Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Truth and Error September 9, 2010

Filed under: art,educational,Reviews — Addicted to Yarn @ 7:27 pm
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G. W. F. Hegel makes some very contradictory statements in his Lectures on Aesthetics, some true and some erroneous. Andrew Sola, writing for The Literary Encyclopedia, 2004, records that Hegel places art at the same level of importance as religion and philosophy and believes it must be studied as “patiently and laboriously as theology and philosophy are studied” (1). Hegel also rejects the two conventional approaches to studying art, empirically and “the study of the beautiful” (2), developing instead his own method, which he calls the dialectic method. He denies the belief that art is deceptive and opines that art is higher than nature, both thoughts in opposition to commonly held beliefs about art. Hegel does not believe that “art has a purpose outside of itself” (7), such as purifying and preparing humanity’s passions for “moral perfection”(7) and providing instructions on attaining said moral perfection; instead claiming that art has no purpose outside of itself. He finds meaning in art as a mediator between the inner and outer lives of the artists and their audiences. Hegel, recognizing the three stages of art – Symbolic, Classical, and Romantic – and implies that the latter are ‘higher’ than those that came before. He also places art into a hierarchy based on form. However, while Hegel makes some very good points, he is mistaken in these final regards. Art, as a mediator between the inner and outer realities of life, has no hierarchy.

There is no escaping the fact that art is a mediator, a crucial concept to Hegel’s dialectic approach to studying art. He first recognizes “the classical philosophical opposition between the inner and the outer” (Sola 4), believing that art brings reconciliation to them. He then defends this stance against the commonly held belief that art is less ‘real’ than the outer reality it represents, by writing, “Genuine reality is only to be found beyond the immediacy of feeling and of external objects” (qtd. in Sola 4).  Hegel believes, quite rightly, that even when nature (an ‘outer’ reality) is the subject of art, it must first pass through the artist’s mind (the ‘inner’ reality) in order to strip away the “arbitrary, chaotic, and contingent details” and “gain its universal or spiritual qualities,” (5) thus qualifying it as ‘art.’ When art, which “relies on the representation of natural forms of transitory emotions and of sensual stimulations,” (4) passes through the mind of the artist, it acts as a mediator, bridging the gap between the inner and the outer.

Unfortunately, it is on the subject of hierarchy in art that Hegel becomes entangled in his own arguments. Hegel mistakenly assumes that art has a hierarchy. He places architecture and sculpture at the bottom, because they are bound by ‘matter’ as the other arts are not. Following architecture and sculpture, he places painting and music, as they are not bound by the physical – if it can be imagined it can be put to paint brush and canvas or set to music. At the top, or “apex,” Hegel places poetry, stating, “Poetry is the universal art of mind which has become free of its own nature, and which is not tied to find its realization in external sensuous matter” (qtd. in Sola 10). However, if art’s purpose is to bridge the gap between the inner and outer realities of life, as Hegel argues, than any form of art which does so serves its purpose, whether it be a soaring, epic poem which causes the reader to ponder the mystery of god, or the lofty architecture of a cathedral which draws the viewer’s eye upward into contemplation of god’s greatness. Poetry requires not only simple literacy but also literacy in poetry in order to communicate to the audience (Hegel considers it crucial that art be made available to others (Sola 6)) while other forms of art do not  require the same level of literacy. Art, in its many forms, has no hierarchy for any form can  communicate the artist’s reconciliation of the inner and outer.

Hegel again comes into conflict with himself in regard to the three stages of art: Symbolic, corresponding to pantheistic religions and subjective thought, Classical, corresponding to Greek polytheism and objective thought, and Romantic, corresponding to Christian monotheism and dialectic thought (Sola 7). He wrongly implies that each is higher than that which came before. Sola records, referring to art of the symbolic stage which grants natural objects symbolic meaning, that Hegel considers Eastern art to be “still ‘primitive’ in this respect” (7) calling it “bizarre, grotesque and tasteless” (qtd. in Sola 8). In saying such, he contradicts his own belief that “the world always is as it ought to be in any given moment” (7) and that art’s purpose is to reveal the truth of the moment. As previously mentioned, Hegel believes that genuine reality is found through art. In pejoratively labeling Eastern art as “tasteless,” “grotesque,” and “bizarre,” he implies that this is not happening. The Eastern artist views her natural world, which according to Hegel “always is as it ought to be,” passes it through her mind, and produces art (bridging the gap between the inner and outer), which fulfills its function – the “representation and revelation” of said reconciliation (qtd. in Sola 7). Since art has no other purpose, so long as it is representing and revealing the struggle and bridging of the inner and outer realities, no one can place one stage above another as Hegel does.

