On transience, understanding, beauty, aesthetics….


“I have a friend who’s an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don’t agree with very well. He’ll hold up a flower and say “look how beautiful it is,” and I’ll agree. Then he says “I as an artist can see how beautiful this is but you as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing,” and I think that he’s kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees is available to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quite as refined aesthetically as he is … I can appreciate the beauty of a flower. At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I could imagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have a beauty. I mean it’s not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter; there’s also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also the processes. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attract insects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see the color. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lower forms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which the science knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of a flower. It only adds. I don’t understand how it subtracts.” 
― Richard P. Feynman



Filed under mental health, notes, psychoanalytic psychotherapy/counseling, psychology, Uncategorized

3 responses to “On transience, understanding, beauty, aesthetics….

  1. I agree with this point of view – we can all be moved by beauty, but we don’t all see in the same way. Some of us can ‘see into’ things and understand things on another (perhaps deeper) level that others cannot relate to.I think the experience of beauty is in our response, our capacity to be moved or stirred or inspired by something. If we think of Jung’s psychological types on which the Myers-Briggs was based, it sometimes seems that thinking types are not emotionally stirred or moved to the same degree as feeling types. However this is a misunderstanding….it is just hard sometimes for the feeling type to read a thinker – and probably vice-versa!

    • And another perspective is that brought out in Freud’s essay – On Transience…in which he, Rilke, and Lou Andrea Salome walked in the mountains and conversed on whether the beauty was diminished by its transience…

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