Monday, February 25, 2008

on the radicalization of aesthetics

The time has come for a new romanticism -- not one that glorifies ‘fine dining’ or fancy hotels and other disasters involving wage slavery, exploitation, industrial values and all their collateral damages. Me must learn to reexamine and re-refine our aesthetics, we must abandon the alienating oppression of standardized perfection. We are in need of an aesthetics that is actively disobedient to consumer culture. An aesthetics of resistance, an aesthetics of solidarity, an aesthetics of liberation.

And so one eats food from the trash and sleeps in abandoned buildings not only as a financial solution -- it is also a cultural solution, and we lay important groundwork for the future of aesthetics. Culture will evolve, like everything else, either by default or design.

There is a cultural war to be fought and the new cultures and aesthetics must recognize themselves as more beautiful, more refined, more sophisticated than the old. We eat from the garbage not only because we are hungry, or because we wish to bring attention to waste, or simply because food is there in abundance (although these are good reasons as well) but because it is essential that we digest the demolition of our indoctrination, that we taste the transvaluation which we’ve known has been necessary all along.

It is of dire importance to our psychological health that our aesthetic values be consonant with our ethical values. If not, we live lives of inescapable hypocrisy and endlessly incapacitating paradox. If we are not in love with the world outside the artificial cage of consumerism, then we must relearn what love is. It is a necessity both for ourselves and the entire planet.

1 comment:

der Einzige said...

Any philosophy (including aesthetics) that is not lived is no philosophy at all. But I'm not sure I totally agree with you--if aesthetics is imbued with a sense of radical ethics, doesn't it just become the vehicle for the latter? That is, doesn't it become un-aesthetic when employed for purposes other than pure aesthetic judgment?