Hegel presents numerous ideas and thoughts in his lecture on aesthetics. He correctly recognizes the antithesis between the physical outer world and the universal or spiritual inner world. He correctly sees that art is not meant to have a purpose beyond revealing the artist’s interpretation of the world. However, he incorrectly places art into an unnatural hierarchy, working against his own arguments. There is much we can learn from Hegel about art and the meaning it brings to our world but we must remain aware of his erroneously decided hierarchy.

Works Cited

Sola, Andrews. “Hegel’s Lectures on Aesthetics.” The Literary Encyclopedia. 2004 ed.


Another Alcohol Review May 5, 2008

B.K., one of Israel’s co-workers, brought over a wine last night that was amazing. Very light and sweet. It was a Moscato D’Asti by Umberto Fiore. It’s a white wine from Italy and it was absolutely the best wine I’ve had. Both Israel and I were very impressed.

On a not so impressed note, I bought a six pack of Captian Morgans Parrot Bay Sunset Surf Pineapple and Orange. It isn’t bad but it tasted like Kool-aid. Bicardi Silver Pomegranate Mojito is also an alcopop, and yet it manages to taste somewhat more adult, although not all drinkers share that feeling. The DrinkHacker does not share my high opinion of Pomegranate Mojito. So now I’m left with four of these and no one to drink them. I’m thinking I’ll save them for the next Mom’s Night In and maybe someone will drink them. We’ve only one friend who might think they are good but she doesn’t drink. Maybe I’ll have to just dump them and chalk it up as a learning experience.

There you go. One favorable review and one unfavorable review.

Coming tomorrow: Renn Faire Review and pictures. Yay!


Strawberries, Hair Cuts, and Pizza April 14, 2008

I made a fruit salad the other day. While cutting strawberries, I found a weird one…Yup. It’s weird.

the strawberry from the other world!

We took Jael to get her hair cut today. First, I must rant about the stupidity of this place. I don’t just want to take her to Wal-Mart to get her hair cut. We’ve never cut her hair before and I’m a little nervous. We’d wanted to wait until she could make the decision to cut her hair herself but she’s started chewing on it and so the decision got made for her. I open up the phone book, thinking I’ll find a salon in the yellow pages who says something about specializing in children’s hair cuts or maybe that just has an ad I like.

Yeah…I thought wrong. Under ‘barbers’ there were 60 shops listed and three with ads. Under ‘haircutters & stylists’ there were 28 listings and no ads. Under ‘spa’ there were some more listings but not once was there a professional ad or even an ad that seemed like a shop might like business. ARGH! So, faced with picking some shop at random, we decided to go ahead and go to Wal-Mart. At least if they screwed it up, there was some guarantee that they wouldn’t just laugh at us and kick us out of their store.

So, thinking there was a SmartStyle in the Wal-Mart northeast of us, I look them up in the white pages, wanting to call to see what kind of a wait we might have. None of the Wal-Mart’s listed a salon. We were sure there was one there so Israel got online and checked out Wal-Mart’s website to see if he could find one with a salon. None in the area. So I look up SmartStyle in the phone book and there it is: “SmartStyle-inside Wal-Mart…” and gives the address to the Wal-Mart Israel is looking at online that lists everything and it’s dog but not the salon. ARGH!!! (again)

We went and got her hair cut and it looks good. It’s not a magical hair cut that will never fall into her face while remaining feminine but it’s better than it was and is cute. Here are two before pics…

and two after pics…Don't ask me why she loos so freaky.

Oh, and as I looked up the phone book stuff just now, I found all the missing adverts. They are listed under ‘beauty salons.’ Now, I looked under ‘salon,’ ‘cosmotolgy,’ ‘haircutting,’ ‘barbers,’ etc, and not once was there a reference such as “look under beauty salon.” Nothing. ARGH!!!!!!!!

