Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
If I relate beauty to nothingness, what happens? Is nothingness sort of an absence of beauty? Or it is portrayed by our culture and society, and, in such case, can I define this absence of beauty? Is it beauty that you cannot even catch? Is its appearance neutral, almost hidden?
When we are born, we all have the same degree of beauty and purity, which is progressively lost as long as we start growing up. In a life span, we accumulate wrinkles, and defects and dirt which needs to be concealed in order to fit in certain social categories. But our bodies register all the marks, absorb all the signs and impurities, likewise filters.
We don’t necessarly perceive our own dirt or impurities as disgusting, whereas, in the clash with the other, we automatically are ahsamed of it. Same way, we tend to regard the other’s dirt as disgusting, not our own, very private dirt.
Dirt is matter out of place, so is ugliness. The stain must be cleansed, purified as it represents a threaten for beauty. It is subtracting clean space to beauty. We are part of a society that intimates us to clean up, shape up, hide your -very human- dirt under the carpet. But beauty, nor humanity, would not exist without that dirt. We do absorb impurities all life long. And that is what makes us what we ultimately are: humans. Dirt paradoxically works as a protection: the dirtier we are, the less afraid of getting dirty we will be.
In the society we live in exist many difficulties when it comes to find an identity as humans and a position in it. We are often put in a situation of having to follow: a certain career, a living style, an ideology, somebody’s else opinion, what to consume, school systems. Etcetera.
In such a society, and because of this “follower-like”, passive position, where we mostly have to repeat the same living patterns, it got harder and harder to retrieve the meaning of things and to understand where we come from. Who we really are. We tend to put on uniforms or masks to fit in different standardazied situations. Everything and everybody has to fit in its or his standard place. This way our intrinsic human beauty is concealed and somehow controlled.
With my essai, I try to look under the carpet, undress, unmask and reach a new definition of beauty: a naked beauty, not concealed nor camouflaged. The beauty we all deeply share, unpretentious and honest. A beauty of nothingness: something I see or feel, but about which I keep wondering whether it is or it is not beauty.
To develop such new definition of beauty, I recollect ideas and concepts of beauty from the past, with a main reference to western society: from beauty models in the ancient Greece, Apollonian VS Dionysian, to the Sublime, untill the present time. I try to define what purpose and non-purpose beauty is. What is ugliness and dirt and how they both are a prerequisites of beauty. I finally take a more personal look upon contemporary society and how its mechanisms define a beauty which is standard. It is starting from a reflexion about standard society and beauty, that I then define a more intrinsic human beauty. Such unevokable sensation of beauty is extremely subtle, hard to acknowledge: one needs to train ones eyes and go beyond the layers, to discover the beauty of nothingness.
2010. , 25 p.
Kant, Burke, sublime, apollonian, dionysian, standard society, beauty, ugliness, purification, absence beauty, nothingness