On Belief in Truth


“Belief in truth begins with doubts of all truths in which one has previously believed.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

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Beauty


When contemplating the property beauty, as with knowledge, it turns out to be very difficult to provide an uncontentious analysis. Because of its many different conceptions and dimensions, the full value of beauty is surprisingly hard to capture. To that end, below is a list of quotations to help sketch a definition of the property beauty.

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”
– Confucius

“The voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

“Beauty awakens the soul to act.”
– Dante Alighieri

“Beauty is not caused. It is.”
– Emily Dickinson

“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.”
– Khalil Gibran

“Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth whether it existed before or not.”
– John Keats

“There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.”
– Edgar Allan Poe

“Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.”
– David Hume

“Beauty is a form of Genius – is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime, or the reflection in the dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.”
– Gwyneth Paltrow

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
– Anne Frank

See more: Approximations

Truth


When contemplating the property truth, as with knowledge, it turns out to be very difficult to provide an uncontentious analysis. Because of its many different conceptions and dimensions, the full value of truth is surprisingly hard to capture. To that end, below is a list of quotations to help sketch a definition of the property truth.

“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
– François de La Rochefoucauld

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
– Winston Churchill

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
– Oscar Wilde

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
– Gloria Steinem

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
– Socrates

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
– Mark Twain

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
– Aldous Huxley

“Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth.”
– Pablo Picasso

“The more I see, the less I know for sure.”
– John Lennon

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
– Carlos Ruiz Zafón

“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

See more: Approximations

A Philosophers’ Guide To Art


What did the world’s foremost western philosophers think about art?

Plato (428-348) Beauty as an ideal

What matters is a higher, perfect beauty; a harmony which we do not immediately appear to see. If you want to see a copy of reality, you might as well buy a mirror. We should strive to look for something of a higher nature instead of repeating the things we see.

Aristotle (384-322) Art as an organic unity

Works of art are an organic unity. The work is whole. It is, beginning, middle and ending, in itself complete. Works of art are artistic; that is to say, they express a perceivable harmony. Its elements are organised, and none of its parts can be replaced or removed without it losing its value.

Kant (1724-1804) Pointless purpose

It is important that art conveys a sense of order and harmony. Everything seems to be finely tuned. The internal coherence of the work of art is immensely close nit and complex, as if it was designed to serve a certain purpose. Like the parts of an organism are dependent upon the organism’s will to further exist. The work of art, however, possesses this strong coherence without any purpose whatsoever.

When the work of art has been created, we can see that it is good, but we could not have thought of any parameters or rules of design beforehand. The relations within the composition are only purposeful within itself and create a formal unity of universal beauty in which everything is carefully coordinated.

Hegel (1770-1831) Development of the self by means of estrangement of the self

Art is an absolute necessity. We learn about ourselves by means of the work of art. The artist is irrelevant; however, we can learn from the image which he provides. In doing so, that is, by expressing ourselves through a certain material, we learn more about ourselves. Consequently, the world becomes less and less peculiar.

Schopenhauer (1788-1860) Art as a haven in this heartless world

The work of art is a harmonious and selfless entity, and is heavily contrasted with the reality of human life. Happiness is unthinkable. The work of art is an escape from the chaos of everyday life. The acceptance of this is an ideal and the form it takes is art. In aesthetic bliss we can experience how joyful life should be; because when we behold and enjoy beauty, our soul is calmed and comforted. The work of art releases us from the world in which we live – art stops the wheels of time, she always achieves her purpose.

Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Art as an escape from life

Art reconciles us with life; however, this reconciliation is not perfect. When one gazes at art, one does not gaze at reality. We are allowed to have a haven, but we are not allowed to shy away from living. When one purposefully elevates one’s life, life becomes a work of art. And when life is beautiful, ethics and aesthetics become one. The work of art pleases us in a moment of elation – it makes life seem shorter.

Nietzsche (1844-1900) Life as work of art

Art is for art’s sake, that is, art justifies itself and has the quality of dispensing with a purpose – moral or rational – since only through the aesthetic production can the world be justified.

Art may well be said to be the bridge between Man and the superhuman, the übermensch, the bridge to perfection and eternity. Through art, Man transcends the confines of his own ego and secures oneness with the universe. Clearly, it is established: the role of art as means of self-transcendence.

Wittgenstein (1889-1951) The unsayable and the image

Art is intransitive. Aesthetics cannot be enunciated in a clear linguistic form. The work of art does not tell us anything and requires no further explanation; however, it shows the unsayable, and provides the right perspective.

Heidegger (1889-1976) The disclosure of the concealedness

Art has its place within the idea of the world and reality. Art concerns itself with truth and we should look for what it can show us. This disclosure in the face of concealedness is not a state but an event, it is something that happens. Disclosure also means that focus shifts. And since reality is not a total presence, reality is always more, the work of art shows us concealedness as concealedness.

“How does a body, a nonmental object, come to ‘embody’ or ‘express,’ for our aesthetic imagination, values which it does not literally contain? Why should colours and shapes and patterns, sounds and harmonies and rhythms, come to mean so very much more that they are?”

– Louis Arnauld Reid

The Will to Suffering and the Compassionate


(338) ‘[…] Live ignorant of that which seems to thy age to be most important! Put at least the skin of three centuries betwixt thyself and the present day! And the clamour of the present day, the noise of wars and revolutions, ought to be a murmur to thee! Thou wilt also want to help, but only those whose distress thou entirely under-standest, because they have one sorrow and one hope in common with thee – thy friends: and only in the way that thou helpest thyself: – I want to make them more courageous, more enduring, more simple, more joyful! I want to teach them that which at present so few understand, and the preachers of fellowship in sorrow least of all: – namely, fellowship in joy!’

– Nietzsche. F. 1882. The Joyful Wisdom (Die fröhliche Wissenschaft) New York, United States: The Macmillan Company (1924) p. 268