By By (author) William Desmond

Addresses the tip of artwork and the duty of metaphysics

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Additional info for Art, Origins, Otherness: Between Philosophy and Art (Paperback) - Common

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One might say as much about “Plato” with regard to dualism. But one is the 30 Art, Origins, Otherness victim of a self-incurred obtuseness, if one neglects the joyful participation in the beauty of the middle that often marks pre-modern humans. One has only to look at some of the art to see this joy. The Greek celebration of the human body is witness enough to this. But even in the seemingly miserable Middle Ages, we are often stunned. Look, for example, at the serenity of being of those extraordinary faces carved on the door of Chartres Cathedral.

At other times, the very power of the image to present and show takes on something of its own life, and seems to stand there in terms of its own achieved creative accomplishment: I mimic you so well, I seem to be you! I do it so well, I make you uncomfortable, I seem to have stolen your life. An adequate account of mimesis cannot reduce it to facile copying, since then one might ask, why bother to copy at all? Given that we seem already to have the original in itself, why duplicate it? Thus the further point: if the otherness is to be shown, in one sense, it must be absent, in another sense, available for manifestation.

We are passions of being before we are endeavors of being (conatus essendi). With eros the passion of being arouses itself, or is aroused in us, in a desire that knows itself as a restlessness called out beyond its own confines. The call initially is the opposite of mastery; perhaps it will enter some mastery of itself; but this will always be qualified by its being sourced more originally in the passio essendi. There is also an excess within. This might be called the inward otherness: eros beyond absolute mastery by us: the power in us that draws us, drives us beyond.

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