Beauty again . . . but 'scrutinizing' this time . . .
Readers will recall that I recently posted a brief passage from Dave Hickey's words on beauty in his book The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty:
In images, beauty is the agency that causes visual pleasure in the beholder, and since pleasure is the true occasion for looking at anything, any theory of images that is not grounded in the pleasure of the beholder begs the question of art's efficacy and dooms itself to inconsequence!This grabbed my interest and was on my mind when I just happened to notice that Roger Scruton had published a philosophical book on Beauty, in which he says
Beauty . . . is a real and universal value, one anchored in our rational nature, and the sense of beauty has an indispensable part to play in shaping the human world. (page x of ebook version)I don't know if Hickey would agree or not, but that doesn't matter to me. Scruton, by the way, is alluded to in my novella:
There's even an English philosopher who has scrutinized the culture of alcohol and claims that virtuous drinking has contributed to the Western tradition of democratic rule because it loosens the tongue without loss of reason.Those words are spoken by Mr. Em to the Naif only a few brief pages into The Bottomless Bottle of Beer. My novella doesn't discuss the concept or even experience of beauty, but I would like to think that I have accomplished something beautiful in writing it.
But to judge if I have done so, I need to know what beauty means, and perhaps Scruton can help me there . . .