impossible. This has important psychological and physical consequences. Ethical and legal problems are almost constant in this kind of surgeries. The cosmetic doctors are the most sued in the world because sometimes the results werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the best, there were too high expectations and ethical and legal procedures werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t accomplished. METHODOLOGY To do this work we decide to review and critique recent publications and analysis some books about cosmetic surgery and the psychological influence. The work was organized in two phases, first we read and choose the material to perform the work and in the second phase we selected the more important subjects, make the resume and put all together in this work. I and my director have seven meetings all over the semester to choose the articles and books and to prepare the work. The format we choose was essay, because our work is kind a meta-analysis. We have so much information that the only way to present this subject is by an essay. BEAUTY Beauty (also called prettiness, loveliness or comeliness) is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology, and culture. An "ideal beauty" is an entity which is admired, or possesses features widely attributed to beauty in a particular culture, for perfection. The experience of "beauty" often involves the interpretation of some entity as being in balance and harmony with nature, which may lead to feelings of attraction and emotional well49


being. Because this is a subjective experience, it is often said that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." There is evidence that perceptions of beauty are evolutionarily determined, that things, aspects of people and landscapes considered beautiful are typically found in situations likely to give enhanced survival of the perceiving human's genes. HISTORICAL VIEW OF BEAUTY Although style and fashion vary widely, cross-cultural research has found a variety of commonalities in people's perception of beauty. The earliest Western theory of beauty can be found in the works of early Greek philosophers from the pre-Socratic period, such as Pythagoras. The Pythagorean School saw a strong connection between mathematics and beauty. In particular, they noted that objects proportioned according to the golden ratio seemed more attractive. Ancient Greek architecture is based on this view of symmetry and proportion. Plato considered beauty to be the Idea (Form) above all other Ideas. Aristotle saw a relationship between the beautiful (to kalon) and virtue, arguing that "Virtue aims at the beautiful." Classical philosophy and sculptures of men and women produced according to the Greek philosophers' tenets of ideal human beauty were rediscovered in Renaissance Europe, leading to a re-adoption of what became known as a "classical ideal". In terms of female human beauty, a woman whose appearance conforms to these tenets is still called a "classical beauty" or said to possess a "classical beauty", whilst the foundations laid by Greek and Roman artists have also supplied the standard for male beauty in western civilization. During the Gothic era, the classical aesthetical canon of beauty was rejected as sinful. Later, the Renaissance and the Humanism rejected this view, and considered beauty as a product of rational order and harmony of proportions. Renaissance artists and architect (such as Giorgio Vasari in his "lives of artists") criticized the Gothic period as irrational and barbarian. This point of view over Gothic art lasted until Romanticism, in the 19th century. The Age of Reason saw a rise in an interest in beauty as a philosophical subject. For example, Scottish philosopher Francis Hutcheson argued that beauty is "unity in variety and variety in unity". The Romantic poets, too, became highly concerned with the nature of beauty, with John Keats arguing in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" that: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all. Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” In the Romantic period, Edmund Burke pointed out the differences between beauty in its classical meaning and Sublime. The concept of the Sublime by Burke and Kant permitted us to understand that even if Gothic art and architecture are not always "symmetrical" or adherent to classical standard of beauty as the other style, Gothic art is by no mean "ugly" or irrational: it's just another aesthetic category, the Sublime category. The 20th century saw an increasing rejection of beauty by artists and philosophers alike, culminating in postmodernism's anti-aesthetics. This is despite beauty being a central concern of one of postmodernism's main influences, Friedrich Nietzsche, who argued that the “Will to Power was the Will to Beauty”. In the aftermath of postmodernism's rejection of beauty, thinkers, such as Roger Scruton and Frederick Turner, have returned to beauty as an important value. American analytic philosopher Guy Sircello proposed his New Theory of Beauty as an effort to reaffirm the status of beauty as an important philosophical concept. Elaine Scarry also argues that beauty is related to justice.

50


Human beauty The characterization of a person as “beautiful”, whether on an individual basis or by community consensus, is often based on some combination of inner beauty, which includes psychological factors such as personality, intelligence, grace, politeness, charisma, integrity, congruence and elegance, and outer beauty (i.e. physical attractiveness) which includes physical attributes which are valued on a subjective basis. Standards of beauty have changed over time, based on changing cultural values. Historically, paintings show a wide range of different standards for beauty. However, humans who are relatively young, with smooth skin, well-proportioned bodies, and regular features, have traditionally been considered the most beautiful throughout history. A strong indicator of physical beauty is "averageness", or "koinophilia". When images of human faces are averaged together to form a composite image, they become progressively closer to the "ideal" image and are perceived as more attractive. This was first noticed in 1883, when Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, overlaid photographic composite images of the faces of vegetarians and criminals to see if there was a typical facial appearance for each. When doing this, he noticed that the composite images were more attractive compared to any of the individual images. Researchers have replicated the result under more controlled conditions and found that the computer generated, mathematical average of a series of faces is rated more favorably than individual faces. Evolutionarily, it makes logical sense that sexual creatures should be attracted to mates who possess predominantly common or average features. People are influenced by the images they see in the media to determine what is or is not beautiful. Some feminists and doctors have suggested that the very thin models featured in magazines promote eating disorders, and others have argued that the predominance of white women featured in movies and advertising leads to a egocentric concept of beauty, feelings of inferiority in women of color, and internalized racism. Effects on society Beauty presents a standard of comparison, and it can cause resentment and dissatisfaction when not achieved. People who do not fit the "beauty ideal" may be ostracized within their communities. The television sitcom Ugly Betty portrays the life of a girl faced with hardships due to society's unwelcoming attitudes toward those they deem unattractive. However, a person may also be targeted for harassment because of their beauty. In Malèna, a strikingly beautiful Italian woman is forced into poverty by the women of the community who refuse to give her work for fear that she may "woo" their husbands. The documentary “Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld” explores both the societal blessings and curses of female beauty through interviews of women considered beautiful. Researchers have found that good looking students get higher grades from their teachers than students with an ordinary appearance. Furthermore, attractive patients receive more personalized care from their doctors. Studies have even shown that handsome criminals receive lighter sentences than less attractive convicts. Studies among teens and young adults, such as those of psychiatrist and self-help author, Eva Ritvo, show that “skin conditions have a profound effect on social behavior and opportunity”. How much money a person earns may also be influenced by physical beauty. One study found that people low in physical attractiveness earn 5 to 10 percent less than ordinary looking people, who in turn earn 3 to 8 percent less than those who are considered good looking. Discrimination against others based on their appearance is known as “lookism”.

51


St. Augustine said of beauty "Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked." MEDICAL AESTHETICS Medical Aesthetics is a branch of medicine which deals with beautification of body with help of medical knowledge and surgery. It primarily covers treatments involved with the skin, though other parts of the body may be involved. Medical aestheticans find employment with dermatologists, hospitals, laser skin care clinics and spas. In cases involving medical problems such as trauma, plastic surgery, cancer treatment and burn recovery, medical aesthetic procedures may be invoked for preventive or palliative reasons. In other cases, medical aesthetic procedures may be involved for cosmetic purposes. Medical aesthetics complements reconstruction surgery and the need for surgeons to incorporate this aesthetic sense, of how faces should be sculpted with soft tissue and bone, has been felt. The terms "medical aesthetics" and "medical cosmetology" are sometimes used ambiguously. Peng, Whang and Zhou (2000) opine that "the task of medical aesthetics is to study the human body in its entirety, concentrating on both internal and external beauty and put the findings into practice, whereas the task of medical cosmetology is to study and assess only the external beauty of the human body and to take action on that basis." In the classical sense, the term "medical aesthetics" refers to the discipline of aesthetics in the field of medicine. However, skin care commercial entities have begun to describe personnel carrying out cosmetic intervention as "medical aestheticians". This has led to the term being considered disreputable in the medical fraternity. There is debate as to the relation between medical aesthetics on the one hand and classical sub disciplines of medicine such as dermatology and reconstructive/plastic surgery. Medical professionals often come to this field through dermatology. Considered to be a growth industry, medical aesthetics is a booming field according to some experts. Medical cosmetology is criticized at times for the overwhelming majority of interventions for purely cosmetic or commercial reasons. This field has seen rapid progress amongst the Chinese medical community from the 1980s onwards. Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Plastic surgery is a medical specialty concerned with the correction or restoration of form and function. Though cosmetic or aesthetic surgery is the best-known kind of plastic surgery, most plastic surgery is not cosmetic: plastic surgery includes many types of reconstructive surgery, hand surgery, microsurgery, and the treatment of burns. RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY Reconstructive surgery is, in its broadest sense, the use of surgery to restore the form and function of the body, although maxillo-facial surgeons, plastic surgeons and otolaryngologists do reconstructive surgery on faces after trauma and to reconstruct the head and neck after cancer. Other branches of surgery (e.g., general surgery, gynecological surgery, pediatric surgery, cosmetic surgery) also perform some reconstructive procedures. The common feature is that the operation attempts to restore the anatomy or the function of the body part to normal. Reconstructive plastic surgeons use the concept of a reconstructive ladder to manage increasingly complex wounds. This ranges from very simple techniques such as primary closure and dressings to more complex skin grafts, tissue expansion and free flaps. 52


Aesthetic plastic surgery can also be called as Medical aesthetics involves techniques intended for the "enhancement" of appearance through surgical and medical techniques, and is specifically concerned with maintaining normal appearance, restoring it, or enhancing it beyond the average level toward some aesthetic ideal. COSMETIC SURGERY In 2006, nearly 11 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the United States alone. The number of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States has increased over 50 percent since the start of the century. Nearly 12 million cosmetic procedures were performed in 2007, with the five most common surgeries being breast augmentation, liposuction, nasal surgery, eyelid surgery and abdominoplasty. In Europe, the second largest market for cosmetic procedures, cosmetic surgery is a $2.2 billion business. Cosmetic surgery is now very common in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. In Asia, cosmetic surgery has become an accepted practice, and China, followed by India has become Asia's biggest cosmetic surgery markets. Children undergoing cosmetic eye surgery can be seen in Japan and South Korea. “BAD” PLASTIC SURGERY? Is bad plastic surgery akin to pornography in that we can’t necessarily define it, but we know it when we see it? We’ve all seen the pictures of celebrities who have taken the “pursuit of perfection” a step or two too far. We’ve watched as everyday people have become celebrities for no other reason than their outrageous plastic surgery exploits. We’ve read the news stories about those who have given their lives in exchange for a chance at a more svelte physique. Chances are that you may even know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who has lived a plastic surgery nightmare. Obviously, when a life is lost, something has gone horribly wrong. When the tip of a patient’s new nose turns black and falls off, something has gone horribly wrong. When a patient is left with permanent, debilitating pain or paralysis, something has gone horribly wrong. But what about the sheer aesthetics of it all? Beauty is subjective. So what sets apart “different strokes for different folks” from plastic surgery that has truly gone wrong? In The Eye Of The Beholder While we may look at an over-tightened face lift and think it’s strange and even a bit tragic, the person with that wind-swept face may feel 20 years younger. And while many ethical plastic surgeons will turn away a patient who is asking for something that the surgeon feels is not in his or her best interest, there will always be another surgeon who will do it. Who’s to say, after all, how smooth is too smooth, and how tight is too tight? Of course you’ve heard the saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” Should the saying be extended to include too smooth, too tight, too firm, and too busty? More Than Skin-Deep While bad aesthetic outcomes are certainly a great concern, there are larger issues at stake as well. Common complications following plastic surgery include infection, necrosis, wound separation, fluid collections or abscesses, and blood clots. When recognized right away, many of these problems can be successfully treated. However, these and other problems can also become much more serious.

53


When plastic surgery goes really wrong, the result can be permanent pain, disfigurement due to severe scarring or asymmetry, paralysis, or even death. It’s a sad fact that people do lose their lives every day as a result of something going wrong during or after surgery, and plastic surgery is no exception. However, it is helpful to understand that death rates in plastic surgery are relatively low compared to death rates in surgery overall. This is due in large part to the fact that plastic surgery is elective and most surgeons will refuse to operate on a patient they feel is a poor (high-risk) candidate. Nonetheless, the worst-case scenario does happen. The Truth About “Non-Invasive” Procedures Regardless of marketing hype, serious (even life-threatening) complications are not limited to actual surgical procedures. Cosmetic treatments touted as minimally invasive or even noninvasive can go wrong as well. Take the case of 50 year old Susan Brewer, who signed up for a series of lipodissolve treatments, given by her family practitioner, who had taken a weekend certification course to be able to offer the lipodissolve treatments. After two treatment sessions, she developed two hematomas which later blistered and broke open. One of these now open wounds became infected, quickly devolving into a gaping hole in her abdomen that was one inch deep and three and a half inches in diameter. Susan suffered with nausea and fever for three days, but was successfully treated for the infection. Since then, she has had to see a plastic surgeon to cut out the dead tissue and close the wound. She is now left with a large scar on what was supposed to be her new slimmer, tauter abdomen. PLASTIC SURGERY OBSESSION With increased media attention on beauty and perfection, celebrities and those alike are turning to plastic surgery more and more. Some take out loans for this purpose; one woman spent over $83,000 for 14 surgeries. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a disorder resulting in the sufferer becoming “preoccupied with what they regard as defects in their bodies or faces.” While 2% of people suffer from body dysmorphic disorder in the United States, 15% of patients seeing a dermatologist and cosmetic surgeons have the disorder. Half of the patients with the disorder who have cosmetic surgery preformed are not pleased with the aesthetic outcome. BDD can lead to suicide in some of its sufferers. While many with BDD seek cosmetic surgery, the procedures do not treat BDD, and can ultimately worsen the problem. The psychological root of the problem is usually unidentified; therefore causing the treatment to be even more difficult. Some say that the fixation or obsession with correction of the area could be a sub-disorder such as anorexia or muscle dysmorphia. ETHICS IN PLASTICAL SURGERY Basic Ethics A good plastic surgeon walks a fine line between the Hippocratic ideal of “doing no harm” and giving the patient what he or she asks for. Obviously, the surgeon should put the health and safety of the patient first in deciding whether or not to accommodate a patient’s request for a particular procedure. Ethics dictate that he or she would not perform any procedure with the written consent of the patient. Nor would the surgeon perform surgery on a minor without the consent of his or her legal guardian(s).

54


Ethical Gray Areas The former are more than matters of ethics, they are matters of law. There are ethical gray areas, though, like answering the question, “How much risk is too much risk?” More gray areas emerge when it comes to using newer, less tested (or untested) surgical techniques. One line that seems to be blurred a bit too frequently is that of the ideal of full disclosure to patients regarding the scope of the surgeon’s experience with a new technique or piece of surgical equipment. The issues of ethics become even more complex where mental and emotional state of the patient is concerned, and there is a good deal of psychology involved. How does the surgeon determine when “enough is enough”, in the case of a person who displays signs of plastic surgery addiction? How does the surgeon deal with a patient displaying signs of body dysmorphic disorder---a condition in which the patient perceives flaws that are not really there, and wants them corrected…NOW!? Patient Screening A surgeon also needs to do a good deal of evaluative screening before agreeing to operate on a patient. He or she needs to ask questions that help him or her to accurately ascertain both the emotional state and the expectations of the patient. Does the patient fantasize that surgery will magically turn him into a Brad Pitt look-alike? Does the patient hope that larger breasts will save her marriage? Or is he / she envisioning a full-body liposuction procedure that will erase 50 lbs of cheeseburger-induced blubber? The Eye of the Beholder The gray areas don’t stop at a patient's mental and emotional state. Beauty is subjective, and what is aesthetically pleasing to the surgeon may differ from what the patient imagines as an ideal result. Good communication is the key here. So, where does a surgeon draw the line? How tight is too tight for a face lift? What should a surgeon do when asked to perform a surgery he or she believes is not in the best interest of the patient in an aesthetic sense? (i.e., it will make the patient look worse instead of better---Michael Jackson’s nose comes to mind) A Judgment Call Ultimately, it is up to each surgeon to call upon his or her experience, training, and judgment to make the decision of when to operate, when not to operate, and when to refer the patient to another medical professional, such as a qualified psychiatrist. PLASTIC SURGERY: BEAUTY OR BEAST? Before the makeover, DeLisa Stiles--a therapist and captain in the Army Reserves--complained of looking too masculine. But on Fox's reality TV makeover show, "The Swan 2," she morphed into a beauty queen after a slew of plastic surgery procedures--a brow lift, lower eye lift, mid-face lift, fat transfer to her lips and cheek folds, laser treatments for aging skin, tummy tuck, breast lift, liposuction of her inner thighs and dental procedures. The Fox show gives contestants plastic surgery and then has them compete in a beauty pageant, which last year Stiles won. "The Swan" and other such plastic-surgery shows, including ABC's "Extreme Makeover" and MTV's "I Want a Famous Face," are gaining steam, but some psychologists are concerned about the psychological impact on those who undergo such drastic cosmetic surgery--and also on those who don't and may feel inadequate as a result. While such radical transformations are rare, some psychologists plan to investigate the surge in cosmetic procedures and whether these surgeries have any lasting psychological consequences. 55


The number of cosmetic procedures increased by 44 percent from 2003 to 2004, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Plastic surgeons conducted a record 11.9 million procedures last year, including nonsurgical procedures like Botox and surgical procedures like breast augmentation or liposuction. How do such procedures affect patients psychologically? A recent analysis of 37 studies on patients' psychological and psychosocial functioning before and after cosmetic surgery by social worker Roberta Honigman and psychiatrists Katharine Phillips, MD, and David Castle, MD, suggests positive outcomes in patients, including improvements in body image and possibly a quality-of-life boost too. But the same research also found several predictors of poor outcomes, especially for those who hold unrealistic expectations or have a history of depression and anxiety. The researchers found that patients who are dissatisfied with surgery may request repeat procedures or experience depression and adjustment problems, social isolation, family problems, self-destructive behaviors and anger toward the surgeon and his or her staff. Overall, there are more questions than answers regarding psychological effects of cosmetic surgery: There are few longitudinal studies and many contradictory findings, researchers note. Many studies also contain small sample sizes and short follow-ups with patients, says Castle, a professor and researcher at the Mental Health Research Institute of Victoria in Victoria, Australia. "We really need good, large prospective studies of representative samples of patients, using well-established research instruments," Castle says. "While most people do well in terms of psychosocial adjustment after such procedures, some do not, and the field needs to be aware of this and to arrange screening for such individuals." In particular, the extent to which cosmetic surgery affects patients' relationships, selfesteem and quality of life in the long-term offers many research opportunities for psychologists, says psychologist Diana Zuckerman, PhD, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families, a think tank that focuses on health and safety issues for women, children and families. "These are fascinating issues for psychologists to look at--from the cultural phenomena to the interpersonal phenomena to the mental health and self-esteem issues," Zuckerman says. In addition, plastic-surgery issues will increasingly affect clinician psychologists, and the area will offer new roles for them--such as conducting pre- and post-surgical patient assessments, says psychologist David Sarwer, PhD, director of the Education, Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has studied appearance-related psychological issues, including cosmetic surgery, for the last 10 years. "As the popularity of plastic surgery continues to grow, many psychologists likely already have--or will encounter--a patient that has thought about or undergone a cosmetic procedure," he says. Therefore it will be increasingly important for psychologists to be able to talk with patients about their appearance concerns and what may make some one a good or bad candidate for cosmetic surgery, he says. CONCLUSIONS In the majority of cases Plastic surgery is a need, like in burns, in traffic accidents for recovery and reconstruction, in cancer (as breast cancer for mamoplasty) and as a palliative treatment for another kind of cancer, for instance throat cancer. But when is used with senseless can cause really damage, physical and psychological. The doctor must have a very good formation and be very prepared to deal with the patient and to decide if the patient is ready physical and psychological prepared for the treatment.

56


Nowadays media have a great influence in the way we think, in the way we act, in the way we dress, in the way we eat and of course in the way we percept and understand beauty. Actually, sometimes media transmits a beauty’s ideal unreal, too much perfect, too much unnatural. This could lead some people to take habits and dangerous medical treatments to reach those unrealistic goals of beauty. This could have bad consequences for their health and them psychology. Very often, who tries to change the body is someone who can’t accept himself. Some people with some kind of dismorphophobia see some part of the body always in a bad way, is almost impossible be satifacted with their own body. This is a mental disease no a esthetical problem. It’s harder change your mind than change your body. In some cases change our body is very easy, one medical surgery and you have a new nose. But change your mind, your values, and the way one see himself could take years. So is easier and faster change the body, we correct the symptom not the problem. With plastic surgery all the changes we made have one objective: make the patient “beauty”. But there is a big consequence: the patient looses his identity because he becomes more likely a standard of beauty. Imagine that all the man in the world make a surgery to look like Brad Pitt and the women like Angelina. We all lose our identity, the world will be so boring and past a few years the standard of beauty will change, and we will need a new plastic surgery. To be beautiful we need to be one of a kind. It’s simple, easier and rational. What makes ones beauty? Personality, character, values… Why try to be as a super model? They are tiny (very tiny) and they are almost the same (high, with long legs, with a good sense of balance…). To be beauty, be genuine, be beautiful, be you. BIBLIOGRAPHY Honigman, R., Phillips, K., & Castle, D.J. (2004). A review of psychosocial outcomes for patients seeking cosmetic surgery. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 113(4), 1229–1237. Rankin, M., Borah, G., Perry, A., & Wey, P. (1998). Quality-of-life outcomes after cosmetic surgery. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 102(6), 2139–2145. Thompson, J.K., Heinberg, L.J., Altabe, M.N, & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2004). Extracting beauty: Theory, assessment and treatment of body image disturbance. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Mayville, S.B., Williamson, D.A., White, M.A., Netemeyer, R.G. & Drab, D.L. (2002). Development of the Muscle Appearance Satisfaction Scale; a self-report measure for the assessment of muscle dysmorphia symptoms. Assessment, 9(4), 351 – 360. Devantier, Alecia T.; Turkington, Carol (December 2006). "Medical Aesthetician". Extraordinary Jobs in Health and Science. Infobase Publishing. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-0-8160-5858-7. Retrieved 21 December 2011 Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation, May/June issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal (Vol. 25, No. 3, pages 263-269) Alan Feingold, PhD, in the March 1992 issue of APA's Psychological Bulletin (Vol. 111, No. 2, pages 304-341).

57


Psychological Aspects of Reconstructive and Cosmetic Plastic Surgery: Clinical, Empirical and Ethical Perspectives" (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005) Nogal, Powel; Lewiński,Andrzej (01.03.2008). "Anorexia Nervosa". Endokrynologia Polska/Polish Journal of Endocrinology 59 (2): 148–155. ISSN 0423–104X. Rosen J.C., Reiter J, Orosan P (1995). "Assessment of body image in eating disorders with the body dysmorphic disorder examination". Behaviour Research and Therapy 33 (1): 77– 84. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(94)E0030-M. PMID 7872941. Neil, Frude (1998). Understanding abnormal psychology. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-63116195-0. Retrieved 4 February 2012.

