In 347 BC, Plato established a Theory of Forms that regarded even conceptual inanimacies, as entities existing universally too, as independent of space and time. I understand that while distantly deriving roots from origins of western philosophical thought, that this not a concept that is really in line with a western train of thinking. It is to the best of my ability that I’ll try and apply this foundation to intent in a way that is as linear as possible.

In further establishment of this intent, I want to illuminate Nietzsche’s further support of this in saying:

“The beautiful illusion of the dream worlds, in the creation of which every man is a consummate artist, is the precondition of all visual art, and indeed, as we shall see, an important amount of poetry. We take pleasure in the immediate apprehension of form; all shapes speak to us; nothing is indifferent or unnecessary. But even when this dream reality is presented with the greatest intensity, we still have a glimmering awareness that it is an illusion … Men of philosophy even have a sense that beneath the reality in which we live there is hidden a second, quite different world, and that our own world is therefore an illusion. Schopenhauer  actually says that the gift of being able at times to see men and objects as mere phantoms or dream images is the mark of the philosophical capacity. Thus, the man who is responsive to artistic stimuli reacts to the reality of dreams as does the philosopher to the reality of existence; he observes closely, and he enjoys his observation: for it is out of these images that he interprets life, out of these processes that he trains himself for life.(Whiteside.15)”


If dictionary definition 1a under beauty lists:”a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, esp. the sight.” To what degree can that be extended beyond the literal into saying that any combination of qualities can reflect that universally ideal beauty. Plato knew of the orders, proportions, agreements of the spheres, and knew that the relationship between them, must too then, be a reflection of that same ideal. To what degree are we as humans then, held to the same, (in our universal perception of this)? How is the idea of a perceived beauty then a dilution of an underlying harmony existing most perfectly in the ideal,  the “dream world?”

After establishing this, I want to extend the idea of the “Form” to the relationship between entities, even people. If the tangible form as we know it, a “decaying, ephemeral copy of the ideal”(Magee, loosely p.27) What is to keep the ideal, both plastic and fluid abstraction from any degree of interaction, even if as just perceived in the mind? What if the ideal could then, theoretically hold reign over all of humanity in the shared psychological workings of human inclination (toward beauty as an example)? What if this dictates our thoughts and actions to a greater and more frequent extent than we realize?

What if the ordinary becomes beautiful when it best reflects that universal ideal? Would then, the measure of that beauty become based solely on it’s reflective properties? That despite the impossibility for the ideal to permeate the realm of the real, that the magnitude, even power, of an entity’s beauty is based on it’s distance from that ideal source. In this case, both the inherent beautiful qualities of the thing itself, as well as it’s existence in the now, with it’s relationship to others. Likewise, how is discordance or tension(again, as it is perceived) a resulting comprehension of a incongruous relationship between two or more entities?

Gian Lorenzo Bernini was commissioned continually by the counter-reformation papacy because of his ability to create works that supposedly had the ability to illusionistically create a tangible sense of the supernatural.(Or at least come as close as possible) That the divine was made real, coming into “our” space.  To what degree then, is this the epitome of the reflective ideal, that these things can become, as possibly as the inanimate can be, actualities of what they propose to represent, and how are we to react accordingly?

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~ by crossmd on October 13, 2009.

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