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Posted Fri Jun 13th, 2008 4:26am Post subject: Aethetics
I agree with what Steven says about ugly environments inspiring ugly attitudes. But even if we all agree with this fundamental notion, there is still plenty to discuss within that framework.

Last year I came across a quote very similar to the sentiment Steven puts forward: that ugly things are always human made, we invented aethetics and produced the first ugly things to give meaning to the term. Initially I found this very compelling and true.

A few days latter, however, I was coming in to Vancouver in a little float plane, gazing down on beautiful forested mountains and rugged coast lines. When we began to approach the city, the blue water took on a darker shade, it grew muddy and polluted. The beaches and cliffs were overtaken by horrible industrial piers and “satanic mills”. And yet, in some perverse way, this landscape wasn’t ugly; it was beautiful, tragically beautiful.

Look what we have done to our environment; look at the atrocities we have committed against the natural world and each other. Even so, I ask you, have you ever seen something that is unequivocally ugly? No matter what, there is beauty. No matter what. Sad beauty, ugly beauty. But beauty.

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