58


CEREBRO. MÚSICA. EMOCIÓN. Monzón, P. Shanhutov, O. Román, F. Universidad de Navarra (Spain) Supervisor: Echarte, L. Universidad de Navarra (Spain)

ABSTRACT If we understand human being as a psychosomatic unity (from Greek psyché, soul, and soma, body), we should state categorically that this close relationship seems to occur particularly in the brain. From the metaphysical exploration of Beauty, this paper pretends to investigate its relationship with music, and elucidate the neural basis necessary to understand the musical event in all its dimensions. Music, by its physical, emotional and cognitive dimension, offers an interesting approach to the anthropological reality from the neurobiological point of view. In a comprehensive review on the relationship between brain and music, we present a synthetic overview of the brain structures involved in processing music, introducing the concept of unity as a link between these two realities. It follows the latest scientific findings that man, by his physicality, has an innate ability to listen and make music. At the same time, it becomes clear that the neurological substrate is necessary but not sufficient to explain the musical phenomenon: the brain, rather, would serve the transcendence. RESUMEN Si entendemos al ser humano como unidad psicosomática (del griego, psyché, alma y soma, cuerpo), deberíamos afirmar categóricamente que esa relación estrecha parece darse particularmente en el cerebro. Partiendo de la exploración metafísica de la Belleza, este documento se propone investigar sus relaciones con la música, y cuáles son los sustratos cerebrales imprescindibles para entender el acontecimiento musical en todas sus dimensiones. La música, por su dimensión física, afectiva y cognitiva, nos ofrece un interesante acercamiento a la realidad antropológica desde el punto de vista neurobiológico. En una exhaustiva revisión bibliográfica sobre la relación entre cerebro y música, presentamos un sintético resumen sobre las estructuras cerebrales implicadas en el procesamiento musical, introduciendo el concepto de unidad como nexo entre estas dos realidades. Se desprende de los últimos hallazgos científicos que el hombre, por su corporalidad, posee una capacidad innata de escuchar y hacer música. Al mismo tiempo, se hace evidente que el sustrato neurológico es necesario pero no suficiente para explicar el fenómeno musical: el cerebro, más bien, estaría al servicio de la trascendencia.

59


INTRODUCCIÓN “En su estado puro la música es una especulación libre; los creadores de todos los tiempos han sido siempre portadores de este concepto.”1 La música está presente en la vida del ser humano, enriqueciendo su existencia, como un modo de comunicación artística desde la Antigüedad, pues ya Aristóteles promulgaba la educación de los jóvenes en el arte musical2. A la música se le ha atribuido el poder de expresar sentimientos, y acompaña los momentos de júbilo o de dolor y lamento. Unos autores han definido la música como un lenguaje universal, mientras que otros la entienden como un mecanismo biológico ligado a la evolución. Para los románticos la música era, sin duda, un medio para llegar al Absoluto. Sin embargo, la música sigue siendo un gran misterio. Ahora, gracias el desarrollo imponente de la neurociencia y de las técnicas de neuroimagen, sabemos un poco más sobre el papel de nuestro cerebro en el fenómeno musical, y este conocimiento ha permitido arrojar más luz sobre la experiencia musical del hombre. BELLEZA Y SER “Nadie mejor que vosotros, artistas, geniales constructores de belleza, puede intuir algo del pathos con el que Dios, en el alba de la creación, contempló la obra de sus manos. Un eco de aquel sentimiento se ha reflejado infinitas veces en la mirada con que vosotros, al igual que los artistas de todos los tiempos, atraídos por el asombro del ancestral poder de los sonidos y de las palabras, de los colores y de las formas, habéis admirado la obra de vuestra inspiración, descubriendo en ella como la resonancia de aquel misterio de la creación a la que Dios, único creador de todas las cosas, ha querido en cierto modo asociaros”.3 Comienza de este modo la Carta a los artistas de Juan Pablo II, con palabras ardientes que penetran en la esencia de la Belleza, misterio inefable y llamada a lo trascendente. Desde que el hombre existe, ha sentido un anhelo de infinitud, de eternidad, que los Antiguos explicaban con el mito del ser andrógino, un ser condenado a errar hasta encontrar su otra mitad para completar su esencia4. El artista da respuesta a este deseo de eternidad a través de la creación artística, en una búsqueda de la posesión constante del bien. La auténtica intuición artística brota de lo más íntimo del ser, va más allá de lo que perciben los sentidos y, penetrando la realidad, intenta interpretar su misterio escondido, en una visión fulgurante de la Belleza, que como explica Aristóteles, poco tiene que ver con lo que place a los sentidos, con la deleitación de lo sensible5. El principio de comportamiento ante la obra de arte es la contemplación, la catarsis entendida como purificación del alma6. En esta línea, el profesor Tolkien desarrolla una interesante teoría de la estética de herencia Tomista. En Mitopoeia (el arte de hacer Mitos) expresa la divinidad del acto creativo, considerándolo una participación en la Creación, definiendo al artista como subcreador por ser imagen y semejanza de la Luz primigenia: 1

Stravinsky, Igor. Poética musical. Taurus, (1986).

2

Aristóteles. Politica, VIII, 1546. Gredos, Madrid (1986).

3

Juan Pablo II. Carta a los artistas. Vaticano, 4 de abril de 1999, Pascua de Resurrección.

4

Cfr. Platón. El Banquete. Madrid, Alianza (2006).

5

Cfr. Aristóteles. Poética. Gredos, Madrid (1986).

6

Dahlhaus, Carl, Estética de la música. Reichenberg. Berlín, (1996).

60


«…hombre, subcreador, luz refractada a través del cual se separa en fragmentos de Blanco de numerosos matices que se continúan sin fin en formas vivas que van de mente en mente»7 Por esta razón, todo artista es consciente de que lo que pinta, esculpe o crea es sólo un tenue reflejo del esplendor que durante unos instantes ha brillado ante los ojos de su espíritu. Por eso la belleza de las cosas creadas no puede saciar del todo y suscita esa arcana nostalgia de Dios: «¡Tarde te amé, belleza tan antigua y tan nueva, tarde te amé!»8 Por naturaleza, el arte musical es el más abstracto, el más espiritual, el menos evidente, el que menos obstáculos presenta en la superación de la objetividad material de las cosas9. Lo que se presenta evidente a la vista, aparece sutil al oído, lleno de suaves matices que representan las ideas más elevadas. En efecto, en los ritmos y en las melodías se dan imitaciones muy perfectas de la verdadera naturaleza de las disposiciones morales del hombre10. La música parece la más adecuada de las artes para penetrar la esencia de las cosas: capaz de cautivar al hombre en todo su ser, actúa como puente entre materia y espíritu para alcanzar el Absoluto. Para Stravinsky, la trascendencia en la música no era algo ilusorio: en la realidad musical percibimos lo múltiple, y es el artista quien siente la necesidad de poner orden a las cosas, porque lo múltiple tiene el valor de aludir a lo uno, así como la disonancia alude a la consonancia. Por tanto, de lo múltiple el artista desvela lo Uno, y la unidad de la obra de arte tiene su resonancia. La Belleza absoluta es Una y multiforme, y también las bellezas relativas poseen cada una su forma. La fuente de estas formas es siempre la misma, pues trasciende al autor de la obra de arte: está fuera y por encima de él11. El eco de la Belleza primigenia, que rebasa nuestra alma, resuena en nuestros prójimos, uno tras otro. La obra cumplida se difunde, pues, para comunicarse, y retorna finalmente a su principio. El ciclo entonces queda cerrado. Y es así como se nos aparece la música: como un elemento de comunión con el prójimo y con el Ser.12 DE LA METAFÍSICA A LA NEUROCIENCIA El hombre posee ciertas características biológicas, que lo llevan a ser el único animal biológicamente indeterminado, motivo por el cual sería un buen candidato a la extinción. Pero contrariamente a lo esperado, no es así, sino todo lo contrario. Ya en la época Antigua se nos revela el hecho que el hombre no tiene ni armas ni defensas naturales con las cuales sobrevivir, pero como nos dice Platón, el hombre posee el fuego, entendido por la hermenéutica como la inteligencia, la racionalidad. También Aristóteles reflexiona sobre el cuerpo humano, especialmente en la anatomía de la mano y afirma «las manos son instrumento de instrumentos», afirmación por la cual nos damos cuenta que el hombre desde un punto de vista biológico: estando ya anatómicamente indeterminado, es poseedor de una libertad de la que los otros animales no están dotados. Salta a la vista que un caballo no tiene capacidad anatómica de fabricar, y menos de fabricar algo que le ayude a fabricar. 7

J.R.R. Tolkien, Mitopoeia, en Árbol y Hoja, p. 137, Minotauro (1997).

8

San Agustín. Confesiones, 10, 27, 38: CCL 27, 251. Gredos, Madrid (2010).

9

Cfr. Copland A. Music and imagination. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (1952).

10

Aristóteles, Política VIII, 1554. Gredos, Madrid (1986).

Moya Blanco, Luis. Consideraciones para una nueva teoría de la estética. Ediciones Universitarias, Pamplona (1999).

11

12

Stravinsky, Igor. Poética musical. Taurus, (1986).

61


También podemos observar el hecho que el hombre es un animal muy prematuro en comparación a otros animales, que nacen ya muy desarrollados y con una menor necesidad de tiempo para adaptarse al medio. Pero el hombre, suple el hecho de estar menos adaptado al medio que muchos otros animales en la época postnatal temprana mediante la implantación de la sociedad, un organismo propio solamente del hombre. Entonces, podemos decir que ya en las características biológicas de la corporalidad humana vemos cierta capacidad o potencialidad de trascender. A pesar de esto no afirmamos que en la corporalidad humana esté lo trascendente, como ciertas tendencias materialistas actuales nos intentan transmitir constantemente. Del modo en el que vemos en las manos, y en otros múltiples rasgos biológicos que el hombre ya muestras signos de poder trascender lo material mediante su cuerpo, lo vemos de modo especial en el cerebro, específicamente en el procesamiento del fenómeno sonoro. A continuación describiremos las estructuras corporales implicadas en la percepción de la música. FISIOLOGÍA DE LA AUDICIÓN En el hombre, el oído representa uno de los sentidos especiales de mayor sensibilidad, puesto que es capaz de responder a estímulos energéticos de orden infinitesimal. 13El oído humano se divide en tres partes: oído externo, oído medio y oído interno. El oído externo está formado por pabellón de la oreja, conducto auditivo externo y la membrana timpánica. Las ondas sonoras llegan al oído por el canal auditivo externo hasta la membrana timpánica que es la que separa el oído externo del oído medio. El oído medio está compuesto por una cadena de huesecillos: martillo, yunque y el estribo. Cabe destacar que son los huesos más diminutos que existen en el cuerpo humano. La función del oído interno es servir de puente entre el medio aéreo (oído externo) y el medio acuoso (oído interno).14 El oído interno o cóclea se encuentra situado en el interior del hueso temporal del cráneo. La cóclea en realidad no es más que un tubo enrollado en espiral alrededor del eje óseo llamado modiolo. Si cortamos este tubo transversalmente, observamos tres rampas que son: central, superior o inferior. Tanto rampa vestibular como rampa timpánica contienen en su interior el líquido perilinfático que establece comunicación con el endolinfático en el helicotrema. El Órgano de Corti es un complejo neuroepitelial situado en la rampa media sobre la membrana basilar. Este órgano es el receptor auditivo15. Contiene varios tipos de células, las de sostén y las neuroepiteliales. Cuando llega un estímulo sonoro, el tímpano recibe la vibración y la transmite a la cóclea a través de la cadena de huesecillos. El líquido interno de la cóclea hace vibrar la membrana basilar. La vibración de la membrana basilar provoca que los cilios de las células neuroepiteliales situadas en la superficie del órgano de Corti, sean movidas anterógradamente o retrógradamente como consecuencia de su deslizamiento contra la membrana tectorial.16 Este estímulo mecánico provoca la apertura de canales iónicos de las células ciliadas, despolarizando la célula. De esta forma, el estímulo mecánico se transforma en un estímulo eléctrico. Cabe destacar que ya en la cóclea acontece una primera organización espacial de la frecuencia. En la parte distal de la cóclea se localizan células sensibles a frecuencias bajas (20 13

Hawkins, J.E. Hearing. Annual Review of Physiology (1964). Vol. 26: 453-480.

14

Eldredge, D.H., Miller JD. Physiology of hearing. Annu Rev Physiol. (1971);33:281-310.

15

Kimura, R.S. The ultrastructure of the organ of Corti. Int Rev Cytol. (1975);42:173-222.

Haines, D.H.. Fundamental Neuroscience for Basic and Clinical Applications. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, USA (2006).

16

62


Herzios), y en la porción final se encuentran células que responden a frecuencias muy altas (20.000 Herzios)17. Entre las dos regiones, se sitúa toda la gama de frecuencias audible por el ser humano. El estímulo mecánico que han codificado las células ciliadas en forma de corriente eléctrica, es conducido a través de fibras aferentes que ascienden hacia la corteza auditiva cerebral. En ese camino hacen sinapsis con otros sistemas neuronales implicados en la localización del sonido y en la modulación de la respuesta efectora18. Finalmente, llegan al Tálamo, una especie de filtro de las sensaciones percibidas, y desde el Núcleo Geniculado Medial del Tálamo, estas fibras proyectan a la corteza cerebral auditiva. PROCESAMIENTO CEREBRAL: FUNDAMENTOS NEUROANATÓMICOS Durante el sorprendente desarrollo embriológico del ser humano, la ontogénesis del sistema nervioso central destaca por su complejidad y alto grado de estructuración19. Cuando el embrión apenas cuenta con unas pocas semanas de vida, en el cerebro tienen lugar asombrosos fenómenos de organización morfológica. Los hemisferios cerebrales comienzan a desarrollarse a principios de la quinta semana de vida intrauterina a partir de evaginaciones laterales del prosencéfalo. Estas evaginaciones o vesículas telencefálicas crecen exponencialmente, y envuelven las estructuras diencefálicas. En la décima semana se ha formado el pallium, primordio de la corteza cerebral, que queda externa a todas las estructuras del encéfalo. En la corteza, pronto se empiezan a distinguir por su rápido crecimiento el lóbulo frontal y el temporal, que supondrán, en gran medida, el sustrato neural necesario para las funciones superiores propias del ser humano. Es en el lóbulo temporal del cerebro donde se asienta la corteza auditiva primaria, en la zona medial del giro temporal superior, mejor conocido como Gyrus de Heschl, correspondiente al área 41 de Brodmann20,21. Esta región recibe la información sensorial auditiva del tálamo y, mediante proyecciones corticales eferentes, establece un circuito bidireccional con el Núcleo Geniculado Medial del tálamo, lo que sugiere un control cortical sobre los estímulos que recibe a través de este núcleo22. La corteza auditiva secundaria se extiende al lado de la corteza auditiva primaria, también en el Gyrus de Heschl, encargada de procesar la información de la corteza auditiva primaria. Todo el conjunto constituye una zona con entidad propia tanto en el sentido citoarquitectónico como en el funcional23, 24. Uno de los hallazgos más sorprendentes de los últimos años es el gran desarrollo fisiológico y morfológico de la corteza auditiva en los músicos, a diferencia de los no músicos. De modo notable, los músicos presentan un mayor volumen (130%) de sustancia gris en el Gyrus de

17

Montilla, P.. El cerebro y la música. Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Córdoba, (1999).

Masterton, R.B. Neurobehavioral studies of the central auditory system. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol Suppl. (1997);168:31-4.

18

19

Langman, J.. Embriología médica. Importecnica, Madrid, (1976)

Zetzsche, T., Meisenzahl, E.M., Preuss, U.W., Holder, J.J., Kathmann, N., Leinsinger, G., Hahn, K., Hegerl, U., Moller, H.J.. (2001). In-vivo analysis of the human planum temporale (PT): does the definition of PT borders influence the results with regard to cerebral asymmetry and correlation with handedness? Psychiatry Res 107:99–115.

20

21

W. Dauber. Feneis. Nomenclatura Anatómica Ilustrada. Masson (2006).

D. H. Haines. Fundamental Neuroscience for Basic and Clinical Applications. Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, USA (2006).

22

Griffiths TD, Buchel C, Frackowiak RS, Patterson RD. Analysis of temporal structure in sound by the human brain. Nat Neurosci (1998) 1:422– 427.

23

Platel H, Price C, Baron JC, Wise R, Lambert J, Frackowiak RS, Lechevalier B, Eustache F. (1997). The structural components of music perception: a functional anatomical study. Brain 120(Pt 2): 229 –243.

24

63


Helsch respecto a los no músicos25. En la misma línea, estudios de individuos con “oído absoluto” ha revelado una sorprendente asimetría de la corteza auditiva primaria: los individuos con “oído absoluto” mostraban un aumento enorme del volumen de la corteza auditiva primaria izquierda26, 27, 28. No obstante, no sólo existen diferencias en la corteza auditiva primaria, de hecho, un gran número de estudios de neuroimagen muestran diferencias estructurales también en la corteza motora29, somatosensorial30 y en la zona de comunicación interhemisférica llamada cuerpo calloso31,. Parece que estas modificaciones cerebrales son a posteriori, por ser directamente proporcionales al tiempo e intensidad del entrenamiento musical. Estos hallazgos realzan la estrecha relación entre forma y función presente en el cerebro, así como su gran capacidad de adaptación32 y plasticidad33. LA PERCEPCIÓN MUSICAL El proceso de la percepción puramente sonora sigue un sencillo esquema de análisis y síntesis34. El estímulo sonoro se descompone en sus cualidades fundamentales, estudiadas en profundidad por la psicología musical: tono, timbre, ritmo e intensidad. Este modelo ha sido confirmado por numerosos estudios con técnicas de neuroimagen que nos permiten reconocer las regiones del cerebro que se estimulan eléctricamente. Desde el punto de vista neuropsicológico, los procesos de percepción musical obedecen a leyes organizativas, análogas a las leyes de percepción visual, según principios gestálticos de similaridad, proximidad y continuidad35. La corteza auditiva se relaciona con otras áreas corticales a través de neuronas de axón largo. Estas conexiones asociativas son básicamente tres: corteza prefrontal, regiones multimodulares y sistema límbico36. Todas estas áreas, junto con las cortezas auditivas realizan tres funciones primordiales: percepción del estímulo sonoro, discriminación e identificación de

Limb, Charles J.. Structural and Functional Neural Correlates of Music Perception. The Anatomical Record, Part A 288A:435–446 (2006)

25

Schneider, P., Sluming, V., Roberts, N., Scherg, M., Goebel, R., Specht, H.J., Dosch, H.G., Bleeck, S., Stippich, C., Rupp, A. (2005). Structural and functional asymmetry of lateral Heschl’s gyrus reflects pitch perception preference. Nat Neurosci 8:1241–1247.

26

Zatorre, R.J., Perry, D.W., Beckett, C.A., Westbury, C.F., Evans, A.C.. Functional anatomy of musical processing in listeners with absolute pitch and relative pitch. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1998); 95: 3172–7.

27

Keenan, J.P., Thangaraj, V., Halpern, A.R., Schlaug, G. (2001). Absolute pitch and planum temporale. Neuroimage 14:1402–1408

28

Amunts, K., Schlaug, G., Jancke, L., Steinmetz, H., Schleicher, A., Dabringhaus, A., et al. Motor cortex and hand motor skills: structural compliance in the human brain. Hum Brain Mapp (1997); 5: 206–15.

29

Gaser, C., Schlaug, G. Brain structures differ between musicians and non-musicians. Neurosci, J. (2003); 23: 9240–5.

30

Schlaug, G., Jancke, L., Huang, Y., Staiger, J.F., Steinmetz, H. 1995a. Increased corpus callosum size in musicians. Neuropsychologia 33: 1047–1055.

31

Gougoux, F., Zatorre, R.J., Lassonde, M., Voss, P., Lepore, F.. A Functional Neuroimaging Study of Sound Localization: Visual Cortex Activity predicts Performance in Early-Blind Individuals. PLOS biology.

32

Schneider, P., Scherg, M., Dosch, H.G., Specht, H.J., Gutschalk, A., Rupp, A. (2002). Morphology of Heschl’s gyrus reflects enhanced activation in the auditory cortex of musicians. Nat Neurosci 5:688–694.

33

Peretz, I., Zatorre, R.J. Brain organization for music processing. Annu. Rev. Psychol. (2005). 56:89–114

34 35

Darwin, C. (1997). Auditory group-ing. Trends Cogn. Sci. (Regul. Ed.) 1, 327–333.

36

Montilla, Pedro. El cerebro y la música. Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Córdoba (1999).

64


patrones sonoros, integración de la audición con otras modalidades sensoriales y funciones superiores (memoria, imaginación, emociones, cognición). TONO, TIMBRE Y RITMO El tono es un componente fundamental de la música, relacionado con la frecuencia a la que vibra la onda sonora que produce el instrumento. El tono agudo que emite un violín responde a una frecuencia vibratoria mayor que la frecuencia de los tonos graves y sombríos de un contrabajo. Como se mencionó anteriormente, las frecuencias percibidas son organizadas espacialmente en la cóclea. Esta tonotopía se mantiene en la vía auditiva y se conserva en la corteza auditiva primaria37. Es en corteza auditiva secundaria donde se integra la información auditiva para dar lugar a la formación del tono, tal y como lo percibimos38. Se ha comprobado que secuencias con variación tonal comparadas con melodías monótonas, producen una estimulación de la corteza auditiva secundaria39. Estos hallazgos son consistentes con la existencia de mecanismos jerárquicos para el análisis tonal, y manifiestan la relevancia de la corteza auditiva secundaria en el procesamiento del tono. El tono, por tanto, sería una percepción en sí misma, y no una mera sensación. En ocasiones se ha definido la música como un lenguaje universal debido a su capacidad de transmitir conceptos universales que trascienden los límites culturales. Reforzando esta idea, algunos estudios40 han demostrado respuestas cerebrales en la región de Broca en relación con el análisis melódico y armónico según el contexto musical. El área de Broca se ha definido clásicamente como la región de procesamiento sintáctico y entendimiento del lenguaje41. Además de existir una dimensión en el cerebro de análisis sintáctico, también parece haber un procesamiento semántico, análogo al del lenguaje. Extractos de melodías con alto grado descriptivo estimulan regiones del surco temporal superior, las mismas que se activan durante el procesamiento semántico del lenguaje42. En resumen, la percepción del tono requiere un procesamiento en la corteza auditiva en el que colaboran redes neuronales encargadas del procesamiento del lenguaje. Este hallazgo neuroanatómico se corresponde con la dimensión sintáctica y semántica de la música, y es un fuerte argumento a favor de la concepción de la música como un lenguaje universal43. Otro fenómeno psicoacústico del sonido es el timbre. El timbre es la cualidad del sonido por la que podemos distinguir un instrumento de otro. Muy acertado resulta el vocablo alemán para la palabra timbre: “Klangfarbe”, literalmente “sonido-color”. Los grandes compositores han aprovechado esta cualidad para lograr una mayor expresividad lírica: la sonata op. 108 de Brahms combina de modo excepcional la ternura exquisita del violoncello con la sólida serenidad del piano44. Físicamente, el timbre corresponde a la forma de la onda sonora. Cerebralmente Altschuler, R.A., Bobbin, R.P., Clopton, B.M., Hoffman, D.W.. Neurobiology of hearing: The Central Auditory System. New York, Raven Press, (1991).

37

38

Bendor, D., Wang, X. The neuronal representation of pitch in primate auditory cortex. Nature. (2005); 436: 1161–5.

Patterson, R.D., Uppenkamp, S., Johnsrude, I.S., Griffiths, T.D. The processing of temporal pitch and melody information in auditory cortex. Neuron (2002); 36: 767–76.

39

Trends Cogn Sci. (2005) Dec;9(12):578-84. Epub 2005 Nov 3. Towards a neural basis of music perception. Koelsch S, Siebel WA.

