Tuesday, September 20, 2011
"Why does beauty exist? What's the point of marveling at a Rembrandt self portrait or a Bach fugue? To paraphrase Auden, beauty makes nothing happen. Unlike our more primal indulgences, the pleasure of perceiving beauty doesn't ensure that we consume calories or procreate. Rather, the only thing beauty guarantees is that we'll stare for too long at some lovely looking thing. Museums are not exactly adaptive. Here's my (extremely speculative) theory: Beauty is a particularly potent and intense form of curiosity. Put another way, beauty is a motivational force that helps modulate conscious awareness. The problem beauty solves is the problem of trying to figure out which sensations are worth making sense of and which ones can be easily ignored."
at 10:36 PM