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Paste your essay in here…The ancient Greeks argued that perfect beauty existed. They showed that perfect beauty is something invisible, a prototype, an archetype, an ideal model or quality, present in everything more or less beautiful. Such archetypes-prototypes are present in all living beings, things and such concepts as justice, goodness, harmony, love – which we usually call eternal values.
According to Plato, these perfect, eternal ideas are manifested, incarnating in a world of material forms, so that every idea creates a multitude of shadow reflections, more or less like it. Similarly, perfect beauty expresses itself in the world through many different forms and creates its own numerous reflections. Perhaps that is why it is so difficult for people to agree on what perfect beauty is after all, the forms reflecting it are very diverse and do not resemble one another. But no form is able to fully convey the very idea, therefore, its reflections have to be found in those beings and works that we consider beautiful. It is known that many great masters, especially antiquity and the Renaissance, were determined to find the lost image of the beautiful and perfect first person, and thus the canons arose.
Plato’s followers, as well as philosophers and masters of the Renaissance, considered perfect beauty as one of the greatest forces capable of not only bringing aesthetic pleasure, but also healing, elevating a person’s soul, returning to him the memory of the Divine. After all, the human soul is by nature related to beauty, good and justice and lives in the same world where immortal ideas live. In Plato’s aesthetics, perfect beauty is understood as the absolute interpenetration of the body, soul and mind, the fusion of idea and matter, reasonableness and pleasure, and the principle of this fusion is a measure. Cognition does not separate Plato from love, and love from beauty. Everything beautiful, for example, apparently, audible, externally or bodily, is animated by its inner life and contains in itself this or that meaning. Such a beauty appeared to Plato as the ruler and, in general, the source of life for all living things.
Plato’s aesthetics are formed around the principle of distinguishing between what is truly beautiful in the universe and what is perceived by him as beautiful because of the limitations of the person. Behind this distinction lies the complex ontological question of distinguishing between true and imaginary being. Plato believes, thanks, as we see it, some kind of mystical intuition, that there is something beautiful as such, and is convinced that it must be distinguished from what appears to be beautiful. It is obvious that Perfect Beauty as such, that is the essence of the beautiful, must be real, independent of the temporary, changeable, inconstant. It is the elucidation of the essence of Perfect Beauty and represents for Plato the main task of aesthetic reflection.
In the Phaedo Plato shows that perfect beauty, good is the essence, to which the person himself builds the world that opens to him in the sensually comprehended world (Zuckert, 2009). A man goes back to comprehending perfect beauty gradually, having begun with the individual manifestations of the beauty, one must, all the time, as if on the steps, rise up for the most beautiful upwards. The most beautiful is transparent, pure, unalloyed, not burdened with human flesh, with colors and all sorts of other mortal nonsense. The mystical contemplation of perfect beauty, divine beauty, is able to ennoble man, to produce in him a true virtue that confronts virtues with phantom, since only virtue based on the comprehension of the beauty has its ontological and axiological truth.
In the aesthetics of Plato, ontology occurs with axiology. Continuing to develop the views of Socrates, Plato justifies the idea of perfect beauty as irreducible to the pragmatist useful and suitable. Both these categories are relative, useful always remains useful, as well as the suitable one is only for something, under specific conditions.
It also follows from this that perfect beauty, being absolute and serving as the source of all the beautiful things that are involved in it, cannot itself be a beautiful thing or some other material object – it is supersensitive and immaterial. Thus, we immediately understand that if true beauty is supersensitive, then fine works of art and literature occupy one of the lowest steps on the ladder of beauty, as they are material, and beauty in general is not; They are accessible to sensory perception, and absolute beauty is only to the intellect and also to the rational will, if we recall the Platonic understanding of the Eros. No one will want to question the greatness of the Platonic Idea of the ascent of the mind from sensible things to the contemplation of the divine and pure eternal beauty. However, the doctrine of the supersensible character of perfect beauty, unless it is a simple analogy that does not allow us to formulate a concept of beauty that encompasses the beautiful in all its manifestations.
In the Hippias Major the following definition is proposed: “everything that is useful is beautiful” (Zuckert, 2009). Thus, beauty is identified with efficiency: an effectively operating warship or institution is beautiful due to its effectiveness. But what does perfect beauty have to do with benefits or efficiency? In this case, if you follow the theory, it will need to be identified with absolute benefit or absolute effectiveness, which, it must be admitted, is not so simple. Socrates, however, clarifies the definition. He refuses to regard as beautiful what was made out of bad motives, and says that only what is done with good intentions is good, that is, truly useful. But if the beautiful is useful, that is, the generating good, then beauty and good cannot be the same, just as cause and effect are not the same thing. But, since Socrates refuses to accept the idea that beauty cannot be good at the same time, he puts forward another assumption that the beauty is something that is pleasing to the eye or ear – for example, a person is beautiful, or a combination of colors, or pictures and statues, beautiful voices, music, poetry or prose. However, this definition does not agree well with the assertion that the higher beauty is immaterial, in addition, it contains another contradiction. What is pleasing to the eye cannot be perfect for the simple reason that it is perceived by the eye, for then we cannot consider beautiful a beautiful melody. And the melody cannot be beautiful, because it aids the hearing, for in this case we cannot consider a beautiful statue that we see, but do not hear. Thus, objects of sight and hearing that cause aesthetic pleasure, should have some common property that makes them beautiful and which is inherent in both of them.
In the Phaedrus, Plato argues that only beauty, unlike wisdom, has the privilege of demonstrating oneself to the senses (Plato, 2012). But how does it show itself – through beautiful objects or through something else? If through something else – then how is it done? If through beautiful objects, can we unite the beauty manifested in sensible things, and perfect beauty in a general definition? And if so, what kind of definition will it be? Plato does not offer us a definition that would encompass both types of beauty. In the Philebus he speaks of the true pleasure arising from the perception of beautiful forms, colors and sounds, and specifies that he means straight and rounded lines, as well as pure gentle sounds that fit in a simple melody (Plato, 2012). They are beautiful not in relation to anything else, but in themselves. In this passage, Plato speaks of the difference between the pleasure generated by the perception of beauty and beauty in general, and his words should be considered in close connection with his statement that measure and symmetry always turn into beauty and virtue, which means that beauty includes measure and symmetry. Perhaps here, Plato came closest to the definition of perfect beauty that would be acceptable for both sensual and supersensory beauty (and he was genuinely convinced that there are both types of beauty, and one is a copy of the other). But if we recall all the statements about Beauty scattered in dialogues, we will have to admit that Plato wanders among the multitude of concepts dominated by those who identify beauty with the good, although the most successful, in our opinion, is the definition proposed in dialogue Philebus.
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