40

41

Peters, A., Jones, E.G.. Cerebral Cortex. New York, Plenum Press (1984-1999), vols 1-14

Rogalsky, C., Rong, F., Saberi, K.,Hickok, G.. Functional Anatomy of Language and Music Perception: Temporal and Structural Factors Investigated Using fMRI. J Neurosci. (2011)

42

Koelsch, S., Kasper, E., Sammler, D., Schulze, K., Gunter, T., Friederici, A.D.. (2004). Music, language and meaning: brain signatures of semantic processing. Nat Neurosci 7:302–307.

43

44

Comellas, José Luis. Nueva historia de la música. EIUNSA (1995).

65


podría ser analizado en regiones postero-superiores del ambos lóbulos parietales, según muestra un estudio basado en la modificación del timbre de modo independiente al tono45. El substrato neural que subyace al análisis temporal del sonido ha sido mucho menos investigado que los mecanismos implicados en la percepción tonal. Varios estudios se han servido de patrones rítmicos simples que carecían de un contexto musical particular46. Gracias a novedosas técnicas de neuroimagen, se ha demostrado una activación significativa de áreas premotoras izquierdas, cerebelo lateral y ganglios basales durante la exposición a estas secuencias rítmicas. Estas mismas estructuras se activan durante la ejecución de secuencias rítmicas47. Tanto los ganglios basales como el cerebelo son cruciales en las actividades relacionadas con el movimiento del cuerpo humano48. En el cerebelo se almacenan y ejecutan los planes motores que las estructuras corticales han elaborado previamente. Enfermedades que cursan con déficits motores, como el Parkinson49 presentan lesiones severas de ganglios basales y cerebelo. Todos estos hallazgos sugieren que la íntima relación entre ritmo y movimiento, evidenciada en la danza50, contiene un fundamento neurológico, ya que las mismas estructuras cerebrales están implicadas en su procesamiento51. MÚSICA Y EMOCIÓN “La música imita los sonidos, los acentos, los suspiros, las modulaciones de voz, en suma, todos los sonidos con los cuales la naturaleza misma expresa los sentimientos y las pasiones” dice con acierto Dahlhaus52. La música evoca emociones: su presencia es indispensable en el cine, inspira la creación artística, eleva el alma, penetra el corazón y cautiva la mente. No obstante, escuchar música en aras de satisfacer la afectividad, con la finalidad de provocar movimientos emocionales por placer supone destruir la dimensión trascendental de la música. La música, por su naturaleza, no puede ser manipulada bajo la excusa soterrada de catalizar emociones, en una suerte de estupefaciente, que, lejos de estimular el espíritu, lo paraliza y lo embrutece53. La música, como expresión artística del ser libre del hombre, ha de contemplarse como un fin en sí mismo. Aún así, música y emoción son dos realidades inseparables, y esta estrecha unidad encuentra en el cerebro un correlato neurobiológico. Menon, V., Levitin, D.J., Smith, B.K., Lembke, A., Krasnow, B.D., Glazer, D., Glover, G.H., McAdams, S., Neural correlates of timbre change in harmonic sounds. Neuroimage. (2002) Dec;17(4):1742-54.

45

Rao, S.M., Harrington, D.L., Haaland, K.Y., Bobholz, J.A., Cox, R.W., Binder, J.R. (1997). Distributed neural systems underlying the timing of movements. J Neurosci 17:5528 –5535.

46

47

Xu D, Liu T, Ashe J, Bushara KO. Role of the Olivo-Cerebellar System in Timing. J Neurosci (2006); 26: 5990–5.

Graybiel AM, Aosaki T, Flaherty AM, Kimura M: The basal ganglia and adaptative motor control. Sci 265:18261831, (1994).

48

Brazis PW, Masdeu JC, Biller J: Localization in Clinical Neurology, 4th ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, (2001).

49

Panksepp J, Bernatzy G. Emotional sounds and the brain: the neuro-affective foundations of musical appreciation. Behavioural Processes 60 (2002) 133 Á/155.

50

Stefan Koelsch. Toward a Neural Basis of Music Perception – A Review and Updated Model. Frontiers in Psychology. (2011) Jun. 2 (110).

51

52

Dahlhaus, Carl. La idea de la música absoluta. Idea books, Barcelona (1999).

53

Stravinsky, Igor. Poética Musical. Taurus, (1986)

66


El movimiento afectivo que produce la música puede deberse a dos causas no excluyentes: pudiera ocurrir que la propia estructura musical estimule centros cerebrales de modo automático, o bien pueda seguir un modelo cognición-emoción, donde la intelección, y por tanto la comprensión de la obra musical preceden a la emoción, enmarcado en una visión antropológica del hombre como estructura intelecto-sentiente54. Podemos encontrar motivos para soslayar ambas teorías. La primera tiene mayor aceptación en el campo de la neurociencia y ofrece perspectivas interesantes. Estudios con recién nacidos sometidos a secuencias consonantes y disonantes han demostrado que desde el punto de vista biológico, la consonancia les resulta más atractiva y agradable que la disonancia55. Por otro lado, los científicos Blood y Zatorre examinaron las bases cerebrales de las respuestas fisiológicas involuntarias56,57 en pasajes de especial intensidad emocional correlacionados con una descarga del sistema nervioso simpático58. Gracias a la tecnología PET pudieron demostrar actividad cerebral en áreas del sistema límbico implicadas en actividades placenteras como el estriado ventral, la amígdala y la corteza orbitofrontal. Estas estructuras pertenecen a sistemas neuronales primitivos muy relacionados con el sistema de recompensamotivación de la psicología animal59. Pero reducir la relación música-emoción a un sistema primitivo relacionado con el placer fisiológico implica un dudoso comportamiento científico. Este hallazgo sólo explica una parte del problema música-emoción, en concreto su vertiente más biológica60, un tanto insustancial. Estudios con más valor han sido los de Gabrielsson sobre el isomorfismo emocional y musical61. Gabrielsson ha propuesto cinco tipos de isomorfismo entre estructuras musicales y emocionales, con reminiscencias de la Grecia clásica62: 1) música grave o solemne, caracterizada por un ritmo lento e irregular, baja tonalidad y armonía disonante, 2) música triste o melancólica, como la anterior pero sin disonancias, 3) música de sosiego, paz o calma, caracterizada por su lentitud, suavidad tonal y ausencia de sonidos inarmónicos, 4) música alegre o festiva, de sonidos fuertes y tonos agudos, con pocas disonancias, 5) música excitante, de gran intensidad, estructura rítmicas muy marcada, recia y apta para contener disonancias. Apoyado en esta experiencia, Gabrielsson sugiere que el nexo entre música y emoción pasa por la expresión: una música es alegre en cuanto imita la expresividad corporal de una persona alegre. Para estudiar la relación música-emoción se hace imperioso entender la música como un organismo vivo. El profesor Fantini, de la Universidad de Génova, propone un esquema

54

Cabanillas, Pedro. El cerebro y la música. Universidad de Córdoba (1999).

55 Zentner,

M.R., Kagan, J. Perception of music by infants. Nature. 1996 Sep 5;383(6595):29.

Blood, A.J., Zatorre, R.. Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2001); 98: 11818–23.

56

Blood AJ, Zatorre RJ, Bermudez P, Evans AC. Emotional responses to pleasant and unpleasant music correlate with activity in paralimbic brain regions. Nat Neurosci (1999); 2: 382–7.

57

Panksepp, J., and Bernatzky, G. Emotional sounds and the brain: the neuro-affective foundations of musical appreciation. Behav. Processes (2002), 60, 133–155.

58

Menon V, Levitin DJ. The rewards of music listening: response and physiological connectivity of the mesolimbic system. Neuroimage, (2005), 28:175–184.

59

V. N. Salimpoor, M. Benovoy, G. Longo, J. R. Cooperstock, R. J. Zatorre. The Rewarding Aspects of Music Listening Are Related to Degree of Emotional Arousal. PLoS ONE (2009), 4(10):e7487.

60

Gabrielsson, A. Music and the mind machine. Expressive intention and performance, pp. 35-47. R. Steinberg, Berlin: Springer-Verlag (1995).

61

62

Cfr. Aristóteles. Política, Libro VIII, 1340b. Gredos Madrid, (1994).

67


jerárquico63 en el que se distinguen tres niveles en la música: sonido, figuras -armonía y melodía-, y forma. Es en el último nivel donde la música florece como algo vivo, lleno de pasión y vitalidad. Por esa razón, el sonido aislado de un clarinete apenas posee poder emocional sino acompañado por el tejido musical adecuado, como ocurre en el conmovedor adagio del concierto para clarinete de Mozart64. Además, es forzoso considerar los elementos extramusicales concernientes a las vivencias personales y eventos biográficos si se desea poseer una visión más cercana a la realidad música-emoción. Es preciso un último matiz al respecto: como bien apunta Huber, los caracteres emocionales de la música se experimentan como cosa en sí objetiva, y luego, sólo si acaso, pasan al estado anímico del propio oyente. En efecto, podemos reconocer rasgos emocionales en la música sin obligación de adherirnos a ellos. La impresión de lo grave o lo sombrío se atribuye a la estructura sonora misma como propiedad65. En esta línea, estudios de individuos con amusia66,67 (déficits sensoriales o cognitivos en la percepción musical) han revelado que pacientes con los mismos déficits perceptivos mostraban respuestas emocionales muy variadas a la música, lo que apunta a una disociación entre percepción y emoción, así como un control de funciones superiores sobre la afectividad. LA MÚSICA: UN ORGANISMO VIVO Hemos definido la música como un organismo vivo, una unidad jerárquica donde se ordenan sonidos en figuras y formas. Análogamente, Phillipot68 distingue tres planos en la percepción musical: el sensible, afectivo e intelectual, definidos como inseparables y simultáneos. Estas reflexiones en torno a la realidad musical nos conducen al concepto clásico de unidad, tan olvidado en el panorama científico actual. Ars imitatio natura in sua operatione69, escribía el viejo Aristóteles; es decir, el arte sería una prolongación del poder formativo de la naturaleza. “Sobre la base de la naturaleza, las artes llevan las cosas más allá de donde puede llevarlas la naturaleza, o bien imita su modo de obrar”70, añade el Estagirita. Y es en los seres vivos donde se encuentra la unidad más profunda y perfecta entre sus partes: cada una de ellas está en función del todo y cada órgano en función del organismo. Del mismo modo, la obra de arte musical no es un cadáver, sino un cuerpo vivo y hermoso. En él, todo depende de todo y todo mira al todo. En el organismo se encuentran la vida y la unidad mutuamente relacionados71. De modo análogo, hallamos esa misma unidad en los procesos cerebrales implicados en la percepción y ejecución de la música. Se ha explicado cómo el sonido que llega al tímpano se transmite a la cóclea, donde se codifica eléctricamente. La información auditiva espacio-temporal Fantini, B.. Extracto de la conferencia Musica movet affectus pronunciada en el Workshop: “Health and Emotions”. Universidad de Navarra (2011).

63

64

Cfr. Mozart. Concierto para clarinete y orquesta KV 622, Adagio.

65

Dahlhaus, Carl. Estética de la música. Reichenberg. Berlín, (1996).

Stewart, L., K.von Kriegstein,, J. D. Warren and T. D. Griffiths. Music and the brain: disorders of musical listening Brain (2006), 129, 2533–2553.

66

Griffiths TD, Warren JD, Dean JL, Howard D. ‘When the feeling’s gone’: a selective loss of musical emotion. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry (2004); 75: 344–5.

67

68

M Philippot. Ansermet's Phenomenological Metamorphoses - Perspectives of New Music. JSTOR, (1964).

69

Aristóteles, Política, VII, 1337a. Gredos, Madrid (1986).

70

Aristóteles, Física II, 8, 199a 15. Gredos, Madrid (1986).

71

Blanco, Pablo, Estética de bolsillo, pág. 26. Ediciones Palabra, Madrid (2001).

68


es analizada minuciosamente por mecanismos independientes72, que elaboran organizaciones primarias de identificación y discriminación encargadas de jerarquizar secuencias temporales, contornos e intervalos tonales o espectros de frecuencias según leyes gestálticas73. El resultado de la organización primaria que tiene lugar en la corteza auditiva primaria es el sustrato para el cálculo de los atributos del sonido por parte de la corteza auditiva secundaria, lo que presenta un primer nivel de percepción: intensidad, timbre, tono y ritmo. Para la formación de la percepción sonora aislada tal y como la entendemos es necesaria la intervención de la corteza asociativa unimodal, que aúna e integra los atributos aislados del timbre, el tono, la intensidad y el ritmo en una sola entidad. Como ha destacado Giménez-Amaya74, el papel de la corteza asociativa adquiere una importancia fundamental en los procesos cognitivos del ser vivo. Anatómicamente, la corteza asociativa ocupa regiones cerebrales situadas entre áreas que procesan específicamente estímulos sensoriales o motores. Distinguimos dos tipos de cortezas asociativas: unimodales y multimodales75. La corteza asociativa unimodal se encarga de procesar e integrar la información de un área sensorial concreta (por ejemplo, la de la corteza auditiva), mientras que la corteza multimodal integra y coordina información de todo tipo: visual, auditiva, táctil grosera y fina, motora, etc76. Desde el punto de vista embriológico, la corteza multimodal crece de modo sustancial en la especie humana respecto a otras especies cercanas en la escala filogenética77. En el artista interpretando una pieza musical encontramos el ejemplo más perfecto de unidad en la entidad cerebral78. En la interpretación de una obra, se pone de manifiesto el complejo grado de coordinación del que es capaz el ser humano: el virtuoso escucha, ve, toca, lee la partitura, se emociona, recuerda, imagina, y coordina su motricidad al mismo tiempo que comprende intelectualmente la obra y la contextualiza. En términos neurológicos, encontraremos actividad eléctrica en la corteza visual, sensorial-táctil, auditiva, motora, cerebelo, ganglios basales, área de Broca y otras regiones relacionadas con el lenguaje, emociones (sistema límbico), memoria (hipocampo) y atención (corteza prefrontal)79. El cerebro es, sin duda, la orquesta más perfectamente organizada cuyo director viene a ser la corteza multimodal. Las áreas cerebrales descritas no son en absoluto independientes entre sí: no funcionan como compartimentos estancos. Existen numerosas conexiones córtico-corticales establecidas

Griffiths TD, Buchel C, Frackowiak RS, Patterson RD. Analysis of temporal structure in sound by the human brain. Nat Neurosci (1998):422– 427

72

Zatorre RJ. Functional specialization of human auditory cortex for musical processing. Brain (1998), 121(Pt 10):1817–1818.

73

Murillo JI, Giménez-Amaya JM. Tiempo, conciencia y libertad: consideraciones en torno a los experimentos de B. Libet y colaboradores. Acta Philosophica, 11, 17, (2008), pp. 291-306.

74

75 Lynch

JC. Parietal association cortex. Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, vol 2. Boston, Birkhauser, (1987)

Lewis JW, Van Essen DC. Corticocortical connections of visual, sensorimotor, and multimodal processing areas in the parietal lobe of the macaque monkey. J Comp Neurol. (2000) Dec 4;428(1):112-37.

76

Hüppi PS, Warfield S, Kikinis R, Barnes PD, Zientara GP, Jolesz FA, Tsuji MK, Volpe JJ. Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging of brain development in premature and mature newborns. Annals of Neurology. Volume 43, Issue 2, pages 224–235, (February, 1998).

77

B. J. Baars, N. M. Cage. Cognition, Brain and Conciusness. Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience. Elsevier (2010)

78

Tervaniemi, M., Kujala, A., Alho, K.,Virtanen, J., Ilmoniemi, R., and Näätänen, R. Functional specialization of the human auditory cortex in processing phonetic and musical sounds: a magnetoencephalographic (MEG) study. Neuroimage (1999), 9, 330–336.

79

69


por las células piramidales de las capas II y III80, con gran actividad en músicos81, así como conexiones córtico-subcorticales y con otras estructuras mesencefálicas, aparte de la conexión interhemisférica a través del cuerpo calloso especialmente relevante en el procesamiento musical82, o la red de fibras verticales y transversales que recorren el parénquima cerebral83. Por otro lado, existen circuitos bidireccionales relacionados con mecanismos de retroalimentación, así como una gran cantidad de interneuronas encargadas de modular circuitos cerebrales. Todas estas interconexiones son de vital importancia para la audición e interpretación de la música, y acontezca el fenómeno musical en todas sus dimensiones: física, emocional, vivencial y cognitiva. Así lo sugiere un estudio morfométrico en pacientes con amusia84 que reveló un menor número de fibras de conexión en áreas asociativas de los pacientes que padecían amusia. Otros estudios han puesto de relieve la importancia de conexiones entre áreas corticales, al sugerir que el análisis musical podría ser atribuible a patrones de conectividad cerebral85. La unidad presente en el fenómeno musical se corresponde, de modo análogo, a la unificación e integración de los procesos cerebral. La música, por tanto, nos ayuda a entender el cerebro como un órgano vivo autoorganizado, dotado de una compleja unidad funcional y anatómica, tanto citoarquitecónica como macroscópicamente. CONCLUSIONES Es hora de recoger y sintetizar algunas ideas. Se dijo que la belleza en el arte musical poco tiene que ver con lo útil, con lo placentero, sino más bien con la contemplación por pura gratuidad. Por contrario, el arte es la respuesta del ser humano al misterio de la trascendencia, a la necesidad de completar y ser completado en la esencia íntima del ser, manifestada en el anhelo de eternidad que percibimos en cada obra maestra. Al mismo tiempo, la creación artística es la prolongación del poder formativo de la naturaleza, una especie de subcreación; y la música parece ser, según Aristóteles, la más adecuada para expresar la naturaleza de las cosas, de penetrar en todas las dimensiones antropológicas y para conducir al hombre a la presencia de la Belleza. Comenzamos reflexionando sobre lo Uno en el arte, como alusión de lo múltiple, y terminamos refiriéndonos, una vez más, a la unidad presente en lo Vivo. La Belleza absoluta, en efecto, es Una y multiforme, de la que participan las bellezas particulares. Así pues, de lo múltiple llegamos a lo uno. Ocurre esto especialmente en la música: «la diversidad de las formas nos conduce a un punto definido de reposo», decía Stravinsky86.

Matsumoto R, Dileep R. Nair, Ikeda A, Fumuro T, LaPresto E, Mikuni N, Bingaman W, Miyamoto S, Fukuyama H, Takahashi R, Najm I, Shibasaki H, Lüders HO. Parieto-frontal network in humans studied by cortico-cortical evoked potential. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.21407 Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

80

81 Nordstrom

MA, Butler SL. Reduced intracortical inhibition and facilitation of corticospinal neurons in musicians. Exp Brain Res (2002), 144:336 –342. Ridding MC, Brouwer B, Nordstrom MA. Reduced interhemispheric inhibition in musicians. Exp Brain Res (2000), 133:249 –253.

82

Braak, H., Braak, E. Neuronal types in the striatum of man. Cell and Tissue Research, Vol 227, Number 2, 319342, DOI: 10.1007/BF00210889.

83

Krista L. Hyde, R. J. Zatorre, T. D. Griffiths, J. P. Lerch, I. Peretz. Morphometry of the amusic brain: a two site study. Brain (2006), 129, 2562-70.

84

85

Griffiths TD, Warren JD. The planum temporale as a computational hub. Trends Neurosci (2002); 25: 348–353

86

Stravinsky, Igor. Poética Musical. Taurus, (1986).

70


La belleza en el arte musical procede de la unidad, por ser un organismo vivo, y la unidad de la forma artística se corresponde con la unidad de los procesos cerebrales; se han descrito los procesos cerebrales de autoorganización necesarios para aprehender la belleza del arte musical. Es evidente que la comprensión y la producción de la música requiere soportes cognitivos, afectivos y motores87 que se corresponden con la definición del arte como un conocer, sentir y hacer88. No obstante, el sustrato cerebral es necesario pero no suficiente para explicar la experiencia de lo Bello: no encontraremos una sola partitura en el cerebro, ni una melodía, ni un pensamiento porque hay un “salto” a la realidad inmaterial. De la actividad autoorganizativa descrita en el procesamiento musical, se deduce que es necesario un principio superior que ordene el conjunto de neuronas y sinapsis para que su actividad físico-química pueda actuar coherentemente hacia un fin determinado por ese principio. Este principio ha de ser el espíritu; no se conocen leyes físicas que expliquen cómo actúa el espíritu sobre la materia, y tampoco se conoce la esencia de la materia, pero la experiencia de las creaciones humanas permite afirmar que en ningún caso éstas proceden de una configuración determinada del cerebro89. En el ámbito científico parece existir un extraño consenso en que las estructuras cerebrales son suficientes y determinantes para conocer toda la realidad, que todo se resuelve en el cerebro, todo es reducible a pura materialidad. Después de estudiar el comportamiento cerebral en la música, no cabe sino afirmar que es el cerebro quien está al servicio de la trascendencia y que, del mismo modo que ocurre en el arte, en él se oculta una huella de lo divino.

87

Montilla, Pedro. El cerebro y la música. Córdoba Servicio de Publicaciones, Universidad de Córdoba, (1999).

88

Blanco, Pablo, Estética de bolsillo, pág. 21. Ediciones Palabra, Madrid (2001).

Moya Blanco, Luis. Consideraciones para una nueva teoría de la estética. Ediciones Universitarias, Pamplona (1999).