But we got her hair cut and that was cool. Then we went to a park and met a nice lady named Maria and her two and a half year old daughter. There was a large group of kids, from a school or day care or something there. Jael and some other girls had a bit of an altercation over proper bridge etiquette. Jael was bouncing on the bridge when a girl at least two years older tried to cross, slipped on her incredibly slippery shoes and then after slipping and sliding across the bridge and finally gaining the other side, yells at Jael, “You are the one that made me fall!” and then went away. Another little girl came and told Jael that she wasn’t supposed to jump on the bridge to which Jael responded, “Yes, I am.” The girl told Jael, quite forcefully, that she needed to get out of her way. Jael countered by telling the girl, again about two years older, equally forcefully that she needed to go around. Which the girl did. I was so proud of Jael for standing up for herself. I don’t want he to be a playground tyrant but I also don’t ever want to see her bow to someone else just because they are loud, obnoxious and afraid. Then Jael found two like-minded girls to play with and they had a riot.

After the park we went to the Mellow Mushroom for pizza. It was…amazing. There really isn’t any other words for it. We ordered a medium House Special, which, and I quote, “Originated when we first began, this Mellow Mushroom classic features Pepperoni, Sausage, Ground Beef, Onions, Green Peppers, Shrooms, Black Olives, Tomatoes, Bacon, Ham, and Extra Cheese.” It was phenomenal. I could have done with out the bacon but that’s simply because there were so many other toppings that the bacon was almost over kill. We ordered a medium and brought two slices home but I wish we’d ordered a large so we could have had a few more pieces to bring home. Okay, what I really wanted was to be able to eat another piece but still have enough pieces left to bring home to make me feel like I ate responsibly. *sigh*

The restaurant was almost perfect. There was fun music but not too loud. The decor was fun but not over powering. The smells, were of course, amazing. They served Coca-cola products and a huge selection of beers, domestic and imported. They had a number of beers that Israel has not tried. Since we were there for lunch, he didn’t try any today but maybe next time. The only complaint I have is the TV. There was a TV on each end of the restaurant and even though it was golf, I found myself being continually distracted. I hate TV in restaurants but oh, well. It was still worth it and we will definitely be visiting the Mellow Mushroom again.

After eating, we looked at the railroad behind the restaurant where one of the sidings appeared to be quite deserted. It was very light rail, very rusty – so rusty in fact that we had a very hard time finding a production date on it. After much searching and brushing away some dust, we found it. Laid in 1918. The oldest we’ve ever found. A train went by while we were looking and the engineer waved back at Jael. (In case you don’t know, Jael loves trains. Every time she hears a train, while in the apartment, she rushes to the door and asks to go down and watch it. We usually let her. She stands down on the curb, watches the train go by and then runs back upstairs to tell us about it. She’s wonderful.)

We headed home after that, Jael took a great nap, and Israel and I relaxed for about an hour and a half.

All in all, a great day.

Oh, and I’m reading “Jane Eyre” again. What a great book. I love it. It’s one of the few books I can read over and over. “Ender’s Game,” “The Captain of Castile,” and “The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle” are some of the others. That may actually be a complete list of the books I can read over and over again.

Coming soon: “The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life”: a book review.


Movie Review March 31, 2008

Filed under: Anecdotal,parenting,Reviews — Addicted to Yarn @ 8:52 pm
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We just finished watching Disney’s movie Enchanted…

What a fun movie. Both Israel and I wanted to see it…we’d actually watched the preview over and over again on YouTube, laughing uproariously every time Prince Edward was clobbered by the bicyclists as he began to sing to Giselle.

All humor aside, it was a very clever movie. Giselle is the perfect Disney princess with just the right amount of over-the-top thrown in for satirical effect. The film was done so well that when all of Central Park joins with Giselle in a song and dance number, your sense of disbelief is almost completely suspended.

The love stories (and there are three) all work out the way they should. Everyone ends happy, with the exception of the evil stepmother who dies horribly falling from a building halfway between the transformation from dragon back to woman. But she richly deserved it.

Anyway, it was really great. It’s a little scary for the little ones. Jael was very upset by the evil step mother. She turns into a dragon in Sleeping Beauty style but Jael was freaked long before that happened. I think the woman’s general evilness was scary. She’s just a bad person and I think Jael picked up on that. So beware with young kids.