Essentials Of Unification Thought - The Head-Wing Thought
V. Requisites for Appreciation
The appreciation of an artistic work is a form of give-and-receive action; accordingly, in appreciation as well, there are certain requisites for the subject and for the object. Those requisites will now be specified.
A. Requisites for the Subject in Appreciation
First, as a Sungsang requisite, an appreciator must assume the correct attitude with which to enjoy the beauty in the art work, which is an attitude of intuition and contemplation. In other words, the appreciator must view the work of art with a clear state of mind, freeing himself from worldly, or dirty thoughts. To do this, it is necessary to harmonize the spirit mind and physical mind, such that the spirit mind and physical mind are in the relationship of subject and object centering on Heart. This means that the appreciator makes the pursuit of the values of trueness, goodness, and beauty primary, and the pursuit of the physical values secondary.
Next, the appreciator must have a certain level of culture, taste, philosophy, individuality, etc. It is also necessary to understand the Sungsang aspect of the artist who created the work, namely, the motif (purpose), theme, conception, philosophy, historical and social environment, and so on. Understanding an art work is a process of matching the appreciator's Sungsang with the Sungsang of the work of art. This enhances the appreciator's resemblance to the art work, which is what results in the joy of appreciation.
For example, while appreciating the works by Millet, one needs to understand Millet's way of thinking as well. At the time of the February Revolution of 1847, a heavy atmosphere of socialist reforms was hanging over France. It is said that Millet disliked that atmosphere and was attracted to the simple life of the countryside. While living among farmers, he was inspired to portray their life style. 14 If one understands Millet's, frame of mind, one can more easily feel the beauty of his paintings.
In order to enhance resemblance to the work of art, the appreciator simultaneously engages in creative activity through subjective action. Subjective action means that the appreciator adds subjective elements to the object, thus adding new value to the value already created by the artist. The appreciator then enjoys the enhanced value as the value of the object. Subjective action corresponds to "empathy" as defined by Theodore Lipps. 15 For example, in a play ,or a movie, an actor may break down in tears, and the audience may then weep with the actor, thinking that the actor is really feeling sad. They project their own feelings on to the actor, judging the object subjectively. This is an example of subjective action, or empathy. Through subjective action, the appreciator becomes more closely united with the work of art and obtains more joy.
Furthermore, the appreciator synthesizes the various physical elements discovered through contemplation and combines their overall unified harmony with the Sungsang (conception) of the artist, contained in the work. In other words, the appreciator finds the harmony of Sungsang and Hyungsang in the work.
The Hyungsang requisites for the appreciator refer to the appreciator's physical condition. The appreciator must have tile organs for sight and hearing in good condition and the nerves and brain in good health. Since the human being is a being of united Sungsang and Hyungsang, a healthy condition of the physical body is required for the appreciation of beauty, which is an activity of the Sungsang.
B. Requisites for the Object in Appreciation
With regard to the requisites for the object (work of art), first, the physical elements of the work of art must be harmonized, centering on the purpose of creation. Second, the Sungsang (motive, purpose, theme, conception) and the Hyungsang (physical elements) of the work of art must be harmonized.
In appreciation, since a work of art is a completed piece placed in front of the appreciator, those conditions which the art work already has cannot be changed at will by the appreciator. Yet, as pointed out earlier, the appreciator's resemblance to the work of art can be enhanced through adding the appreciator's subjectivity to it (i.e., through subjective action).
In displaying the works of art, it is also important to prepare the environment such as location, background and lighting, in order to create an appropriate atmosphere for appreciation.
C. Judgments of Beauty
Based on the principle that "value is determined through the correlative relationship between subject and object" (the relationship of give-and-receive action), beauty is determined through the give-and-receive action between the appreciator (a subject with the above-mentioned requisites for the subject) and a work of art (an object with the above-mentioned requisites for the object). This means that a-judgment concerning beauty is made when the appreciator's desire to seek beauty is fulfilled by the emotional stimulation coming from the work of art. The emotional stimulation coming from the work of art refers to the element-, of beauty that stimulate the emotion of the subject. In this way, beauty itself does not exist objectively, but the elements of beauty that exist in tile work of art turn into actual beauty when the appreciator judges that they are beautiful.
Let us now consider the difference between a judgment of beauty and a judgment of cognition. A judgment of cognition (cognitive judgment) is made through collation between the subject (internal elements-prototypes) and the object (external elements -- sensory content). A judgment of beauty (aesthetic judgment), also, is made through the collation between subject and object. What is the difference between the two?
If during collation the faculty of intellect is more active than tile other faculties, then it becomes a cognitive judgment; but if tile faculty of emotion is more active, then it becomes an aesthetic judgement. In other words, when the physical elements of an object are perceived intellectually, it is a cognitive judgment, but when they are perceived emotionally, it is an aesthetic judgment. (Fig. 7-4)
Fig. 7-4: Aesthetic judgment and Cognitive judgment
However, since the intellectual and emotional faculties cannot be totally separated from each other, an aesthetic judgment is always accompanied by cognition. For example, the aesthetic judgment that "this flower is beautiful" is accompanied by the cognition that "this is a flower," or, for instance, "this flower is a rose."
Download entire page and pages related to it in ZIP format
Table of Contents