89

71


THE INTEGRATION OF ART WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH Allen, P. The Heights School (Potomac, Maryland, USA) Supervisor: Cardenas, J. The Heights School (Potomac, Maryland, USA)

ABSTRACT This paper looks at the relationship between Christianity, specifically the Catholic Church, and art because the increasing secularization of art has made it hard for the Church to find a way to use art for in order to achieve greater spirituality in its followers. By looking at different art periods before the Enlightenment, we can see that the Church has been able to use art with good results. Finally, by examining the history and beauty of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, we will be able to see how the Church can use each new art style, so long as it has an objective beauty to it, in order to increase the devotion of the people. INTRODUCTION Art, like all things of this world, when used correctly should serve as a means to assist humanity in their struggle to reach heaven. Art can be a powerful tool in our journey and relation with God and the Catholic Church has always taken great care to maintain the dialogue between Christianity and the ever-changing art styles. A quick history of the relation between art and Christianity highlights the many examples of Christian art working towards the good. A continued dialogue between art and Christianity has become harder to do with “modern” art, that is, art after the Enlightenment’s divorce of faith from reason. Art, a product of the mind, was no longer considered useful for faith. Regardless, the Church continues to employ the new styles of art. One of the most famous examples of this is Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, where the Church’s adoption of an art style conceived outside it created one of the most famous buildings in the world. The Sagrada Familia’s success should serve as a prime example as the Church continues the relationship between the beauty in art and Christianity. BODY OF THE PAPER Religion has used art throughout its existence as a means of connecting with its people. For art, at the simplest, most basic level, is an expression of an idea through a medium. The first images of man were fertility images carved from stone during the Pre-Historic Era. These fertility statues were used by humans in an attempt to acknowledge and worship a divine being. Later on, as time progressed and technology and civilization increased, art was still used by the different religions as means to educate and worship the divine. From the Americas with the Mayans and Aztecs to

72


Greece and the Classical Pantheon of gods, art was used as a tool for religion. When Christianity arrived 2000 years ago, it also sought to employ art to help teach and profess the Gospel. When the Catholic Church was beginning along the Mediterranean, it came into contact with an enormous organization: the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire contained all of the Mediterranean and most of Europe and its leadership and management helped foster trade and travel. The Pax Romana allowed for this great increase in travel, and this in turn helped the early Christian Church spread the Good News throughout. But this was not the only aspect of the Romans that the Church used to evangelize. From the beginning, the Church borrowed upon the art of its day to further Christianity. One of the most prominent examples of Christianity’s usage of Roman art was in the way that Jesus was depicted. Firstly, Jesus was not shown in his death on the cross. Depictions of Christ’s crucifixion, which now bring us so much joy despite its sorrow, were implausible and impractical. Crucifixion was still a possible punishment for the early Christians, and martyrdoms of the early followers happened all too often for it to be depicted and hung on walls. Additionally, in the search for new converts, Christ depicted as a Roman criminal did not help gain devotion, but rather hindered possible followers. They wanted to see a powerful God who could compare to the pantheon of Roman gods. For this reason, Christ’s depiction in the early days of Christianity is similar to how the Romans depicted some of their gods, specifically Apollo. Christ was depicted in the same manner as Apollo had been before, beardless and young, allowing the Roman converts to draw connections between them. Christian artists also depicted Jesus as a philosopher-king, sitting and holding a scroll as philosophers had been portrayed before. This emphasized Christ’s knowledge and power. An example of this is the statue of Christ Seated from Civita Latina in Italy. Just as like when Christ used parables to reach to the Jews, Christian artists used the art styles of their time to portray Christ in a manner that others would understand. Christian artists did not stop their borrowing with depictions of Christ either. Many of the early churches resembled Roman basilicas in their style and layout. The early Christians had refused to convert temples into churches when Theodosius declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, because the temples had been places of pagan worship. But Christian artists also saw the usefulness in Roman architecture, in their layout of meeting places such as basilicas and audience halls. These buildings offered practicality and beauty, and their defining features, the narthex and triumphal arch, would become notable throughout the early churches. The Church, despite preaching a new and radically different view of life, was able to use the pagan art practices as a way to reach out to more people. The Christian artists used the old art and conformed to its styles, but were able to incorporate their ideas and religion to suite their purpose. The art, even if pagan, was not a setback, but an opportunity and tool for the Church’s main purpose at the time the evangelization of new converts to Christianity. The Church, however, after it was declared the official religion of the Roman Empire, no longer needed the same focus on continued evangelization. Instead, the Church began to use art as a means of teaching the faith to Her followers, especially the illiterate. The new didactic art is extremely prevalent in the cathedrals and churches during and after the Middle Ages, especially throughout the Romanesque and Gothic periods. Additionally, this art demonstrates how the Church can not only borrow but help create new styles of art and architecture. Romanesque churches, as their name implies, were heavily based upon the earlier Classical style. They were low to the ground and relied upon the arches and columns of Roman architecture. The style represented the recurring theme of man’s fallen nature and Christ’s Judgment at the end of the world. Romanesque architecture stressed the need to seek the good in life lest God’s punishment fall upon one. Many of the artwork on the tympanums reflects this “doom-and-gloom” view of the world. In the west tympanum of Saint-Lazare, Jesus presides over

73


the Last Judgment in “one of the most unforgettable renditions of the weighing of souls in the history of art.” (Kleiner 344)1Devils and angels fight over human souls in an attempt to destroy or save their eternal life after death. The artists’ depiction of the devils is particularly dramatic with their gaunt insect-like bodies (Kleiner 344)2 and various other devils drag human souls to hell. Kleiner states that “the resources of the Romanesque imagination, heated by a fearful faith, conjured up an appalling scene” (344)3. The art of this time period reflected the Church’s attempt to teach the people of the dangers of sin through dramatic usage of fearful images. The artists hoped that the realization of the consequences of their action would provide incentive for the people to strive towards the good. Church architecture and decoration began to change in the middle of the 12th century. New technological advancements, specifically the flying buttress, had a profound effect on the church buildings. Flying buttresses allowed the walls to become lighter and thinner, thereby creating space for large windows and stained glass to be inserted. The high-ceilinged light filled churches became the most important buildings of the Gothic period. This new architecture allowed the Church to use a new theme in their attempts to educate their followers. In the Gothic Period, the Church, through her artists, related a theme of Marian devotion, strengthened by the devotion by saints such as Bernard of Clairvaux, and striving to reach the heights of heaven. There was a positive light during this period that had not been there during the Romanesque Period. Instead of focusing on the bad consequences of poor choices, art focused on the good consequences and how the people could reach the glory of heaven. The art and architecture of the period reflected this. Churches were extremely tall and were built with lots of spires and points, because these architectural elements drew the viewers’ eyes upwards to heaven. The tympanums throughout Gothic cathedrals and churches contain images of Mary and Jesus in all their splendor and glory, rather than the grotesque images of devils dragging human souls to the depths of Hell. During the Gothic period, the Church used the growing architectural and artistic changes in order to reflect an important aspect of the Christian faith. The Catholic Church, like other religions, has used and still uses art to assist in its apostolicity and upbringing of its followers. From its early days in Rome to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Church was able to utilize art in its teachings. Recently, however, the Catholic Church has struggled to find the balance and dialogue between modernity in art and Christianity itself. Since the Enlightenment, where faith was divorced from reason, the Church has no longer held the same cultural power that it had before. The Church was no longer borrowing or deciding, but separated from having an input on art. Of course, the Church continued to use art when it built and modified churches, but the Church no longer had the same ability to influence art as it did before. Despite this, the Church was and continues to use art and the modernity in art. The Church follows the artistic styles that spring up, and looks to use them to Her benefit. The greatest example of this is Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The basilica, which is still being constructed today, provides insight to how the Church incorporated the changing culture into its image, and by doing so gives an example to later artists on how to integrate the beauty of artistic movements in a manner which helps the Church. Although few realize, the story of the Sagrada Familia begins in England during the turn of the 19th century in the Arts and Crafts Movement. England was undergoing the Industrial Revolution, one of the most influential periods of English and world history. The Industrial Revolution brought some of the most important and influential technological advancements of 1

Kleiner, Fred S. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective, 12 ed., United States, (2006).

2

Idem.

3

Idem.

74


history. Manufacturing was transformed from an individual basis to coherent groups working together. Transportation and trade, powered by the steam engine, truly became worldwide. The amount of wealth being transferred increased dramatically. The industrial revolution transformed daily life in countless ways for all classes. But with the industrial revolution other, more problematic, things became prevalent. The industrial revolution saw the creation of the factory working class, comprised of men, women, and children who lived in cramped quarters and spent their working day in dim lit factories, completing the same simple task over and over again. Living conditions were miserable, and due to the compactness of the population, the people were more able to organize themselves than ever before. The Industrial Revolution brought with it ideology on how to satisfy this group, the most famous of these ideologies being the birth of socialism and Marxism. Karl Marx noticed the state of the working class. The fact that the working class was being exploited to such a degree had a profound effect on him. He believed that the world was divided into the rival bourgeoisie and proletariats. Marx was under the impression that this split, though not inevitable, was continuous throughout the course of history. For this reason, he decided to end this division by taking away private property. By keeping everyone on the same economic level, where material wealth was shared, he believed that people would be happier. Unfortunately, Marxism did not take into account that if people do not give an input into their material possessions, then they will not care for them in the same way that they would if they owned things themselves. There is an inherent human right to own private property as a result of one’s work and effort. Marxism undermined this as well. Additionally, his idea encountered one of the same problems of the Industrial Revolution. The workers no longer felt attached to their work. A major incentive was lost. But other men had thought of an idea to fix the work problems of the Industrial Revolution without running into the same problem. John Ruskin and William Morris developed the Arts and Crafts movement, which stressed the power of the person in manufacturing, rather than collection of nameless individuals working as machinery themselves. John Ruskin, like Karl Marx, noticed the increasing discontent of the workers throughout the Industrial. He wrote a treatise on against capitalism and the increasingly problematic division of labor in the Industrial Revolution, the fact that workers only did one simple task over and over again. This had a profound effect on Morris, and Morris began related the moral health of society with its manufacturing and industry. He stated that because workers had become separated from their products, but rather limited to a simple part and repeated motion in the manufacturing process, society was suffering on the whole; many workers had lost the joy achieved by their own creation and construction. Morris designed a new movement, sometimes considered a Christian socialism alternate to Marxism tradition in the west called the Arts and Crafts Movement, where the worker was in charge of his work from inception to end and focused upon his own creation. The Arts and Crafts movement’s manufacturing relied heavily on natural artwork, using simple naturalistic themes. Though flawed, this movement highlighted the good of the individual worker, and had a profound effect on later artists and art styles. Antoni Gaudi was one of those artists whom the Arts and Crafts Movement had an intense effect on. The taste for nature in the artwork of this movement would permeate throughout his architecture. He studied nature and used the images, organisms and geometric forms extensively. Not only did Gaudi use the theme of the Arts and Crafts Movement, but he also sought to follow practical ideas from this movement as well. Gaudi’s architecture is full of specific materials and designs with the material, something that the Arts and Crafts movement had pushed for in its idea of a worker controlling his work through its entirety. Additionally, the Arts and Crafts Movement helped produce the Gothic Revival movement, which also had an enormous impact on Gaudi. His Gothic style was transformed into the Spanish Modernismè, of which he became the leading architect for. The most famous of these works was his Basilica and Expiatory Chapel of the Sagrada Familia. The Sagrada Familia was an attempt to combine his

75


architectural skills and passions in order to create a church that would be an image of naturalistic beauty. His church has not only become one of the most famous churches in the world, but stands as an example of the correct relationship between the Church and the beauty of art. Gaudi sought to make the Sagrada Familia more than a simple project. First and foremost, he wanted his church to be a tool for visitors to pray; the primary purpose of any church is to have a group of people to gather together and then assist in their worship of God. Gaudi designed his church to help people pray through its beauty and imitation of nature. But Gaudi also wanted the Sagrada Familia to have a practicality and relation to his personal beliefs as well. Most of the individual artworks in the Sagrada Familia were carved by individual craftsmen; Gaudi wished to bring the manufacturing back to the workers and revive the older tradition of individual craftsmen working together. The Sagrada Familia not only stands as a place of worship, but also as a testament to the belief that individual people work best when they have a personal incentive for their work. Gaudi made sure that the Sagrada Familia was built by humans, not humans acting in the place of machines. Finally, Gaudi declared that the building would only be constructed through private donations, stressing the importance of the church as a work of the people. But the Sagrada Familia gains its most powerful meaning in its architectural beauty. Architecturally, the Sagrada Familia, uses God’s creation and the beauty in nature to lead its viewers to pray. The church mimics the power of nature throughout. The exterior is covered in organic themes and depictions and the inside, especially the ceiling, draws the viewer into a forest-like setting. Different parts of the church are designed evoke different reactions in the viewer. The Passion Facade’s cubist, almost skeletal figures and overshadowing awning brings a sense of sorrow to the viewer. The Nativity Facade’s figures and naturalistic themes invoke a calming effect on the viewer. The beauty of the Sagrada Familia is that the church itself reflects the intended moods and therefore the type of prayer that is intended at each moment in the church. Gaudi designed the basilica to be an organic accompaniment to the worshippers inside, and its beauty comes from the fact that it not only imitates nature, but it affects the spirit of the viewer. Beauty is said to be “in the eye of the beholder”, but true beauty is a reflection of reality that impacts the viewer by bringing him closer to God. The Sagrada Familia accomplishes this in a way that allows the viewer to be moved through various different emotions throughout his stay in the basilica: awe and wonder, sorrow and pity, thankfulness and adoration. The Sagrada Familia’s beauty shows the work of a true artist who truly wished to increase his viewers’ devotion. Antoni Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia demonstrates how the Church, through its artists and craftsmen, can transform an architectural style into an instrument for its followers. The church reflected a cultural issue of the time and provided an example of how to address the growing dehumanizing of manual labor. Additionally, the Sagrada Familia reveals an inherent truth of beauty; beauty’s purpose is to improve one’s relation with God. Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia serves as a model for future generations of churches and artwork. It sends the message that a good piece of Christian artwork not only contains objective beauty, but also attempts to have an impact for the better upon those people who view it. CONCLUSION Art, in its beauty, can be a powerful tool to motivate us towards a deeper connection with God. Pope Benedict XVI said that “Our [encounter with art should be], above all, a moment of grace that moves us to strengthen our bond and our conversation with the Lord, [that moves us] to stop and contemplate – in passing from the simple external reality to the deeper reality expressed -the ray of beauty that strikes us, that "wounds" us in the intimate recesses of our heart and invites us to ascend to God.” For this reason, the Church always maintains contact with art and culture, because it knows that art can have a profound effect on man’s soul. Art, regardless of its time 76


period, if it reflects the beauty of God, will always be useful for Christianity in its attempt to evangelize the world. The dialogue between Christianity and modernity in art will always remain steadfast as long as the artists strive to seek the good of their viewers. Pope John Paul II said in his address to artists in 2000, “May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir [the believers] to wonder!”, stressing the fact that art will serve the good of the Church because its artists wish to lead others to God. BIBLIOGRAPHY Beddall, Thomas G., “Gaudí and the Catalan Gothic”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians , Vol. 34, No. 1 (Mar., 1975), pp. 48-59 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/988956> Retrieved: 2.23. 2012 Collins, George R., “Antonio Gaudi: Structure and Form”, Perspecta , Vol. 8, (1963), pp. 63-90 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/1566905> Retrieved: 2.23.2012 Kleiner, Fred S., Gardner’s Art Through the Ages: The Western Perspective, 12 ed., United States, (2006). Johnson, Paul, Art: A New History, London, (2003).

77


EL VALOR EXISTENCIAL DE LA BELLEZA EN EL BANQUETE DE PLATÓN

Gralla Morell, E. Torregrosa Sanchís, J. Solans Blasco, M. Universidad de Navarra (Spain) Supervisor: Sánchez Cañizares, J. Universidad de Navarra (Spain) ABSTRACT This paper examines the role of beauty in the speech of Socrates in Plato's Symposium. First, we analyze the characterization of eros leaded by Socrates and Diotima. This initial analysis introduces the concept of “generation in beauty” as the action of eros and leads us to the consideration of the desire of human nature to immortality. Finally, in the latter part of Diotima's speech, Plato shows what we have called “existential dimension of beauty”. In the conclusions, we try to emphasize three points that emerge from the preceding analysis and, in our view, are particularly significant. RESUMEN El presente artículo estudia el papel que juega la belleza en el discurso de Sócrates en el Banquete de Platón. En primer lugar, analizamos la caracterización que Sócrates y Diotima ofrecen acerca del eros. Este primer análisis nos lleva a introducir el concepto de la “generación en la belleza” como la acción propia del eros y que introduce la consideración de la inmortalidad como deseo propio de la naturaleza humana. Finalmente, todo lo anterior culmina en la última parte del discurso de Diotima, en el que se presenta lo que hemos denominado “dimensión existencial de la belleza”. En las conclusiones intentamos destacar tres puntos a nuestro juicio especialmente relevantes que se desprenden del análisis precedente.

INTRODUCCIÓN Platón es el primer autor en tratar acerca de la belleza. Lo hace principalmente en tres diálogos: Hipias Mayor, Banquete y Fedro. El presente artículo intenta ofrecer una breve aproximación a un aspecto a menudo olvidado, pero a nuestro juicio fundamental, del pensamiento platónico: la dimensión existencial de la belleza. Lo bello, tal y como la concibe el filósofo griego, no se reduce una propiedad de las creaciones artísticas ni de los cuerpos; representa más bien una experiencia humana radical íntimamente conectada con el amor (ἔρος) y la filosofía (φιλοσοφία). Nuestra intención no es otra que la de estudiar en qué medida lo bello (τὸ καλόν) opera como una categoría existencial y no como una mera propiedad de los cuerpos, las virtudes o las ciencias. Entendemos que, precisamente, lo propio del pensamiento platónico en este punto es que la belleza de las distintas realidades con las que nos encontramos, remite y lanza la existencia humana hacia una Belleza que funda todos los destellos de belleza en el mundo. El 78


momento en el cual la existencia humana topa o es raptada por tal Belleza, es para Platón el acontecimiento fundamental y que dota de valor y sentido la vida del hombre. En este estudio tomaremos como texto de referencia el discurso de Sócrates en el Banquete. A nuestro juicio, la comprensión de este discurso es clave para hacerse cargo del papel que juega la belleza en el pensamiento platónico. Aunque incluimos alguna referencia al Fedro, el estudio de la belleza en este diálogo queda emplazado a otra ocasión. La consideración de la belleza en el Fedro guarda una estrecha e importante relación con la del Banquete, pero su inclusión aquí excede los límites de espacio. Tampoco atenderemos a la belleza tal y como aparece en el Hipias Mayor. Este diálogo de juventud recoge el intento de Sócrates por hallar una definición de la belleza en diálogo con Hipias. Como en otros diálogos en los que Platón ensaya el mismo método, el propósito inicial falla y el diálogo termina sin haber logrado una definición satisfactoria. Precisamente, el fracaso del Hipias Mayor introduce un punto importante a la hora de comprender la posición del Banquete en el pensamiento platónico. Hipias Mayor representa el callejón sin salida al que lleva la búsqueda de una definición de la belleza. Su presentación como diálogo parece significar la manifestación deliberada de que no es posible tal definición. Esto resulta más claro todavía si tenemos en cuenta que tanto el Fedro como el Banquete cambian radicalmente de método, presentando un acceso a la belleza desde un logos múltiple y complejo. En efecto, en ambos diálogos ya no se pretende hallar una definición, sino que a través de discursos (λόγοι) de diverso tipo –que deliberadamente no responden a estrictas deducciones lógicas–, se muestran y hacen visibles fenómenos en su consideración conjunta y en su mutua interrelación. Ya no se trata de aislar conceptos lógicamente, sino más bien de lograr articularlos en su relación recíproca, de modo que salga a relucir su verdadera significación. No resulta extraño, por tanto, que en ambos diálogos Platón recurra al mito, a explicaciones no apodícticas y a elevadas descripciones líricas. Se trata de un cambio de método importante. Si se lee Hipias Mayor a la luz de Banquete y Fedro, queda claro que Platón está planteando un cambio de acceso a la realidad, una ampliación del logos. Al menos en los diálogos de madurez, la filosofía platónica no pretende ser tanto una explicación puramente racional –racionalista– de la realidad, sino más bien –como Platón escribirá en el Fedro– un recordatorio de lo originario, un hacer visibles los fenómenos de la experiencia humana en su condición originaria. Por esto Platón situará la belleza en un complejo entramado en el que también se entrecruzan cuestiones tales como la naturaleza humana, el amor, el alma, la filosofía o la virtud. Solo si se logra considerar a la belleza dentro de esta trama, es posible entender en alguna medida qué significa para Platón. Este logos multiforme y abierto es justamente uno de los aspectos más actuales –paradójicamente es un rasgo postmoderno– del pensamiento platónico. Antes de continuar, solo señalar que el método utilizado en este artículo será el comentario del texto original de Platón y la extracción de conclusiones relevantes para un análisis filosófico del concepto de belleza. Para ello, nos hemos basado en la edición bilingüe griego–inglés del profesor Chirstopher Rowe (1998) y la traducción al castellano de Luis Gil (1969). Nos han sido de gran utilidad los comentarios del Banquete de Drew A. Hyland (2008) y William Keith Chambers Guthrie (1992). En especial, en el comentario de Hyland hemos encontrado un enfoque muy parecido al nuestro, aunque en otros términos y desde una perspectiva más analítica. En gran medida, los análisis de este artículo se inspiran en su comentario. Para hacerle justicia, y puesto que para favorecer la claridad del discurso solo hemos querido incluir citas del propio Platón, queremos dejar aquí constancia de la deuda con Hyland. Él mismo resume el planteamiento de la belleza en Platón con un proverbio navajo: “Camina en la belleza”.

79


También hemos acudido en diversas ocasiones a la obra colectiva Plato and Aristotle's ethics, editada por Robert Heinaman (2003). Finalmente, queremos señalar que la idea del presente artículo nació a raíz de la lectura del discurso del entonces cardenal Ratzinger en el congreso “La contemplación de la belleza” en Rimini, publicado en 2006. Esperamos haber respondido, aunque de forma muy limitada, al requerimiento que en aquel discurso hacía Joseph Ratzinger por recuperar el papel fundamental que debe desempeñar la belleza en el pensamiento filosófico y teológico. CARACTERIZACIÓN DEL EROS En el Banquete, Platón quiere plantear al lector cierta conexión entre dos experiencias humanas fundamentales: la del amor (ἔρος) y la de la belleza (τὸ καλόν). Esta conexión ira tomando forma a través del diálogo y será la cuestión que, de un modo u otro, guiará su desarrollo. El tema será retomado y ampliado en el Fedro desde una perspectiva diferente. La situación dramática que enmarca el Banquete es una cena a la que asisten algunos representantes –al menos cinco– de la cultura ateniense de los siglos V-IV a.C. Cada uno de ellos es instado a improvisar un discurso acerca del eros; todos han convenido en que se trata de la divinidad más importante para los hombres; la que les ofrece mayor felicidad y, a la vez, la que puede provocar mayores males, y que sin embargo apenas ha recibido alabanzas por parte de sabios y artistas (cfr 177a-d). Como se ha dicho, nos centraremos en el discurso de Sócrates, el último de todos, porque supone la clave conceptual del diálogo y representa además uno de los puntos culminantes de la comprensión platónica de la belleza. En la línea de los ponentes anteriores, Sócrates se pregunta por la naturaleza y las virtudes del eros. El discurso de Sócrates se divide en dos partes claramente diferenciadas. En la primera, es el propio Sócrates quien discurre acerca del eros, mientras dirige una serie de preguntas a Agatón respecto al discurso que éste acaba de pronunciar. Al terminar el interrogatorio, y sin dar ninguna razón, Sócrates referirá una larga conversación que mantuvo en su día con Diotima, sacerdotisa de Mantinea. Comencemos con la primera parte. A través de 199d-200e, Sócrates ira mostrando a Agatón distintas características del eros, hasta concluir de modo sumario que “el amor (ἔρος) es, en primer lugar, amor de ciertas cosas y, en segundo lugar, [amor] de aquello de que está falto” (200e). En esta caracterización aparecen algunos rasgos importantes. El eros es siempre “eros de ciertas cosas”, remite siempre a algo distinto de él mismo. En términos más actuales, podría decirse que el eros es intencional, remite siempre a un objeto (en sentido amplio). El objeto o término del eros, además, se vincula con “aquello de que [el eros] está falto”. Dicho de otro modo, el deseo amoroso revela una carencia, revela la falta de algo; el amor, en su tender hacia lo amado, hace patente una carencia. Otro aspecto relevante de la descripción que hace Sócrates entre 199d-200e es que el eros es constitutivamente temporal (cfr 200b). Nadie desea, asegura Sócrates, aquello que actualmente posee. En todo caso, se desea conservarlo en el futuro. “Deseo lo que actualmente tengo”, afirma Sócrates, expresa en realidad “quiero tener también en el futuro (ἐπειτὰ χρόνον) lo que ahora tengo” (200e). El impulso y la carencia de que habla el eros revelan la temporalidad propia de la existencia humana. “Este y cualquier otro que siente deseo, desea lo que no tiene a su disposición y no está presente, lo que no posee, lo que él no es y aquello de que carece” (200e). Por consiguiente, el eros como situación actual se origina en lo dado (en el pasado), en tanto que remite a una carencia propia de la constitución originaria del eros, y remite intrínsecamente al futuro en tanto que proyecta de forma inevitable la satisfacción de tal carencia en el horizonte temporal de lo no poseído todavía. Esta misma estructura del eros aparece desarrollada y ampliada en el Fedro. Detengámonos brevemente en la consideración del amor que se hace en este diálogo. En su 80


segundo discurso, Sócrates narra como, en el origen, las almas de los hombres contemplaban el ser de las cosas en la región divina. Sin embargo, por distintos avatares, las almas de los hombres “cayeron” desde aquella existencia superior a su actual condición marcada por la corporalidad. El primer sentido de este relato es sin duda que la situación presente del hombre hunde sus raíces en una caída y olvido de aquella situación originaria, de forma que el alma pugna ahora, sumida en una existencia cambiante y rodeada de sombras, por recuperar su condición primera (cfr. 245a y ss.). Esta lucha se hace presente, dirá Sócrates, en el deseo amoroso del alma. Deseo que, precisamente, despierta ante lo bello y que recibe el nombre de eros. El despertar del eros ocurre porque la belleza tiene la singular virtud de despertar en el alma el recuerdo de su condición originaria, de aquella existencia propia de su naturaleza. Ante ella, el hombre descubre que vive lejos de su morada, que su existencia está misteriosamente desplazada de su lugar (τόπος) original. De este modo, la experiencia del amor nos instala en las raíces de la propia existencia (cfr 249a-d) y nos presenta una verdad fundamental radicalmente opuesta a nuestra mente moderna: lo divino y más alto de la naturaleza humana no es la autonomía, sino el éxtasis (“estar fuera de uno mismo”) provocado por el entusiasmo (“posesión divina”). Según Platón, lo más alto a lo que puede aspirar el alma humana es a una existencia “fuera de sí” en el eros (cfr 244a-245c y 252a y ss.). Conviene destacar que lo expuesto hasta aquí no es presentado por Platón como un estado del alma, sino como un principio dinámico propio de la naturaleza de esta. En primer lugar, el alma es caracterizada como “principio de automovimiento” (245d). Más adelante, en 252b, Platón vincula este movimiento con el eros: el movimiento del alma, representado a través de la alegoría del carro alado, es identificado con el eros. Precisamente, el eros da razón del “ser alado” (252b) del alma, cuyo papel en el símil es dar cuenta del movimiento ascendente del alma hacia lo Verdadero, Bueno, Bello, Justo, etc., esto es, del regreso del alma a su existencia originaria. Todo lo anterior es importante aquí porque esta antropología platónica está también muy presente en el Banquete y su alusión aquí contribuye a legitimar el análisis del diálogo que nos ocupa en los términos en que lo estamos haciendo. Ahora bien, mientras que en el Fedro prima la reflexión en torno al vínculo entre el amor y la sabiduría, lo que interesa en el Banquete es aclarar la conexión del amor con la belleza. Prosigamos con el Banquete. Tras las reflexiones sobre el carácter del eros, Sócrates narra pormenorizadamente una conversación que él mismo mantuvo con Diotima, sacerdotisa de Mantinea. Como nada en la obra de Platón, tampoco la introducción de una mujer en este punto es casual. Se trata del único personaje femenino que interviene sustancialmente en un diálogo. No es, por tanto, un gesto inocente. Un primer punto para comprender esta nueva presencia femenina es que en los primeros compases del Banquete, Agatón y sus amigos habían expulsado a las mujeres de la sala para poder conversar solo entre varones (176e). Pero además, en el discurso de Pausanias había quedado establecida la diferencia entre amor ideal y amor vulgar en términos de amor homosexual y heterosexual, respectivamente. La unión entre varones, por considerarse de entendimiento más elevado, sería mejor y más alta que la unión del varón con una mujer. En este contexto, Sócrates introduce a Diotima, en clara oposición irónica al discurso de Pausanias, para quien únicamente el eros masculino es bello y noble. En efecto, salvo Aristófanes, los demás interlocutores parecen suponer que el amor masculino es el paradigma del eros. En otras palabras, la feminidad según ellos no aporta nada a la comprensión del amor. Frente a todo esto, Sócrates reconoce abiertamente y sin preámbulos que aprendió la sabiduría del eros de parte de una mujer. De hecho, la experiencia femenina del eros tomará a partir de ahora un papel crucial en la comprensión de este fenómeno. Como veremos más adelante, Diotima aportará precisamente las nociones clave para la consideración del eros en el Banquete: la fecundidad y el parto, la generación como una acción propia y originada por el eros.

81


La primera enseñanza de Diotima es que el eros no es bello ni feo, bueno o malo, sino que se trata más bien de un ser intermedio, un δαίµον. Su naturaleza consiste en ser un movimiento entre los extremos de la carencia y la plenitud, sin llegar a identificarse plenamente con ninguno de ellos. El amor es un continuo tender a la plenitud desde la indigencia sin lograr superar esta y alcanzar aquella. El eros es, como ya Sócrates había apuntado, un deseo solo comprensible como tensión entre carencia y plenitud. Este es el sentido del mito de la concepción de eros por parte de Poros (la abundancia) y Penia (la indigencia) en la fiesta de Afrodita (la belleza y el amor). Por su condición dual, eros es intermediario entre la realidad divina y la terrestre. En palabras de Diotima, el eros “concilia el Todo consigo mismo” (203a). Y por todo ello, el eros es también identificado con la naturaleza del filósofo, ya que “se encuentra en el término medio entre la sabiduría y la ignorancia” (203d). Esto último no es un mero añadido de Platón. Según explica Diotima, los dioses no filosofan porque ya son sabios, pero tampoco filosofa el vulgo, aunque no sabe nada, porque precisamente no sabe que carece del saber que debería poseer. En cambio, el filósofo, cuya referencia aquí es sin duda Sócrates, pese a no haber alcanzado la sabiduría, sabe precisamente que carece de ella. De este modo, es consciente de su carencia y, lo que es más importante, en esta medida es capaz de desear aquello de lo que sabe que carece. En cambio, “el que no cree estar falto de nada no siente deseo de lo que no cree necesitar” (204a). El verdadero ignorante no es el que no sabe, sino el que no sabe que carece de un saber que le es propio; ignora –existencialmente– que su propia existencia está marcada por una carencia originaria. El deseo amoroso del “ignorante existencial” está por tanto abocado a la arbitrariedad, porque desconoce cuál es su origen y, por ello mismo, cuál es su fin. El célebre dicho socrático “solo sé que no sé nada” adquiere así un tono mucho más vital. No se trata tanto de un dato de hecho, de una certeza que al modo cartesiano permita enclavar el punto de partida del método, sino que supone la aceptación fundamental, vital si se quiere, de que la existencia humana está de suyo arrojada en el misterio, y que la propia indigencia es, precisamente, camino de sabiduría y camino del eros. Esta es, a nuestro juicio, la razón fundamental por la que Platón presenta a la filosofía como una manifestación del eros y por la que “el eros es necesariamente filósofo” (204b). LA “GENERACIÓN EN LA BELLEZA” Terminada la caracterización del eros, Sócrates interrumpe a Diotima con la siguiente pregunta: “Admitido, extranjera. Dices bien, pero siendo el Amor así, ¿qué utilidad (τιίνα χρείαν) tiene para los hombres?” (204d). Asentada la naturaleza del amor, Sócrates pregunta ahora por cuál es su provecho, su uso (ambas palabras traducen también χρείαν) para la vida de los hombres. Lo que sigue, por tanto, no es una definición o un tratado sobre el eros, sino una reflexión acerca de su papel en la vida de los hombres. En este punto, Sócrates por boca de Diotima reintroducirá en el diálogo la conexión del eros con la belleza (τὸ καλόν) planteada anteriormente en el discurso de Agatón. El que ama, asegura Diotima, “ama las cosas bellas”. ¿Por qué? Porque desea poseerlas, responde Sócrates. ¿Con qué fin? Sócrates admite desconocer la respuesta. En esta tesitura, Diotima cambia los términos de la pregunta e insta a Sócrates que le responda a por qué desean los hombres las cosas buenas (τὸν αγαθόν). Para poseerlas y así ser felices, responde el filósofo esta vez. Parece, por tanto, que para poder comprender la vinculación eros-belleza es preciso primero completar la estructura del eros planteada anteriormente mediante la consideración de lo bueno. Según se ha dicho, querer es siempre desear algo; y ahora se añade: desear es siempre desear algo bueno. Y precisamente, apunta Sócrates, la posesión de lo bueno es lo que hace felices a los hombres. Y los hombres no aman nada más que lo bueno. Pero además lo que se desea es precisamente poseer lo bueno, y “poseerlo de forma permanente” (206a). 82


El cambio de καλόν por αγαθόν no supone un simple cambio de perspectiva; introduce la línea discursiva sobre la que construirá Diotima la relación entre eros y la belleza a partir de 206b1: “Dado que amar es siempre esto, replicó ella, cómo lo conseguirán, y a través de qué acción, de modo que su intenso deseo pueda llamarse amor?”. De nuevo, Sócrates desconoce la respuesta. “Pues bien, replicó [Diotima], yo te lo diré. Esta acción es la procreación en lo bello (τόκος ἐν καλῷ) tanto según el cuerpo como según el alma” (206b). Estamos sin duda ante uno de los puntos cruciales del Banquete. Aquí empieza a anudarse todo lo expuesto anteriormente y empieza a tomar forma la conexión del eros y la belleza. La acción propia del eros, entendido como deseo de poseer de forma permanente lo bueno –y de cuyo acierto depende en último término la felicidad–, es el parto, la procreación, la generación en lo bello según el cuerpo y según el alma. Esta acción es justamente el medio a través del cual el eros se manifiesta, de modo que tal acción es la que revela el eros y hace posible que lo identifiquemos como tal. Según Diotima, además, tal acción no es única, sino que este particular τόκος (“generación”, “parto”, “procreación”) está presente de forma diversa, como veremos, en los distintos ámbitos de la existencia humana. En efecto, dicha generación se realiza “tanto según el cuerpo como según el alma”. Ante la extrañeza de Sócrates –y seguramente de cualquier lector del Banquete–, Diotima accede a desarrollar lo anterior con mayor claridad. Todos los hombres, afirma la sacerdotisa, son fecundos tanto según el cuerpo como según el alma y, llegados a una cierta edad, desean por naturaleza dar a luz/generar (τικτείν) (cf. 206c). Asentado este principio dinámico que impulsa la vida humana y que se desarrolla con ella, Diotima presenta el papel de la belleza como “la Moira y la Ilitiya [diosas vinculadas con el parto] del nacimiento de los seres. Por este motivo, cuando se acerca a un ser bello lo que está preñado se sosiega, se derrama de alegría, alumbra y procrea” (206d). En cambio, ante la fealdad, el que está preñado no puede procrear, sino que se contrae y se repliega y “retiene dolorosamente el fruto de su fecundidad” (206e). “De ahí que sea grande la pasión por lo bello que se da en el ser que está preñado y abultado ya por su fruto”, prosigue, “porque lo bello libera al que lo posee de los grandes dolores del parto”(206e). En resumidas cuentas, “no es posible generar (τικτείν) en lo feo (ἐν αισχρῳ), sino tan solo en lo bello (ἐν τῷ καλῷ)” (206c). En la explicación de Diotima la belleza no se presenta como objeto o término del deseo. “El amor no es, Sócrates, como tú crees, amor de lo bello (οὺ τοῦ καλοῦ ὀ ἔρως). Esta es la razón por la que lo bello ha sido previamente sustituido por lo bueno en el papel de objeto del eros. La belleza es caracterizada aquí como el ámbito en el cual es posible el τικτείν, la generación, la manifestación del deseo presente en la naturaleza humana por engendrar (“tanto según el cuerpo como según el alma”). La belleza posibilita y asiste el cumplimiento del deseo generativo natural que define la acción propia del eros. Llegados a este punto, conviene no olvidar que la generación en lo bello, tal y como se acaba de exponer, es la acción propia del eros según este ha sido caracterizado hasta este momento, es decir, como deseo de poseer lo bueno de forma permanente. ¿Cuál es, sin embargo, la relación entre τικτείν ἐν τῷ καλῷ, la generación en lo bello, y la posesión permanente de lo bueno como objeto del eros? El eros, asegura la sacerdotisa, es “amor de la generación y del parto en la belleza” (206e). Esta nueva descripción del eros nos permite especificar la anterior; el eros sigue respondiendo a la caracterización de “deseo de poseer de forma permanente lo bueno”, pero tal “posesión permanente de lo bueno” se enlaza aquí con el concepto de generación. ¿Qué aporta este nuevo concepto? Uno nuevo aspecto que en adelante resultará fundamental: la inmortalidad (ἀθανασίας). “¿Por qué [el eros] es de la generación? –se pregunta Diotima–. Porque es la generación algo eterno (ἀειγενές) e inmortal (ἀθανατόν), en la medida que esto puede darse en un mortal” (206e). Porque el eros es también amor de la inmortalidad (cf.207a). Pocas líneas más adelante, la sacerdotisa amplia lo anterior al asegurar que “la naturaleza mortal busca en lo posible existir siempre (αἐί εἴναι) y ser inmortal”. 83


LA DIMENSIÓN EXISTENCIAL DE LA BELLEZA Recapitulemos brevemente lo expuesto hasta el momento para que se vea claramente lo que Platón está exponiendo mediante discursos y preguntas. El eros se ha presentado como un deseo constitutivamente indigente por lograr la plenitud de la naturaleza humana y cuyo objeto es la posesión permamente de lo bueno, entendida ahora como generación en la belleza. Todo esto aparece de un modo nuevo a la luz de la última consideración de Diotima: la naturaleza humana busca existir siempre, y tal existencia eterna se logra –dentro del ámbito de la mortalidad humana– a través de la generación. El objeto perseguido por el eros, por tanto, no se está presentando como el objeto propio de una facultad humana, su posesión no se plantea en último término como tarea particular de una función humana; el fin propio del eros es cierto tipo de existencia, la inmortalidad en la medida en que esta es posible para un mortal. La “existencia inmortal” (αἐί εἴναι, “ser siempre”) es, en el pensamiento platónico, la existencia propia de los dioses, de lo divino, es lo más elevado y valioso de la realidad, el ámbito de realidad plena de la que la existencia terrena es un pálido reflejo. Sin embargo, lo realmente importante en la reflexión de Diotima no es tanto el fin en sí mismo considerado, la inmortalidad, cuanto el modo en que este fin es posible para un mortal. De hecho, como también sucede en el Fedro, parece que aquí la existencia del mundo de lo eterno solo tiene sentido en la medida en que permite iluminar la tensión propia de la existencia humana. Las siguientes palabras de Diotima se refieren al modo en que la naturaleza mortal tiende a la inmortalidad: “solamente puede conseguirlo con la generación (τῃ γενέσει), porque siempre deja un ser nuevo en el lugar del viejo” (207d). La inmortalidad, por tanto, aparece en el ámbito mortal en términos de renovación. Un individuo, afirma la sacerdotisa, “constantemente se está renovando en un aspecto y destruyendo en otro” (207d), y esto no solo ocurre en el cuerpo sino también en el alma (cfr. 207d-e). Decimos de un individuo que es “el mismo” aunque “jamás reúne las mismas cosas en sí mismo” (207d). Y esto ni siquiera en los “conocimientos (ἐπιστήµαι)”, “de suerte que no somos idénticos (αὐτοί ἐσµεν) a nosotros ni siquiera según los conocimientos” (207d). Mientras que lo divino es inmortal por “ser completamente y siempre idéntico a sí mismo” (208b), “lo mortal se conserva por el hecho de que el ser que se va o ha envejecido deja otro ser nuevo, similar a como él era. Por este medio, Sócrates, lo mortal participa de inmortalidad, tanto en su cuerpo como en todo lo demás” (208b). La naturaleza mortal, por tanto, tiende a la inmortalidad –cuya razón propia se acaba de señalar que es la autoidentidad– a través de la propia renovación entendida como un particular juego entre el cambio y la permanencia. En la renovación no se da ni una perfecta identidad ni un cambio total; la generación logra más bien la permanencia en el cambio. De este modo, el eros se caracteriza como el impulso hacia lo eterno propio de una existencia temporal (esta caracterización no parece estar muy de la consideración del tiempo en el Timeo como imagen móvil de la eternidad, [cfr 37d]). A continuación, Diotima describe a Sócrates dos maneras en las que esto tiene lugar entre los hombres. Ambos caminos cumplen un ascenso desde la belleza material a lo más elevado y espiritual, y en ambos el impulso hacia lo alto procede de la belleza que se descubre en los cuerpos bellos, las virtudes y las ciencias (cfr 208c y ss.). Ahora bien, Diotima establece una clara jerarquía entre ambos caminos: el primero queda subordinado al segundo (cfr 210e). El primer ascenso culmina en la sabiduría moral, cuya “más bella forma es el ordenamiento de las ciudades y de las comunidades, que tiene por nombre el de moderación y justicia” (209b1). Es este el ámbito de la educación y el crecimiento en la virtud moral. La fama y el honor de los hombres excelentes en este campo, quienes han llegado a las cotas más altas de este ascenso, es inmortal (209b-e). En este primer ascenso, la belleza cumple la función de guía, de modo que quien está “preñado de estas virtudes desde niño (…) busca en torno suyo la

84


belleza en la que pueda engendrar (...) y por tener contacto y trato con lo bello, alumbra y da vida a lo que tenía concebido desde antes” (209a-b). Ahora bien, tal y como expone la sacerdotisa de Mantinea, estos misterios están subordinados, si se procede con “buen método” (ορθῶς µετιῄ), a otros que requieren una “iniciación perfecta y el grado de la contemplación” (210a). A la iniciación en estos nuevos misterios corresponde el segundo ascenso. Curiosamente, Platón hace dudar a Diotima de que Sócrates sea capaz de iniciarse en estos misterios (cfr 210a). Este nuevo ascenso se estructura en las siguientes etapas (cfr. 210b-211a): en primer lugar (1) es preciso “desde la juventud” dirigirse hacia los cuerpos bellos, primero hacia uno solo, y “engendrar en él bellos discursos”. A continuación, el iniciado debe percatarse de que la belleza de los otros “cuerpos bellos” es hermana de aquella primera, pues es la misma e idéntica “forma”, y enamorarse así de todos los cuerpos bellos y superar el “apego a uno solo”. Tras este primer nivel, en el que se persigue la belleza corporal por su forma y se engendran bellos discursos, hay que (2) “tener por más valiosa la belleza de las almas que la de los cuerpos”, hasta el punto de llegar a amar a alguien corporalmente feo por la belleza de su alma. En este nivel se engendran y buscan “palabras que hacen mejores a los jóvenes” y se contempla “la belleza de las normas de conducta y las leyes”, y así se llega a considerar “de escasa importancia la belleza de los cuerpos”. Tras las normas, (3) el iniciado debe dirigirse hacia la belleza de las “ciencias”, de modo que deje atrás todo amor particular, bien a un cuerpo o a una norma de conducta, y “vuelva su mirada a ese inmenso mar de belleza y le haga engendrar muchos, bellos y magníficos discursos y pensamientos en inagotable filosofía” (211a). Antes de introducir el siguiente nivel, Diotima hace una pausa para marcar la importancia del salto; no es un nivel como los demás. “Procura, agregó [Diotima], prestarme toda la atención que te sea posible”, porque ahora se va a hablar de (4) una “ciencia única”, “el grado supremo de iniciación en el amor”, a la que se llega robustecido y elevado por la filosofía (cfr 211a), habiendo “contemplado en este orden y en esta debida forma las cosas bellas” (211a). Se trata de la contemplación de la Belleza en sí (αυτὸ τὸ καλόν) y acaece “de repente” (ἐξαίφνης) –en el Fedro es presentada como un rapto–. Se contempla “aquello que es bello por su propia naturaleza” y que ha sido la causa de todas las “fatigas anteriores”. La Belleza en sí reúne las siguientes notas: (i) “existe siempre, no nace ni muere”, (ii) “no es bello por un lado y feo por otro”, para todos es igualmente bello, (iii) tampoco se aparece en forma de cuerpo, “ni como un razonamiento, ni como un conocimiento, ni como algo que exista en otro ser” (211a), (iv) se trata de “la propia belleza en sí que siempre es consigo misma específicamente única” (211a), y (v) “todas las cosas bellas participan de ella” (211a). Este conocimiento de la belleza en sí “es el momento de la vida (…) en que más que ningún otro adquiere valor el vivir del hombre: cuando este contempla la belleza en sí” (211d). Ante ella, todas las demás bellezas del mundo palidecen (el “oro”, los “vestidos”, los “jóvenes bellos”…). Ahora bien, cuando se llega a contemplar esta belleza todavía no se ha terminado, “se está, puede decirse, a punto de alcanzar la meta” (211b). Para la interpretación usual de Platón, según la que el fin del alma es la contemplación de las ideas, puede resultar extraño este paso más allá de la contemplación. En este sentido, no deja de ser paradójico que la contemplación de la Belleza en sí en el Banquete sea la descripción más detallada de una Idea en todo el corpus platónico y se señale explícitamente que la contemplación de esta no es la meta. ¿Cuál es entonces? La vida según la verdadera belleza; “[ya que] ahora el iniciado podrá engendrar “virtudes verdaderas, por estar en contacto con la verdad (…). [Y de este modo] al que ha procreado y alimenta una virtud verdadera le es posible hacerse amigo de los dioses y también inmortal” (212a-b). La meta del eros –y, por ende, de la existencia humana– no es la

85


contemplación de la identidad eterna de la Belleza, sino un cierto tipo de existencia: la vida que engendra y genera en uno mismo la contemplación de la belleza. CONCLUSIONES A lo largo del análisis precedente, se han abierto numerosas puertas: la caracterización del eros, la relación entre el eros y el bien, la relación entre el eros y la inmortalidad, la filosofía, la belleza, la procreación, etc. Nos es imposible atender aquí a todos estos asuntos, de modo que únicamente señalaremos tres puntos que nos han parecido especialmente relevantes y que entendemos que son aportaciones originales, valiosas, a menudo olvidadas, de Platón a la reflexión sobre la belleza. (1) El eros, el amor platónico, es el deseo de procrear/engendrar/generar en lo bello. Este deseo sitúa y define de forma radical la existencia humana. No es separable, por tanto, la consideración del amor de la consideración de qué sea lo verdaderamente bello, porque precisamente es lo sumamente bello lo que da sentido y hace posible el amor. (2) El amor se realiza en la belleza es a través de una gradación del dinamismo propio del eros, la generación/procreación: primero en el cuerpo, luego en el alma, más adelante en las ciencias y la filosofía y, finalmente, la propia existencia auténtica en la contemplación del origen de toda belleza. (3) En el dinamismo generado por el encuentro con la belleza, se cumple también gradualmente una estructura dinámica de alejamiento-de-sí y encuentro-de-sí que culmina con el encuentro con la Belleza, un acontecimiento que para Platón supera la separación clásica entre acción y contemplación, pues precisamente en este encuentro el hombre vive en la contemplación de la Belleza, y la contemplación engendra en su vida la existencia verdadera y auténtica. El sentido de la vida aquí, por tanto, no es forjado por el hombre –no hay rastro aquí del heroísmo ni de la tragedia griegos– ni es el cumplimiento utópico de una comunidad última; el hombre se encuentra al dejarse poseer por una realidad insondable, por un misterio presente ya en los cuerpos, las almas, las virtudes y la filosofía pero que los trasciende y los funda. Por eso mismo la belleza es camino hacia la Belleza, y la Belleza es camino hacia la Vida verdadera. BIBLIOGRAFÍA Platón, –

Symposium, edición bilingüe griego-inglés; edición, traducción y comentario a cargo de C.J. Rowe; Warminster: Aris & Phillips (1998).

El Banquete, Fedón, Fedro, traducción e introducción de Luis Gil; Madrid: Ediciones Guadarrama (1969).

Phaedrus, edición bilingüe griego-inglés; edición, traducción y comentario a cargo de C.J. Rowe; Warminster: Aris & Phillips (1988)

Hyland, Drew A., Plato and the question of beauty; Bloomington: Indiana University Press (2008). Guthrie, William Keith Chambers, Historia de la filosofía griega. V, Platón : segunda época y la Academia; versión española de Alberto Medina González; Madrid : Gredos (1992). VV.AA., Plato and Aristotle's ethics; col. Ashgate Keeling series in ancient philosophy; editado por Robert Heinaman; Aldershot: Ashgate (2003). 86


Ratzinger, Joseph, discurso en el congreso “La contemplación de la belleza”, Rimini (2002) recogido en RATZINGER, Joseph, La belleza, la Iglesia ; prólogo Etsuro Sotoo ; traducción Carmen Salgado; Madrid : Encuentro (2006).

87


PAINFUL ART AS A DISCOURSE WITH THE OTHER: COMPARING AESTHETIC MOVES IN VAN HEMESSEN’S CHRIST CARRYING THE CROSS AND HE QI’S CARRYING CROSS Mercado Clement, I.J. Theng Hong Seng, B. Theng Yuan Seng, A.J. Chea Wae, S.O. National University of Singapore Supervisor: Callejo, P.

INTRODUCTION Pain and suffering are common motifs in two different portrayals of Christ carrying the cross by Jan Sanders van Hemessen and by He Qi. Van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross (Plate 1) features a suffering Jesus at the center of the image, with his illuminated face sharply contrasting the darker hues of the background. Amidst a crowd of naysayers, He is portrayed gazing directly out of the painting, thus drawing the viewer into the ongoing narrative. Similar with van Hemessen’s version, the Jesus in He Qi’s Carrying Cross (Plate 2) is featured melancholic in the center. In between a Chinese soldier and a commoner woman, Jesus holds a gaze towards some direction, thus drawing the viewer by leading him to question: “Where is Jesus looking?”

Plate 1 Jan Sanders van Hemessen. Christ Carrying the Cross. Wikimedia Commons.

Plate 2 He Qi. Carrying Cross. He Qi Gallery.

Van Hemessen’s and He Qi’s versions of Christ carrying the cross, despite displaying similar visual elements, follow vastly different aesthetic styles in portraying the subject matter. While van Hemessen’s version is full of realism, shade, and volume, He Qi’s version embodies a very flat Cubistic aesthetic that relies on color to convey perspective and emotion. In this essay, we shall argue that this fundamental difference between van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the

88


Cross and He Qi’s Carrying Cross arises from the fact that these paintings revolve around vastly different socio-cultural contexts that define which aesthetic moves are acceptable. In particular, He Qi’s cubist portrayal weakens the rawness of Christ’s suffering (as epitomized by van Hemessen) to make it approachable to a contemporary Asian culture influenced by Confucian ideals. These two cases thus illustrate the power of aesthetic styles in making the message of Christ’s suffering acceptable to its intended audience. PAINFUL ART AS A DISCOURSE WITH THE OTHER To understand the different aesthetic moves in the van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross and He Qi’s Carrying Cross, let us first consider what drives viewers to look at art that portrays suffering and pain. In the article “The Paradox of Painful Art,” philosopher Aaron Smuts raises an apparent disparity in the emotions that people seek from real life and from the consumption of art. He puts forward that while people avoid “situations that arouse painful emotions,” they continually “seek out art that they know will arouse painful emotions” (Smuts 60). Citing examples of “religious-themed art in the Western tradition” and even the “religious bio-film The Passion of the Christ” (61) he appeals to the consumption of such “painful art” as a “paradox” (60). While other thinkers have presented ways to interpret and resolve this paradox (see further discussions in Smuts), viewing painful art can be considered as an act of confronting and experiencing the face of the Other. The French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas argues that “the Other is out of proportion to the power and freedom of the ‘I.’” (Valevicius 15). More than simply another being which is separate from the Self, the Other is the being (or the representation of this being) whose poverty and suffering seeks and beckons the self to respond. Because of this suffering experienced by the Other, its ‘face’ questions the complacency of the Self in the light of humaneness and inhumanity. This face-to-face confrontation and experience of the Other to and with the Self happens through this moment of presencing: we (the audience) have to look at the Other straight in the face. This looking at the Other happens in our experience of the painful art of van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross and He Qi’s Carrying Cross. In both versions, Jesus is portrayed with a pale-looking face that does not have any extreme physical marks of suffering, but yet projects a feeling of deep melancholy. The audience thus experiences the suffering of the face of the Other – this “Other” being Jesus. This experience is accentuated in van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross by the predominantly brownish tone of the composition. Meanwhile, the wide, sullen eyes of Christ evoke a feeling of depression in He Qi’s Carrying Cross. Furthermore, Christ’s figure is bent down under the weight of the cross in both cases. In van Hemessen, Jesus leans towards the cross, as if embracing it to support its weight. In He Qi, on the other hand, Jesus’ knees are visibly bent down under the weight of the cross. In both paintings, the audience thus experiences the Other as poor, despairing, suffering, enigmatic, haunting, outcast, and being most distant to the Self. But while such painful art allows a viewer to experience the face of the Other, how does it evoke a response from the viewer? In this experience of the face of the Other, the Self is in fact confronted to have responsibility for the Other because the Self is presented with both his possibility and inevitability in the Other. As we experience the Other, so also do we experience ourselves. As Levinas writes: Responsibility is what is incumbent on me exclusively, and what, humanly, I cannot refuse. This charge is a supreme dignity of the unique. I am I in the sole measure that I am responsible, a non-interchangeable I. I can substitute myself for everyone, but no one can substitute himself for me (Levinas 101). Moments of pain, tragedy, sorrow, suffering and finitude captured in the most eloquent forms of art are moments no less than the expression of the meaning of living a human life — a 89


life that both possibly and inevitably includes so much hurt. In both van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross and He Qi’s Carrying Cross, the viewer projects himself to the Other and finds that the only way to comprehend the deeply melancholic face of Christ is to draw up from his personal experiences of suffering. While theologically Christ’s suffering would have been infinitely more painful than we can imagine, in this discourse the Other also imparts a greater consciousness of suffering on the part of the Self. Thus, painful art is not a means of easing suffering. Rather, it is a means of confronting this suffering, becoming responsible for the Other, and being more attune to the Self. Pain in art makes this experience of the Other palpable and tangible. Pain makes the Other so evidently present that we are called to be our most responseable Self. Thus, such painful art serves as a ground for discourse between the self and the Other. ASIANIZING THE WESTERN AESTHETIC While the idea of painful art as a discourse with the Other may seem universal, aesthetic moves within a certain piece can affect this discourse. Take, for instance, van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross. As we have mentioned, Jesus is portrayed with a pale-looking face that projects a feeling of deep melancholy. His hair is disheveled under the thorns that crowns His head and impales His skin. Jesus’ body is leaning and is embracing the weight of the cross, yet the looseness with which His hands grasps the wood convey His weakness. He suffers the ridicule of the crowd of naysayers which, together with the brownish tones of the background, brings to life His gloomy ordeal. While all of these elements appeal to a Western realist audience, they will ultimately break down in the light of a Confucian framework. Historian Anthony Clark, in his paper “Early Modern Chinese Reactions to Western Missionary Iconography,” discusses how crucifixion iconography was largely “(mis)interpreted and (mis)represented by native Chinese elite through the late Ming 明 (1368–1644) and Qing 清 (1644–1912) eras” (5). Borrowing from the writings of the Buddhist monk Xingqian 性潛 (1602– 70), Clark states that “Christ’s crucifixion was contrary to all five of the Confucian virtues” (9) in that “his image with disheveled hair and a naked body which gives him [the appearance] of a malicious devil is not proper [禮]” (9-10). In addition, after precedents located in Confucian classics, the “image of Christ crucified merely supported Christ’s misconduct” as a rebel against the prevailing Jewish societal harmony “rather than illustrated a noble martyr” (12). The portrayal of Christ’s raw suffering is also critiqued on the grounds of Confucius’ teachings about being a good son in the Xiaojing 孝經 (Classic of Filial Piety). Clark argues that “being filial…begins with caring for the body given to one by his or her parents and ends with making a good name of oneself in order to bring honor to one’s parents” (13). On these grounds, Christ can be casted as “unfilial” in a Confucian perspective as He was “executed as a criminal, [which] both harms the body and leaves behind an ignoble reputation.” A consciousness of these issues in portraying Christ’s suffering alongside a Confucian mindset is present in He Qi’s Carrying Cross. It certainly lacks the realism that so largely influences van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross. Instead of wavy contours and fine textural details, He Qi takes a coarse-grained approach by making use of a single texture and clearly defined lines to achieve a flat Cubistic version of van Hemessen. This coarse-graining implies that He Qi cannot portray emotions using textural gestures like that of van Hemessen. Hence, he used a combination of green, blue, and red colors on Jesus’ face to convey the morose and glum feelings that accompany suffering. Using a Cubistic aesthetic, He Qi was able to weaken the rawness of Christ’s suffering. In contrast to van Hemessen’s Jesus with loose grips and an impaled forehead, there is no outward sign of harm to the body in He Qi’s Jesus. In Carrying Cross, Jesus is even portrayed giving a “peace” sign with the right hand while firmly holding the cross with the left hand. This gives an impression that He Qi’s Jesus is stronger than van Hemessen’s Jesus that is embracing the weight of the cross. Furthermore, He Qi’s Jesus 90


appears with a neater hair compared to the disheveled hair of van Hemessen’s Jesus. All these support the idea that He Qi’s portrayal of Christ carrying the cross comes across as more compatible to the Confucian framework than van Hemessen’s. Linking back to Levinas, He Qi’s painful art of Carrying Cross enriches the contemporary Asian’s discourse with the Other by using appropriate aesthetic moves. A CONCLUDING WORD From the examples of van Hemessen’s Christ Carrying the Cross and He Qi’s Carrying Cross, we see how two paintings that can be categorized as “painful art” use vastly different aesthetics to make their content acceptable to the viewer. While van Hemessen’s interpretation can work very well in the Western world, it would not do very well in contemporary Asia in the context of a Confucian framework. We argued that He Qi’s Cubistic interpretation, in effect, weakens the rawness of Christ’s suffering to make it more palatable to a contemporary Asian audience. As such, this gives aesthetic styles the power in making messages embedded in art forms acceptable to its intended audience. All these, however, raise interesting and fundamental questions: do we still portray what is true under such aesthetic moves? And if the beauty of an artwork is simply a value conferred by the aesthetic moves of its maker, does this completely eradicate the ‘real’ aesthetic value of the object? Should one claim that beauty is merely a value given and is completely subjective, it is not a meaningful value anymore because in the eyes of another, it need not necessarily be beautiful. If beauty is something merely in between, then it acts like a filter, existing independent of both human minds and objects. How, then, do we characterize beauty under such controversial gray areas of culture and subjective experience? BIBLIOGRAPHY Clark, Anthony. “Early Modern Chinese Reactions to Western Missionary Iconography.” Southeast Review of Asian Studies 30 (2008): 5-22. Print. He, Qi. Carrying Cross. He Qi Gallery. <http://www.heqigallery.com/shop/Carrying-Cross.jpg>. Cited 27 March 2012. Web. Levinas, Emmanuel. Ethics and Infinity: Conversations with Philippe Nemo. Trans. Richard Cohen. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, (1985). Smuts, Aaron. “The Paradox of Painful Art.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 41:3 (2007): 59-76. Valevicius, Andrius. From the Other to the Totally Other: The Religious Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. New York: Peter Lang, (1988). Van Hemessen, Jan Sanders. Christ Carrying the Cross. Wikemedia Commons. <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jan_van_Hemessen__Christ_Carrying_the_Cross__WGA11350.jpg>. Cited 27 March 2012. Web.

91


BEAUTIFUL ART: ESCAPISM, A DEEPER VIEW OF REALITY, OR A NECESSITY FOR MAN?

Hadley, G. The Heights School (Potomac, Maryland, USA) Supervisor: Cardenas, J. The Heights School (Potomac, Maryland, USA)

INTRODUCTION For thousands of years, mankind has created art. The art of the spoken word, the written word, the visual arts, and the art of music are all forms of this creative process. Man, as a race, has always had a deep seated urge to create something beautiful. It is perhaps second only to our animal instinct for survival. We have always treasured beautiful creations. But the nature of art, the why, is a mystery to many humans. We see a beautiful painting, hear a sad song, read a moving book, and feel emotion course through us. The power of art is apparent to all, but few realize why it has this hold on us. Over the years, many scholars have tried to answer this question. Some say we have art because it is a necessity for us. Others say we create it as a way to escape the problems of our world. Still others say art moves us because it is a deeper vision of reality, a way for us to better see the overarching whys of own existence and reality. The true answer lies in a fusion of all three theories. By taking elements of each argument, one can understand why man needs art, and how art affects us. But how can this be, if escapism is leaving the physical world behind, while a deeper understanding of reality would necessitate a greater understanding of it? This is a contradiction, is it not? This apparent conflict is one that has caused many to abandon the escapist theory as superficial and selfish to the degree that escapism has a negative connotation among many academic circles. J.R.R Tolkien, however, successfully unites the two theories in his essay On Fairy Stories, delivered as a lecture in 1939 and published in 1947. In this lecture, Tolkien explains how fantasy, or fairy, stories can lead the reader to a greater understanding of his own world. Furthermore, he argues, escapism is not a negative thing at all.1 Rather it can be a way to elevate our souls to something greater or higher than this world. That something, Tolkien says, is God. Another proponent of this theory is C.S. Lewis, whose fantasy novels The Chronicles of Narnia contain numerous references to Christian theology2. Of course, if art is something that can provide a greater understanding of ourselves and of God, and at the same time be a path for escapism, than it can be hardly argued that it is not a good thing for man. What is more debate-worthy is whether art is an absolute necessity for man, as essential as food, water, air and companionship. This is far more debatable, and also depends on the definition of necessity. If we understand a necessity as something that we cannot physically do Tolkien, J.R.R. “On Fairy Stories.” University of St. Andrew’s. 1 Jan. 1939. Essays Presented to Charles Williams. By J.R.R. Tolkien. London: Oxford University Press, 1947. N. pag. Library of Kiev. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://bjorn.kiev.ua/ librae/ Tolkien/ Tolkien_On_Fairy_Stories.htm>.

1

2

Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. New York: HarperCollins, (1950).

92


without, than art is not truly necessary. We eat and drink because our bodies need nutrients. We need air to breathe to function. We need companionship of some kind, any kind because without it we would go insane. But art? Without art, would the world stop? Would humanity die off, or lose its sanity? Many would say no. Life without art would be a little less colorful perhaps. A little more weary and a little less happy. But we would survive. If, however, we understand necessity as something more than physical, than we must stop and reconsider. Since the beginning of man, there has been art. The caves of Altamira and Lascaux where prehistoric man painted animals are estimated to be tens of thousands of years old. Ancient flutes have been found that are even older. Poetry by Homer and the ancient Greeks comes from as early as the seventh century before Christ. Obviously, man has always felt the need for art, even at times when his very survival was not assured. This need seems to suggest that art really is a necessity. Every society in history, from the most barbaric to the most immoral to the most humane, has had art. As a race that has never not had art, we can only imagine what the world would be like. Considering that man has always made art, it is not a stretch to say that art is fundamental to the human race. I plan on using three examples to show how art is a necessity for man, escapism, and a deeper view of reality. To ensure total accuracy and completeness, I will use a piece of art from the most common subsets; literature, painting, and music. Not only will I show how art can be each of these things, I will also show how each of these seemingly unrelated things are actually deeply connected and, in fact, necessitate each other. Now, to prove these claims, certain terms must be understood. Firstly, art must be defined. This is not an easy task, nor one that can be completed succinctly. It necessitates a fairly detailed discussion. In addition, beauty must be defined. This is also difficult, but it is necessary, because art that is not beautiful does not fulfill its purpose, and in this paper I am defining this purpose. The definition of art has been the subject of debate for many many years. What beauty is has been the subject of even more intense protracted discussion. In every generation there have been thinkers who defined art and beauty one way, and those who have disagreed. Thus, to define either term is a risky business, and is practically a fool proof way to start an argument. Still, we must try, or the foundations of this paper would not support the argument. Art has become almost anything in the modern world. Almost every week we are confronted with new stories about how some museum or collector has paid thousands, if not millions for tins of feces or urinals or some other equally ordinary object, labeled as art. In recent months, a woman even labeled the delivery of her baby as performance art. It seems that art could be anything we want it to be. In fact, some claim that art should not be defined, because this limits art’s potential. Others define art so broadly that it contains almost anything. Let us turn to Blessed John Paul II’s Letter to Artists. In this letter, the pope very early on describes artists as “creators of beauty.” If artists are creators of beauty, than that which they create, art, must be beauty. But what is beauty? Isn’t that just another subjective term we can never be sure of? Here we can turn to Pope Benedict, who writes in his book, On the Way to Jesus Christ, “Beauty is knowledge, indeed, a higher form of knowing, because it strikes man with the truth in all its greatness.”3 Examining this quote, we can see that beauty, and art as a result, is something that reveals to man certain truths, and reveals them in a powerful way that strikes us. This definition, however, seems to contrast sharply with that of escapism, which I said earlier was a purpose of art. Escapism is defined as “habitual diversion of the mind to purely imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine.” Among many scholars today, the word has a pejorative meaning. This is a result of the abuse of the main ideas of escapism. The belief that recreation in and of itself is not a bad thing is fairly common. All but the most devoted workaholics Ratzinger, Joseph. On the Way to Jesus Christ. 2nd ed. (2004). San Francisco: Ignatius Press, (2005). Ignatius Press. Web. 1 Mar. 2012.

3

93


make sure to take some time off for rest and relaxation. In fact, those who overwork and are too devoted to their jobs are often looked upon society as unnatural and unhealthy. God himself took a day to rest. Leisure is clearly not a bad thing, but a necessary outlet. The problem with escapism is that it is associated with excessive leisure or entertainment. The definition above makes this clear. The idea of escapism; that we leave behind our world, appeals to many who would like to leave behind their problems and this world permanently. These people read a book or look at a picture and so desperately want to leave behind reality that they embrace the alternative reality that the art offers. What is more, they do not want to leave. They want to reject the world, but one cannot totally leave the world behind. A person who is lost in the fantasy land of a book or painting is a sad lonely person, trying to live in an unreal place. In many ways, the escapism of art parallels the escapism of alcohol and illegal drugs. This sort of sad person has caused the new understanding of escapism. The old version, however, did not embrace what J.R.R Tolkien calls “desertion”. The world can be a harsh place, a ‘veil of tears’. Sin has made it so. Leaving reality behind sometimes is not an objectively bad thing. With restraint, it can, in fact, be a very good thing, just as leisure can be. Of course, once we start escaping because reality is too heavy a burden, than we stray dangerously close to the wrong. The world is what holds the promise of redemption, not a book or a song. Still, escapism is not entirely negative. In fact, two of the greatest writers of the 20th century, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis are proponents of escapism, to a degree. Each wrote some of the most famous fantasy novels of all time, and each saw his work as a way by which man could improve himself and his world. In fact, Tolkien stated in his essay On Fairy Stories that fantasy literature, while escapist to an extent, eventually leads man to God. The writings of Lewis put this into especially obvious practice. The Chronicles of Narnia are perhaps the most famous children’s fantasy series ever. Throughout the entire series, Christian symbolism and imagery is used, even as Lewis tells an epic fantasy of war and heroism. He and Tolkien write with two intentions. The first is the superficial; they want to tell a good story. The second is deeper; by stepping into a new world the reader will be able to better understand his own. The character of Aslan, for example, is the wondrous savior of Narnia who is sacrificed for a sinner, much like Chris himself. Lewis wrote this way because he thought the story compelling, but also because he thought it would be more subtle and effective way to speak of Christ. Rather than plainly tell the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, he tells a tale that strongly parallels it. In this way, he intends for the reader to understand Christ’s sacrifice from a different perspective. Why do this? Because by doing this, the reader may be led to a deeper understanding of reality. Tolkien says this deep understanding is “the greatest and most complete conceivable” fairy story- that of God. Tolkien calls the happy ending of a fairy story a “eucatastrophe”, a seemingly miraculous resolution in the face of unspeakable evil. While many modern writers reject the idea of “happily ever after”, Tolkien says that every happy ending is a reflection of the ultimate eucatastrophe. “The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation” he says, and the birth of Christ is the happy ending of history. Those who say that happy endings are ‘not realistic’ or ‘too cheesy’ do not realize that however impossibly grim a situation might be, it is nothing compared to the state of man after the fall. If God was able to resolve something this dire, than what is it for Frodo to triumph over Sauron, or Aslan over the White Witch? Resolutions are man’s tribute to God’s strength and power. Whatever impossible situation we formulate, God could resolve it. Therefore claims that fantasy literature places us in an impossible world are not strictly true. We live on a planet where animals do not talk, where there is gravity, where we are limited. But if God so wished, the limitations would be gone. Fantasy literature embraces God’s limitless power. To all these arguments one could ask, why then is fantasy literature even necessary? Would it be not be more efficient and direct to teach didactically on God’ power and majesty? To this argument one can respond in two ways. The first is perhaps overly simplistic; a good story is more enjoyable than a lecture. This is an escapist approach that comes dangerously close to the idea of abusing escapism. Still, this argument is at least realistic; many would prefer a good story. 94


Tolkien compares a reader losing himself in a good fairy story to a prisoner who “thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison-walls.” The second argument is more theoretical. Tolkien says that “successful Fantasy can… be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth.” That underlying truth which the author is trying to reveal is part of God’s truth. It is more effective to express that truth in a fairy story because that story can provide examples and can effectively inspire the reader to meditate in a way that no lecture can. We lose ourselves on the world of fantasy, but when we return, we return to the real world, and we can use the heroes and villains of the story as models of what and what not to do. Lewis puts this into practice with the Chronicles of Narnia, and their wild success seems to confirm this theory. The art of fantasy literature is escapist to a degree but that escapism leads to fantasy’s greatest purpose; to lead man to a greater understanding of true reality. What is a deeper view of reality? Is it some sort of heightened sensory experience, the ability to see beyond details, or is it an understanding of our real value? How does art lead us to better understand reality if it is, at best, an imitation of it? In his novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde concocts an impossible but nevertheless intriguing situation. The main character, Dorian Gray is granted the gift of eternal youth and beauty. Instead, a portrait of him will bear the effects of his sins and age. Essentially, the picture will be his soul, a soul he can look upon. As time passes, the picture becomes loathsome and disgusting. Dorian retains his youth and vigor, but the knowledge of what he truly is tortures him. He hides the portrait in his attic away from prying eyes, but it gnaws at him. He does not have to worry about physical harm, but eventually his spiritual guilt drives him mad. In the end, he kills himself in despair, and becomes the repulsive old man in the picture, while the picture becomes again that of a handsome youth. The idea that we all have a conscience is central to the story. Dorian admits that the picture “had been like to conscience to him.” He cannot stand it, but it is there nonetheless. In the end, something must pay the price of sin.4 The portrait of Dorian Gray is fiction. It never existed and probably never will. It is important to remember, however, that, like escapist literature, the portrait conveys an essential truth. Dorian’s soul corrupts before his eyes. This is, in fact, an extraordinary gift. The spiritual world, which to most men seems distant and abstract, is made horrifyingly real to Dorian. This should cause Dorian to realize more easily when he is falling into sin and to amend his ways more quickly, at least in theory. This is not how it turns out for Dorian, who embraces his eternal youth and quickly descends into the deepest depravity. The contrast between his appearance and the portrait quickly grows, but instead of bothering Dorian, “the very sharpness of the contrast used to quicken his sense of pleasure.” While at times he feels sorrow for the ruin he brought upon his soul, the sorrow is selfish and conceited. He does not care that he has rejected God, only that he might have lost heaven. Each passing day, the portrait becomes not only older, but more and more vile and loathsome. Meanwhile, Dorian becomes divorced from any feeling of immorality or wrongdoing. Consequently, he seeks to arouse passions and emotions to excite him. When civilized and honorable pleasures begin to lose their appeal, he shifts his interest to strange and wild ones, such as discordant music, heavy perfumes and, it is implied, abnormal sexual conduct. Unable to feel the pricks of conscience that his soul would provide, he desires to be aroused by something, anything, even if that thing is immoral. This desire to feel some new feeling eventually leads Dorian to the final act. Murder is the most unnatural thing a man can do. It makes sense that Dorian would eventually kill someone because the emotions aroused by murder must be more intense and different from any other sin or crime he has committed. The fact that he kills the painter of his portrait, a close personal friend, makes the emotion all the more arousing. After this, what can Dorian do? What other action will Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Signet Classic, (1890). University of Virginia Library. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://etext.virginia.edu/ toc/ modeng/ public/ WilDori.html>.

4

95


stimulate his senses in such a dramatic way? It is at this point that Dorian says he wants to ‘be good’. In an attempt to rectify his life, he decides to end an affair he is having with a country girl, not because he does not love her, but because he wants her to be unstained by his sinfulness. He then hopefully ascends to where he has hidden the portrait, believing that with this one act the picture will be wiped clean. He is horrified to find that “The thing was still loathsome -- more loathsome, if possible, than before.” In despair over this, he tries to stab and kill the painting, but instead kills himself. This ending raises many questions. Why was the portrait unchanged? Did Dorian really repent? Why did he die when he stabbed the portrait? What ‘deeper view of reality’ did the portrait give Dorian? If this deeper view caused Dorian to kill himself in despair, then should we want this deeper view? All these queries are legitimate, but none are explicitly answered in the book itself. Some have answers suggested in the text, but Wilde does not tell us what is correct. For instance, he suggests that the portrait is unchanged because Dorian did not actually do a good deed. His supposedly pure rejection of the country girl was actually a subconscious decision to feel an entirely new feeling, that of doing something good. In other words, Dorian did not let go of the girl because he really wanted her good, but because he desired the feeling of doing a noble action. Superficially, he believes that his intent was pure, but the painting knows his deepest motivations and reveals otherwise. This interpretation is best. There seems to be no other logical option at least, not that conforms to the rules that Wilde set out earlier in the story. But why did Dorian die when he stabbed the portrait? This is fairly obvious. The portrait was no ordinary painting. It was Dorian’s soul. By killing his soul, Dorian killed a necessary part of himself. Naturally, he died. But what deeper view of reality did the portrait afford Dorian, and is it better to have that view? As said earlier, the portrait does give Dorian the opportunity to see the usually invisible soul. Certainly this is a deeper view. In fact, when one of his friends starts to mock the soul, Dorian says “Don't, Harry. The soul is a terrible reality. It can be bought, and sold, and bartered away. It can be poisoned, or made perfect. There is a soul in each one of us. I know it” Dorian knows because of the portrait, and he also knows what state his soul is in. This is undoubtedly a deeper view of reality, a view that goes beyond the superficial appearance. While this view does drive Dorian to despair, violence and suicide, this view is not a bad thing. It empowers us, to be sure. In Dorian’s case, however, he decided that he would ignore the view and instead live a life of sin. This does not mean that we should avoid a deeper view of reality. On the contrary, we should seek it out, and when we do find it, struggle to act on it. This was Dorian’s mistake. He could have used the portrait for great good, struggling to ensure that it stayed as young and pure as his countenance. Of course, one might argue that this is an extraordinary case. No one has their own personal portrait that reminds them of their moral state. How, then, can art be said to give us a deeper view of reality, unless it is art in an extraordinary situation? It is true that Dorian’s situation is fantastic. But we must not confuse Wilde’s desire to tell a good story with his attempt to convey a deep truth; namely that art can give us a deep view of reality, and not just in Dorian’s case. Looking upon paintings, we can be tempted to view only the visuals; the brushstroke, technical skill and choice of color, not to mention the accuracy and realism of the scene itself. But there is more to a work of art. There is the meaning and message and lesson which the artist is conveying to the viewer. These deep messages are truths about reality and human life. In Dorian Gray, the picture conveys the message of the danger of sin and the importance of conscience. Other pictures can convey other meanings just as valid. So, if art can be both escapism and a deeper view of reality, one question remains. Is art a necessity for man? As was argued above, we can never be really sure of the answer, because we have never lived without art. But, for one moment, let us try to answer the question. After all, there may come a day when mankind tries to reject art, and at this time, it would be imperative to know if art is a necessity.

96


A prime example of why we need art is contained in the novel The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway. The book is set in the city of Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, during a four year long siege that took place from 1992 to 1996. This siege was the longest ever on a capital city in modern warfare. Throughout the siege, the city was pounded by shells and sniper fire and thousands of citizens died. The story begins one day, with people waiting in line, hoping to buy bread. A shell comes down and kills twenty-two. A cellist sees the entire attack take place outside his apartment window and decides that he will play on the spot of the attack for the next twenty two days. This scene, described in vivid detail, was based on an actual event. Galloway then creates three fictional characters, each with different situations, troubles, objectives and mindsets, and follows each around as they go about their business. Very early on, Galloway describes the cellist as an “instrument of deliverance.” This comparison is fulfilled as the book goes on. The characters the author creates have all been defeated by the siege in their own way. One is bitter and hateful, one is frightened, and one is apathetic. Each one eventually stumbles upon the cellist playing, and each one is affected by the music a different way. The bitter woman who hates her enemy is finally able to find peace. The frightened father finally gains the courage to do what he must to support his family and survive the war. The apathetic old man at last realizes that he must work to preserve the city of before the war, so that the city will be worth preserving. Their redemptions are all powerful and moving, a testament to the power of the art that the cellist plays. Perhaps the apathetic one, Dragan, puts it best when he says “civilization isn’t a thing that you build and then there it is, you have it forever. It needs to be built constantly, re-created daily…As long as there’s war, life is a preventative measure.” This quote accurately encapsulates the need for beautiful art in society. As he says, we can make civilization; we can make a civilized society. But inevitably, there will arise challenges to that civility. Men who do not recognize the value of order and strive to bring it down or dominate it for their own goals. That is why we need to ‘re-create’ society constantly, because order is worth keeping. But how do we re-form society and order? The author suggests that art is the answer. This is especially obvious when the frightened man, Kenan, is listening to the cellist and he sees “The building behind the cellist repairs itself. The scars of bullets and shrapnel are covered by plaster and paint…” Here, the music metaphorically repairs the physical damage done to the city, but also literally heals the emotional damage done to the citizens. At the spot where the cellist plays, a pile of flowers grows, in tribute not to the cellist, but to the dead. At the end of the story, the cellist places his bow there, in tribute as well. The pile of flowers is an expression of people’s sorrow to be sure, but it is also a symbol of recognition, a realization that even though so many die, death is still a tragedy. When we become desensitized to death, when we are too apathetic, or angry, or scared to care, then we lose a little bit of order and civilization. We see death not as it is, a tragedy and monumental human event, but as just another thing. We forget, in effect, that the dead body lying in the street was once a human being, who had dignity and deserved respect, and is still owed some in death.5 Man naturally forms cities, Socrates says. It is part of our nature, fundamental and undeniable. Even the societies that lack cities are based on some sort of group. Even nomads travel in packs. We are a social race that strives to form order and civilization. In The Cellist of Sarajevo, one can see how art makes the preservation of society possible. In the end of the story, the music means something different to each character, but it encourages each to struggle on in his own way and preserve their dignity and humanity. If society is a natural part of us, intrinsic to our nature, then art is necessary to ensure that we can constantly re-build civilization. Because, as Galloway says, civilization is not something that lasts forever. Without art, society would fall apart. The beauty of art lies in its ability to both transport us from our troubles and at the same time to let us see what is beautiful in our world. These two things allow us to both persevere and 5

Galloway, Steven. The Cellist of Sarajevo. New York: Riverhead Books, (2008).

97


strive towards the ideal. Beautiful art is a necessity for man because it is both escapism and a deeper view of reality. In today’s society, art is what you make it. Any and all value is determined personally. It seems as though we no longer recognize the intrinsic beauty and value of art. No piece of art can be determined to be objectively beautiful. This is wrong. Art does have an objective value, and it has it because of what art’s threefold purpose. The escapism of art allows us to go beyond ourselves and engage our imaginations as we go to worlds beyond our own. At the same time, the worlds that we enter allow us to see more clearly the strengths and weaknesses of the real world, and force us to see a deeper reality. These things show that art is a necessity for man, even if in our most inhumane moments. Art, by allowing us to do these things, builds up and protects society and civilization from lawlessness and inhumanity. Accordingly, we must strive to identify beautiful art, art that allows us to do these things. Once we have found them, we must ensure that this art is protected at all costs. For if we lose it, we risk losing our humanity. But to take a more positive view, if we keep it, then we share a part, however small, in the ultimate creator. As Blessed John Paul II says, truly beautiful art is “a glimmer of the splendour which flared for a moment before the eyes of their spirit.” Truly beautiful art is a path to belief.6 BIBLIOGRAPHY Galloway, Steven. The Cellist of Sarajevo. New York: Riverhead Books, (2008). John Paul II. “Letter to Artists.” 1 Jan. 1999. Vatican City Online. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.vatican.va/‌holy_father/‌john_paul_ii/‌letters/‌documents/‌hf_jpii_let_23041999_artists_en.html>. Ratzinger, Joseph. On the Way to Jesus Christ. 2nd ed. (2004). San Francisco: Ignatius Press, (2005). Ignatius Press. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. Tolkien, J.R.R. “On Fairy Stories.” University of St. Andrew’s. 1 Jan. 1939. Essays Presented to Charles Williams. By J.R.R. Tolkien. London: Oxford University Press, 1947. N. pag. Library of Kiev. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://bjorn.kiev.ua/‌librae/‌Tolkien/‌Tolkien_On_Fairy_Stories.htm>. Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Signet Classic, (1890). University of Virginia Library. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://etext.virginia.edu/‌toc/‌modeng/‌public/‌WilDori.html>. Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. New York: HarperCollins, (1950).

John Paul II. “Letter to Artists.” 1 Jan. 1999. Vatican City Online. Web. 1 Mar. 2012. <http://www.vatican.va/ holy_father/ john_paul_ii/ letters/ documents/ hf_jp-ii_let_23041999_artists_en.html>.

6

98


A STUDY OF COLORISM IN THE PHILIPPINES. EFFECTS OF MEDIA PROMOTION OF WHITENING PRODUCTS IN THE COUNTRY

Rito, J.J.E.D. Feliciano, R.J. Rivera, R.A. Biscarra, P-J.S. Estandarte, E. University of Santo Tomas (Manila, Philippines) Supervisor: Vanguardia, C.G. Far Eastern University (Manila, Philippines)

ABSTRACT Colorism is skin color discrimination amongst people of the same racial group. This is very much prevalent in the Philippines especially in the media where skin lightening products are constantly promoted. Two pictures (1 fair-toned, 1 darktoned) were surveyed among 800 respondents and using various statistical analysis methods, significant differences was seen in terms of attractiveness, height, and salary and vices perception in terms of being a drinker. Awareness and partnership with companies that do not promote skin whitening is the suggested solution for the ongoing colorism encountered in the country. The effects of colorism are very much prevalent in the country, but with the proper initiation of awareness, the idea that beauty is more than skin-deep is very much feasible. INTRODUCTION Colorism is having a preference for a certain skin tone which subsequently influences factors depending on his life like getting hired for a job or being perceived as more attractive. It is a discriminatory treatment of individuals under the same racial group to their different-toned counterparts1.1 A local example is where in the Spanish colonial era, Chinese and Spanish middle-class people were called as mestizo meaning half-bred in English2. Colorism in fair skin preference across Asia is a widely underrated issue3. In Thailand for example, a train advertisement portrayed empty seats exclusively for white people only4. In 2003 alone, sales for skin whitening soaps numbered to 2 million pieces sold annually. In a 2004 survey, the Philippines is the country with the highest usage of skin lightening products with 50% Rondilla, Joanne and Spickard, Paul. Is Lighter Better: Skin-tone Discrimination among Asian Americans. Maryland, (2007).

1

2

Glenn, Evelyn. Shades of difference: Why Skin Color Matters. USA, (2009).

3

Hall, Ronald. Racism in the 21st century: An empirical analysis of skin color. USA, (2008).

Chavez, L. 2011. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Big Bucks on beauty adsâ&#x20AC;?, <http://www.abscbnnews.com/lifestyle/10/20/11/big-bucks-beautyads> retrieved on 10.26.2011.

4

99


of the respondents admitting to buying these types of products.2 In 2004 alone, the personal-care industry recorded a P23 billion for advertising with skin care having the highest growth due to the popularity of skin whitening products.5 Nowadays, skin lightening in the Philippines comes in different forms from to soaps, creams, body wash, pills and through injection. A majority of these products contains glutathione. The FDA marks it as a nutritional supplement recommended by dermatologist to treat melasma but has since been marketed as a skin lightener. Introduced in 2007, glutathione was starting to be endorsed by celebrities and in 2008 glutathione sales skyrocketed. Why Beauty Philippines, the company distributing MET Glutathione capsules increased its sales by more than 100% while the Belo medical group recorded its highest sales earnings in the same year at P94 million. In the gross sales of MET on the other hand, there has been a constant increase in its sales for the past four years growing 281 times more from its sales in 2004 compared to its sales in 20085. The objectives of the study are to find if there is a relationship between skin color and the six factors. The following are attractiveness, intelligence perception, perception of a person’s job and salary, height perception, weight perception and perception of vices. Attractiveness aims to look if there is a significant difference between dark and fair skin tones on how people label them as attractive. Intelligence perception aims to find if there is a correlation between skin tones and how people perceive your intelligence. Perception of a person’s job and earnings tries to find if there is a connection if people perceive you as an upper, middle or lower class earner base on skin tone alone. Height perception tries to find a correlation if a certain skin tone is perceived as tall or short. Weight perception tackles whether there is a correlation between skin tones and people perceiving someone as under, normal or over weight. Finally, the perception of vices aims to deal if a specific skin tone is correlated to having vices, specifically smoking and drinking alcohol in this study. Methodology Two pictures of the same woman will be used for visual evaluation. Figure 2.1 shows the original fair picture and the edited dark toned picture of the model used in the survey.

Figure 2.1 shows the original photo (left) and the edited picture (right)

The two pictures are the same in every aspect: the pose, the background, the person and other factors except for one thing. One of the variation is edited to appear that the woman has Chavez, L. 2011. “Big Bucks on beauty ads”, <http://www.abscbnnews.com/lifestyle/10/20/11/big-bucks-beautyads> retrieved on 10.26.2011.

5

100


dark skin (the subject has a naturally light skin). Using the Slovin’s sampling formula the sample needed to represent the Philippine Population (90 million) with a 95% level of confidence was 400 respondents. 800 respondents were asked to survey in the University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University with 400 in each variation. These sample size will represent the age group of college students and young adults. The results are then tabulated and using the t-test for attractiveness, height, weight, salary and grade. T-test is used for these perceptions because it uses ratings and scales on how to judge scores. The chi-square test is then used for the vices perception and the top seven answers for the occupation will be tallied. Chi-square tests are done to tabulate answer for an expected hypothesis where questions are answerable on only two choices or a “Yes or No” answer. A personal interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Jess Abrera was done on November 20, 2011. Mr. Abrera was asked questions for which he answered. The consent of both Mr. Abrera to cite his name on the paper and the female model to distribute her picture was asked and approved. BODY OF THE PAPER Colorism roots from the slavery period in America. African slaves with a fairer skin were sold at a much higher price compared to their dark counterparts. There are socalled benefits if one is a fair-skinned African-American in terms of getting hired for a job, judicial decisions, intelligence perception, parenting skills and attractiveness. In the latter, both white and blacks perceive African Americans with fair skin as being more attractive as light skin is equated as someone who is youthful. Fair-toned African Americans were also perceived as having a better physique, being better mates and having a heightened fertility. In Asia, Korean shamanism, or someone with white skin is highly respected. In India, “black” is associated to adjectives such as but are not limited to being dark, dirty and evil while being “white” means being related to good, having a well-being and even smart. Majority of ads across Asia relate having a good skin as smooth, pore-free and white while having bad skin is related to having dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles caused by the formation of melanin, or being dark6. In the judiciary system recorded in Georgia from 1995 to 2002, the lighter the victim is, the more severe the punishment for a black defendant will be. In the same archives, fair-skinned African Americans had the same length of sentence to a White convict while dark-skinned convicts received sentences which are longer by 2.7 percent7. In terms of jobs or being hired, a workforce which are predominantly fair-skinned and with a great proportion of white workers tend to pay better while work groups which are predominantly black pay less8. In intelligence perception, fair skinned African American women are perceived to be more intelligent than their dark counterparts and that dark skin is not considered as an asset to intelligence9. In the Cambodian community, skin tone lightness and intelligence perception are

Bahl, S. et al. “Skin Lightening and Beauty in Four Asian Cultures”, in Advances in Consumer Research. 35 (2008), pp. 444-449.

6

Hochschild, Jennifer and Weaver, Vesla. “The Skin Color Paradox and the American Racial Order”, Social Forces. 86 (2007), pp. 643-670.

7

8

Hersch, Joni. Skin Tone Effects among African Americans: Perceptions and Reality. USA, (2005).

Wade, Joel. "Skin Color Biases: Attractiveness and Halo Effects in the Evaluation of African Americans" en Hall, Ronald, Racism in the 21st century: An empirical analysis of skin color, Springer Publications, USA, (2008), pp. 135137.

9

101


directly proportional. Aside from intelligence, there is also direct proportionality in attractiveness10. Abrera stated that preference for lighter skin in the Philippines dates back in the time where the “Komiks” is a famous form of past-time for Filipinos. “The protagonist would always have Caucasian features like light skin and blonde hair, while the villain or the protagonist’s sidekick is drawn with dark features. Lead roles on those times for the media began to prefer lightskinned people.” Abrera also said that people with dark skin tones are often equated as a manual laborer and their fair counterparts are perceived as someone who is well-educated. He also observed that most of the local Filipino celebrities in the media today are bi-racial with Western Features. “Most of the Filipino actors and actresses today are casts as antagonist or protagonist if their skin is dark or light respectively. Models with dark complexion, on the other hand, is not preferred when it comes to modeling perfumes and beauty products, as in those people with light skin, they are seen as someone who is fresh and clean.” Mr. Abrera also noticed that the whitening trend is becoming famous also amongst men. “Due to metrosexuality, or the acceptance that men can use make-up and use feminine products, the message of these products that being ‘lighter is better’ is slowly affecting men. We used to perceive before than men with light skin is not athletic, pale, he is not outgoing. Now, we seem to slowly equate having fair skin with masculinity”11. As early as the 1860, marketing using people with light skin has already started. In New Orleans during the late 1800’s, slaves with mixed race and are lighter were photograph more often as part of a fundraising campaign to help struggling African-American schools. Campaign organizers believe that the lighter complexioned children would give more sympathy and consequently, more donations for the schools. Below are a number of photographs used for the said campaign12.

Rondilla, Joanne and Spickard, Paul. Is Lighter Better: Skin-tone Discrimination among Asian Americans. Maryland, (2007).

10

11

Abrera, Jess. Personal Interview. November 20, (2011).

Library of Congress. “‘White’ slaves used for 1860’s fundraiser propaganda”, <http://news.yahoo.com/photos/white-slaves-used-for-1860s-fundraiser-propaganda-slideshow/> retrieved on 02.13.2012.

12

102


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The following tables show the mean rating and differences of the judges that participated in the survey. In all variables, the level of significance is 1. There is also a null and alternative hypothesis for the following data. The null and alternative hypothesis is when the computed data is less and greater than the tabulated data respectively. For a significant difference to occur, it must accept the alternative hypothesis.

Table 3.1: Means of the variations in the survey. Data in this table shows Attractiveness and the perceptions of grade, height, weight and salary. In attractiveness, the computed value is 19.85 which are greater than the tabulated value. Therefore, fair skin and dark skin has a significant difference. In grade perception, the computed value is 0.75. The computed value is less than the tabulated value having no significant difference. In height perception, the computed value is 6.96, greater than the tabulated value. Therefore, fair skin and dark skin has a significant difference. In weight perception the computed value is 0.18. The computed value is less than the tabulated value. Therefore, fair skin and dark skin has no significant difference. In salary perception the computed value is 6.09. The computed value is more than the tabulated value. Therefore, fair skin and dark skin has a significant difference.

In job perception between the fair toned picture and the dark-toned counterpart, the top seven answers on each variation were tallied. Results could be seen in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2: Tally of perceived occupation of each variation

In the vices perception, chi-squared was used to determine the presence of difference between the two variables. Both perception has a tabulated data of 3.84 at degrees of freedom=1. For a significant difference to occur, the computed data must be greater than the tabulated data. Table 3.3 shows the results.

103


Table 3.3 Chi square distributions of perceived vices. There is no significant difference between smoking perception and a presence of one for drinking perception.

The statistics in terms of attractiveness agrees with that of Bahl et al.13 that people with fair skin are perceived as more beautiful. In height perception, the data agrees with that of Wade14 that people with lighter skin are perceived to have a better physique. The results agree with that of the study of Hersch15 that in getting hired for jobs, fair-toned people were preferred and earn more. The study of perception of Cambodians by Rondilla and Spickard16 in intelligence disagrees with the data gathered for this research, which has a Filipino sample. In weight perception there was no seen correlation between the skin tone and the weight of one person. In the study by Bahl et al.17 it agrees with the data gathered, fair skinned people have a better wellbeing in terms of drinking. The same cannot be related to smoking. CONCLUSION In the college demographic, it can be stated that statistically speaking, colorism prevails among fair and dark toned people when it comes to attractiveness, height perception, salary perception and perception for alcohol consumption. It means that people with lighter skin are perceived as more attractive, taller, earns more and drinks alcohol less. In the same demographic, no significant difference was seen in grade perception, weight perception and perception for smoking. It means that the scores are too similar for a difference to be perceived. It cannot be concluded that people with fairer skin are smarter, weighs more or less or smokes based on skin tone alone. In the occupation perception on the other hand, 6 of the top 7 highest answers are professional jobs that earns higher than the minimum wage. Student is the excluded. For the dark toned variation, 4 of the top 7 highest answers are professional jobs. Student is excluded. 2 of the 7 jobs are minimum wage jobs. As conclusion, colorism prevails in the country in a sense that the lighter a person is in the Philippines for the given age population, the more attractive, taller, you earn more and you are less likely to be a drinker. No statistical basis supports that colorism is seen in the intelligence, weight perception, and vices perception in terms of smoking. 13

Abrera, Jess. Personal Interview. November 20, 2011.

Wade, Joel. "Skin Color Biases: Attractiveness and Halo Effects in the Evaluation of African Americans" en Hall, Ronald, Racism in the 21st century: An empirical analysis of skin color, Springer Publications, USA, (2008), pp. 135137.

14

15

Hersch, Joni. Skin Tone Effects among African Americans: Perceptions and Reality. USA, (2005).

Rondilla, Joanne and Spickard, Paul. Is Lighter Better: Skin-tone Discrimination among Asian Americans. Maryland, (2007).

16

17

Abrera, Jess. Personal Interview. November 20, 2011.

104


Colorism is very much prevalent here in the Philippines. A lot of the advertisements in the television, radio and newspaper ads are about ways on how to lighten our skin. One of the negative effects this brings to the Filipino people and everyone who uses skin lightening products in general is the connotation that they have to have light skin in order for them to succeed. It also promotes the youth, at a very young age, to the environment of vanity. The Philippine media are already setting standards for the youth about what skin color they should have in order to be considered specific. First of all, the problem could only be solved if the people do acknowledge that something needs to be changed. The media, one of the biggest influences of the youth today, should lead an example and not set standards on what the true definition of beauty is. It should not let people feel that beauty is limited to the hue of a person’s skin. Fortunately, out of all the products promoted in the Philippines, there are still a few who believe that real beauty comes in all shapes, size and color. Beauty products which use models of different races, colors and does not border itself only on outer beauty. We acknowledge that there is a huge empire and a big market on whitening products in the Philippines right now. These are the businesses and institutions that rely on the insecurities of others and false definition of beauty so they can profit. As of now, awareness is the best solution that could at least remedy the minds of the Filipino people that beauty is not and should not be dictated by a type of hue. Partnerships with companies who still believe in true beauty are another possibility. The playing “fire-withfire” method: the medium where whitening products profit is through the media. If that is their way of promoting the products, then awareness could also be spread through the media. Local celebrities and personalities in the country who gained success despite a brown complexion could be tapped and be informed about this advocacy. The advocacy that there is more of beauty than just looking how much lighter than a paper bag somebody is. The advocacy that beauty is not bordered to a short spectrum. The advocacy of instilling selfesteem to the youth of the country. And generally, the advocacy that God doesn’t chose anyone by color. He is simply color blind. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abrera, Jess. Personal Interview. November 20, 2011. Bahl, S. et al. “Skin Lightening and Beauty in Four Asian Cultures”, in Advances in Consumer Research. 35 (2008), pp. 444-449. Chan, C. 2005. “The Business of Beauty”, <http://pcij.org/stories/thebusiness-of-beauty/> retrieved on 11.2.2011. Chavez, L. 2011. “Big Bucks on beauty ads”, <http://www.abscbnnews.com/lifestyle/10/20/11/bigbucks-beauty-ads> retrieved on 10.26.2011> Glenn, Evelyn. Shades of difference: Why Skin Color Matters. USA, (2009). Gotauco, C. et al. Statistics: 4th edition. Philippines, (2008). Hall, Ronald. Racism in the 21st century: An empirical analysis of skin color. USA, (2008). Hersch, Joni. Skin Tone Effects among African Americans: Perceptions and Reality. USA, (2005). Hochschild, Jennifer and Weaver, Vesla. “The Skin Color Paradox and the American Racial Order”, Social Forces. 86 (2007), pp. 643-670. 105


Library of Congress. “‘White’ slaves used for 1860’s fundraiser propaganda” <http://news.yahoo.com/photos/-white-slaves-used-for-1860s-fundraiser-propagandaslideshow/> retrieved on 02.13.2012 Rondilla, Joanne and Spickard, Paul. Is Lighter Better: Skin-tone Discrimination among Asian Americans. Maryland, (2007). Wade, Joel. "Skin Color Biases: Attractiveness and Halo Effects in the Evaluation of African Americans" en Hall, Ronald, Racism in the 21st century: An empirical analysis of skin color, Springer Publications, USA, (2008), pp. 135-137.

106


ARQUITECTURA Y BELLEZA: HACIA UN MUNDO MÁS HUMANO

Alarcón, J.C. Calonge, I. Díaz, M. Fernández, I. Martínez, A. Silvera, I. Soto, J. Universidad de Navarra (Spain) Supervisor: Antón, J. Lecanda, J. Vargas, J. Universidad de Navarra (Spain)

HABITAR EL MUNDO: ¿DÓNDE SE ENCUENTRA LA BELLEZA? La obra arquitectónica se proyecta en estrecha relación con la percepción que el arquitecto posee sobre el hombre y la finalidad que quiera conferir a su obra. El hombre es el habitante del mundo y por lo tanto el único capaz de humanizarlo. El Prof. Leonardo Polo ilustra esta idea haciendo referencia a la carta sobre el humanismo de Heidegger: “¿En qué reside la constitución de un mundo humano? El hombre es un ser en el mundo (Heidegger); el hombre tiene mundo. Esto está a la vista. En una ciudad no hay nada meramente natural, sino calzadas, semáforos, casas, iluminación eléctrica, etc. El hombre ha sustituido a la naturaleza. Es el habitante de su propio mundo, un mundo que él ha hecho. El mundo es un sistema, un plexo de medios… Quítesele al hombre un mundo ya hecho: volverá a hacer otro o perecerá. Un mundo es un todo conectado internamente”1. Hoy, sin embargo, cuando se ha cosificado al hombre, sustituyendo su entidad de un quién por un algo, se le convierte también en una máquina productiva2. Las casas son diseñadas muchas veces como máquinas para vivir. Las características de la arquitectura en este siglo son su mayor eficiencia y pragmatismo, por lo que se manifiesta excesivamente tecnificada a la par que despliega una pobre capacidad creativa.

Polo, Leonardo. y Llano, Carlos. (1997), Antropología de la acción directiva, (capítulo: La cuestión del Método. La comprensión de la realidad humana). Unión Editorial, Madrid, 1997, p. 8-9 (Cfr. Heidegger, M. “Carta sobre el humanismo”. (Traducción de Helena Cortés y Arturo Leyte). Alianza Editorial, Madrid, (2000)).

1

El filósofo Jesús Arellano matiza que “la prisa del esfuerzo, que logra el milagro de la eficacia, no ha conquistado el milagro de la belleza. Esta sólo se alcanza cuando se ha entrado en sí mismo y se ha recreado consquistando el sosiego creador” (Cfr. Arellano, J. (1964), Berlín, encrucijada de problemas humanos. Edit. O Crece o Muere, p. 23.

2

107


Muchas pueden ser las causas que han conducido a esta situación3. Veamos algunos ejemplos ilustrativos. En los países del bloque del Este durante la mitad del siglo pasado, o incluso en la China de la época de la Revolución Cultural, es significativo como la consideración del hombre como masa llevó a una arquitectura desgajada de lo humano. Así, proliferaron edificaciones comunales -repetitivas y burocráticas-en forma de grisáceas imitaciones, sin la originalidad de lo nuevo. No se valoraba la riqueza interior del hombre, ni sus capacidades e irrepetibilidad. Esta despersonalización del hombre condujo a una arquitectura anónima: los hombres no vivían sino que se hacinaban en espacios faltos de intimidad, carentes de rincones de diversión y de descanso, o de disfrute estético. Estos espacios creados no estimulaban un desarrollo armónico de la persona humana. Por otro lado, en nítido contraste, es manifiesto un sentido trascendente de la vida en algunas obras de la arquitectura moderna. Este espíritu elevador se había traducido ya en obras majestuosas predecesoras del movimiento moderno, lugares que por su belleza atraen el corazón del hombre, como el Templo de la Sagrada Familia de Antonio Gaudí. Nuestra época demuestra, salvo por algunas excepciones como la anterior, el punto más degradante de la historia: el hombre ha sido convertido en una máquina de competición, preparada para producir y consumir. Se trata de una despersonalización abyecta en la que el hombre y su arquitectura están sufriendo ya sus consecuencias. Porque en definitiva, es la belleza (o la carencia de ella) de los edificios la que permite de algún modo descubrir el espíritu que anima a sus habitantes. Insistamos en que es esta arquitectura la que ha permitido reconocer durante mucho tiempo las opuestas secciones (este-oeste) de una ciudad como Berlín4, o cómo los rascacielos definen diferentes secciones en la electrizante ciudad de Nueva York, y bien explica Rem Koolhaas en su libro5. Lejos de embellecer el mundo humanizándolo, una arquitectura que se aleja de la luz de la antropología se desvirtúa hasta el grado de producir un mundo vulgar y animalizado, masificado. Es necesario entender quién es el hombre y elevar sus aspiraciones si pretendemos llenar la arquitectura -y las otras ciencias6-de nueva belleza. Esto se conseguirá si alcanzamos una antropología unificadora, entendiendo al hombre cómo un quién, de lo que la arquitectura se beneficiaría. De todas formas es importante señalar que no son únicamente las ciencias con más fama de especialización7 las que están imbuidas de esta visión sintética, marginadora del El racionalismo puede ser una de ellas, según el mismo filósofo: “El racionalismo deshumanizador ha desencadenado las creaciones más ideales de nuestra cultura y las ha despojado de su impulso elevador de la vida del hombre.” Cfr. Arellano, J. (1964), Berlín, encrucijada de problemas humanos. Edit. O Crece o Muere, p. 21

3

“Podría hacerse la siguiente experiencia. A cualquiera que no conociera los límites de la zona comunista de Berlín podría advertírsele: cuando veas casas buenas o medianas, grandes o chicas, pero cuidadas y normales, estás mirando la orilla-occidente. Cuando veas casas sucias, derrumbadas muchas, todavía heridas casi todas –con los agujeros de las balas y los impactos de metralla aún sin cicatrizar-, se trata de la orilla-oriente. Nuestro hombre podría caminar con toda seguridad a través de los recovecos de las líneas divisorias. Cfr. Arellano, J. (1964), Berlín, encrucijada de problemas humanos. Edit. O Crece o Muere, p. 20

4

5

Koolhas, R., Delirious New York: a Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan”, Monacelli Press, Nueva York, (1994).

¿Qué ha ocurrido, por ejemplo, en el campo de la Medicina? Este saber se disecciona en algunas universidades, pretendiendo comprehender la ingeniosa biología del hombre exclusivamente mediante asignaturas órganoespecíficas (como Nefrología para el riñón, Hepatología, Hematología, etc.) eliminando la visión integradora, llena de Belleza y realidad, de la Antropología.

6

Como sucede en la ciencia médica, cuyo gravísimo error antropológico lleva a conceder escasa importancia al trato personal, llegando en ocasiones a un tratamiento inhumano. Como observa Erich Fromm, “El paciente es considerado como una cosa, como la suma de muchas partes. Algunas de estas partes son defectuosas y requieren ser reparadas, tal como ocurre con las partes de un automóvil. Hay un defecto aquí y otro allí, llamados síntomas, y el psiquiatra considera que su tarea es la de reparar o corregir estos varios defectos. No mira al paciente como una totalidad singular y global, que puede ser comprendida en su totalidad sólo en el acto de relación y empatía plenas” , Cfr. Fromm, E. (1981), La condición humana actual, Edit. Paidós Nueva Biblioteca.

7

108


conjunto unitario por las partes separadas. Este reduccionismo también se da en otras disciplinas, aún en aquellas ciencias que parecieran estar necesitadas de mayores rasgos de humanidad8. Es así como la especialización se acompaña del intento de comprender al hombre por alguna de sus partes, desluciendo su belleza. En muchas ocasiones este intento se materializa, y se pretende realizar sólo con el uso de los sentidos en la ciencia experimental9. Conviene resaltar que, si bien se consiguen algunos avances notables al tratar de entender el todo por las partes, no dejan de ser éxitos muy limitados. Del mismo modo que si tratáramos de saber cómo funciona un ordenador, aislando únicamente sus componentes químicos: sílice, coltán, etc…; o entender un poema de Antonio Machado a través del análisis aislado de sus palabras, o incluso descomponiendo éstas en las letras del abecedario… Nos encontraremos totalmente incapacitados para captar la grandeza sublime e inefable del poema. Digámoslo más claramente: este método del especialista adolece de la luminosidad de la belleza porque no aspira a lograr una sabiduría superior. Además, queremos precisar que las explicaciones que se deriven de esta fragmentación del saber no sólo serán insuficientes para entender al hombre, sino en su mayor parte alejadas de la verdad que intentan desvelar10. Entonces, ¿dónde encontrar una Belleza cautivadora? ¿HAY BELLEZA EN LAS EDIFICACIONES MODERNAS? La belleza del mundo se tendría que encontrar no sólo en la Naturaleza sino en la Nueva Ciudad proyectada por el Arquitecto. Sin embargo, como recuerda el pensador Juan Fernando Sellés, “el arte y la arquitectura moderna se han olvidado de lo humano y sus dimensiones jerárquicas”. Es manifiesto que, efectivamente, la arquitectura de hoy se ha contagiado de esta concepción del hombre como máquina. Recuérdese la profética Metropolis (1929) de Fritz Lang; o la asfixiante ciudad de Los Angeles en Blade Runner (temporalmente ambientada en la no muy lejana fecha del año 2019). Por contraposición, ejemplo de una arquitectura más humana se encuentra en el Berlín-oeste11. Aún con excepciones como ésta, observamos un predominio del énfasis patológico en la funcionalidad. La Belleza -la Estética, la expresión artística-han sido desplazadas en favor de la utilidad. Es así que se han impuesto, en muchas ocasiones, los extremos del minimalismo y de lo grotesco. Por eso nos preguntamos si es posible y cuáles serían las notas distintivas de una Arquitectura más humana.

Es el caso de la Filosofía dónde se intenta en ocasiones entender al hombre a través de alguno de sus partes o propiedades (el cuerpo, el alma, el pensamiento, los afectos, la sexualidad, el comportamiento, etc.), o incluso a través del análisis histórico-crítico de sus autores. Por no detenernos a analizar en profundidad lo que sucede en las ciencias teológicas que, subyugadas al método científico moderno por los nuevos doctores, intentan enjaular a Dios en exégesis no-unitarias, en interpretaciones ajenas a la verdad.

8

El regnum hominis imaginado por Francis Bacon en el siglo XVII, quien relegaba a la Naturaleza a un gran “Laboratorio Experimental” para su completo dominio por las ciencias experimentales, no parece sin embargo haber sido alcanzado para poder mostrarse en un Museo.

9

Esto recuerda al vano intento de conocer al “elefante encerrado en una caja”: ¿Qué explicaciones nos daría el explorador que viera y examinara sólo la trompa?, (¡es una girafa!). ¿Y si otro llegara y palpara parte del lomo?, (“es duro y rugoso como el caparazón de una tortuga”). ¿O qué conclusión obtendría aquél que investigara sólo la cola?, (¡aquí dentro hay un mono!).

10

“Hansaviertel constituye un espléndido conjunto que bien puede llamarse plaza de los arquitectos del mundo. Los mejores maestros de la arquitectura alemana, francesa, norteamericana, israelí, etc. han proyectado los edificios de este magnífico conjunto”. Cfr. Arellano, J. (1964), Berlín, encrucijada de la humanidad, Edit. O Crece o Muere.

11

109


EL ORTOEDRO Y EL CILINDRO DE CARVAJAL Analicemos la Nueva Biblioteca12 de la Universidad de Navarra del arquitecto contemporáneo Javier Carvajal (1926 -). Carvajal proyecta aquí un edificio compuesto por dos simples formas geométricas: un paralelepípedo (el ortoedro) y el cilindro. Consigue superar la aparente incompatibilidad de ambas formas, aportando simplicidad y belleza -sentido estético-para las funciones que desempeñan. El ortoedro alberga la materialidad de la sophia –libros, revistas, y otras publicaciones-a la cual protege de la luz y de la erosión del tiempo mediante una envoltura apropiada. Los dos pulidos rollos cilíndricos (“Torredondas”) representan la comunicabilidad entre las ciencias13, facilitando ese diálogo interdisciplinar al que están llamadas, y evocando el fluir del pensamiento y de la inteligencia. Ambos volúmenes -el ortoedro y el cilindro-son macizos: simples y puros. Cumplen una funcionalidad en su acepción más amplia, esto es, de utilidad con un pleno sentido estético. Carvajal expresa en esta flexibilidad la belleza de la razón, en la armonía de dos formas aparentemente inconexas de suyo. Además, en la complementariedad que alcanza esta razón se percibe una huída de rigideces asfixiantes y empobrecedoras (lo que sería una deformación de la razón o “racionalismo”). Carvajal busca la belleza en sus composiciones racionales. Y nos parece que lo consigue de acuerdo a una clara racionalidad geométrica que continúa en el envoltorio del ortoedro. Una fachada de hormigón daría un aspecto de pesantez y tosquedad si no fuera por los huecos que perfora a lo largo de toda la fachada para permitir una buena iluminación natural y un aspecto de ligereza al edificio. Además el efecto de la luz es ampliado gracias a la composición de la fachada, muy geométrica y regular, impregnada de orden. En el momento en que la luz aparece, se aprecia más la belleza de la fachada, al proyectarse la sombra sobre los vacíos previamente citados. Es propiamente la luz la que genera la arquitectura ya que la sombra es la que dibuja los volúmenes. Ya la definía Le Corbusier como “el juego sabio, correcto y magnífico de los volúmenes bajo la luz”. El hecho de que la luz proyecte sobre la propia fachada unas formas tan claras, tan puras, es lo que nos transmite esas sensaciones de claridad y de pureza. Pero esta forma de componer no es caprichosa. Carvajal no pretende este juego de luces sea simplemente efectista sino que esta composición está totalmente justificada, es racional. Esta corteza compositiva actúa de filtro ante la luz que penetra desde el exterior permitiendo que la luz no suponga molestia sino que ilumine. Se recoge la luz sesgada, adecuada para la función del lugar; en los sitios donde la luz puede ser menos necesaria consigue ampliar la profundidad de esos vacíos para contener más la luz, acentuando el contraste de luces y sombras. El resultado conseguido con esta rotunda geometría de formas tradicionales (ortoedro y cilindro) se caracteriza por una ingenuidad formal que amplía y supera la mera racionalidad. Esto expresa su inagotable búsqueda de la asimilación del dualismo Tradición-Modernidad, que lejos de ser concepciones antagónicas están mutuamente necesitadas. Una armonía que logra con una exquisita sencillez totalmente alejada de un funcionalismo materialista. Además, la tersa fachada interrumpida por una serie de huecos oscuros, transmite la serenidad interior, en cuyo espacio aúna a los pensadores que quieren lograr la sabiduría. Con una lograda comunicabilidad vertical. Esta praxis intelectual que consigue Carvajal se amplía Una aguda crítica de este Edificio puede encontrarse en Lozano Bartolozzi, P. (1999), La nueva Biblioteca de la Universidad de Navarra, Revista TK de la Asnabi <http://www.asnabi.com>.

12

La distribución ascendente del saber por niveles es muy sugerente: 1º) Economía; 2º) Comunicación, Arte y Arquitectura; 3º) Historia y Sociología; 4º) Filosofía y Derecho; 5º) Teología.

13

110


por la praxis estructural, que también pretende la fachada. Y sin olvidar que la geometría purísima de este espacio recuerda el orden y razón que se encuentran en los temas de estudio de los pensadores14, relacionados con la verdad sobre el hombre que quieren iluminar. CARVAJAL FRENTE A KUROKAWA ¿Es el camino de Carvajal el único camino de Belleza? Nos parece que otras perspectivas serán ciertamente enriquecedoras. Proponemos como ejemplo, y para su comparación, a Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007), arquitecto japonés fundador del Movimiento Metabolista. Este movimiento se basa en el cambio de los principios de la arquitectura moderna japonesa. Frente a los postulados de la cultura occidental, propone la creación de una arquitectura que esté basada en la tradición asiática. En Occidente, el hombre ha entendido que es un sujeto moral, con finalidad y eternidad, lo cual se refleja en el tipo de Arquitectura: utilización de materiales sólidos que contengan la cualidad de permanencia e incorruptibilidad, a diferencia de materia orgánica, más efímera. Por el contrario, en el Movimiento Metabolista Japonés se produce la simbiosis del ser humano y su naturaleza, y se piensa que la vida y la muerte son parte de un todo, estrechamente conectadas. En su Arquitectura, este planteamiento se traduce en la negación e espacios separados en la urbe, al rechazo de la perpetuidad de la cosa utilizando madera en todas las construcciones (no perdurando más de 20 años, y sometidas tras este tiempo a la transformación del edificio). Se diseña una arquitectura reaccionaria a la estaticidad, fundada en lo cambiable y adaptable, debido al homo movens y a un creciente tamaño de población. Así, es una Arquitectura funcional, de orientación utilitarista en la que la belleza se basa en lo que la naturaleza posea per se: la Naturaleza es bella de suyo y eso no es mejorable. Kurokawa considera concretamente que la realidad no está formada por espíritu o materia, sino por ambas. De este planteamiento surge lo que denomina el concepto de zona intermedia en la arquitectura: la belleza es el lugar neutral donde el espíritu es captado en el mundo material. Kurokawa considera un deber esencial la restauración de la belleza en la arquitectura como manifestación del espíritu y expresión de la libertad. A diferencia de Carvajal, la suya es una búsqueda desde el espíritu, no estrictamente racional tal como se entiende habitualmente. En otras palabras, trata de llegar a una Belleza por una vía distinta, menos definida, más espiritualista. LA SÍNTESIS DE PULCHRUM Y PRAXIS Sugerimos como la belleza que albergan las construcciones de Carvajal y Kurokawa consiguen un mundo mejor, más habitable y más humano. El primero combina magistralmente la funcionalidad con la belleza. Como él mismo ha dicho, “el buen arquitecto debe construir edificios eficaces y bellos”. Nos parece que en su arquitectura encaja magistralmente la que consideramos la dualidad de la función: pulchrum y praxis, belleza y eficacia. La fusión es perfecta, y esta dualidad es posible desde otra perspectiva como la del segundo. Es una arquitectura cambiante, más perenne pero también más conciliadora con la Naturaleza. Carvajal y Kurokawa consiguen una arquitectura humana. Evitan lo que Ortega y Gasset denominaba el triunfo sobre lo humano (“El placer estético para el artista nuevo emana de ese

Como decía F. Nietzsche, “el primer latido del mundo es apariencia; lo que se aparece, lo que impresiona con rapidez inmediata nuestros sentidos es la realidad como formas que se repiten, como días y noches que se suceden según leyes estrictas”.

14

111


triunfo sobre lo humano”)15 , superadores de una concepción limitada de la realidad como únicamente lo sensible. Logran que la trascendencia sea un rasgo marcado en la mayor parte de sus obras. Ambos arquitectos demuestran que la belleza es un valor superior a la mera funcionalidad. En otras palabras, lo bello es tan necesario como lo práctico, siendo, como son, dos realidades no sólo compatibles sino complementarias y que pueden enriquecerse mutuamente. Son necesarios ahora nuevos genios, continuadores de Carvajal y Kurokawa, que regeneren la belleza necesaria y recojan el testigo de estos verdaderos Arquitectos, como Maestros y portadores del Pulchrum. Que sean capaces de encarnar en sus obras el ideal que Vitruvio describe en su tratado De Architectura16 : La perfecta imbricación entre Firmitas, Utilitas y Venustas.

“El arte es reflejo de la vida, es la naturaleza vista a través de un temperamento, es la representación de lo humano”. Cfr. Ortega y Gasset, J. El arte deshumanizado, Edit. Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, (1925).

15

Vitruvio, M., Los diez libros de Arquitectura, Akal, Madrid, (1992). (Tratado más antiguo sobre Arquitectura que se conserva)

16

112


UNIV Forum 2012 "Pulchrum. The power of beauty"  

Presentations/Comunicaciones

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you