A Note on Aesthetics

By Nature man is not what he ought to be; only through a transforming process does he arrive at truth.
— GWF Hegel


People often ask me, “How should I move?” which is like asking, “What should I say?” My answer is the stock Feldenkrais line: "You move in a way that allows you to be at ease in this situation in life."

No one can tell you how to move, or how to speak. But it is possible to get unstuck from narrow and limited movement options, just like increasing your vocabulary provides you with more ways to express complex ideas.

The urge to separate movement from communication and turn it into an abstract skill to be triumphed over is to put human communication into the smallest box possible.

Movement is an ephemeral sensory experience, like metaphor, like poetry, like art. It is not known, but it is how we know ourselves. Soft moments of self-reflection give us this knowledge, not hard and fast answers. Ironically, fixed answers will not endure, whereas self-awareness will.

The aesthetics of movement allow us to respond to the world, whereas the mechanics of movement separate us from it.

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Consider that a hundred or more types of painting exist, all of them looking to capture the truth.

A few months ago, at Christie's auction house, a basketball suspended in a water tank sold for $15.3 million dollars. The basketball gradually sinks to the bottom as the combination of distilled and saline water melds. The artist, Jeff Koons, says it represents something about the womb. Does it? Hmmm.

For a very long time, philosophers have debated whether beauty is inherent in a work of art or whether it is a property of the observer. Schiller falls on one side, Kant on the other. Hegel, from what I understand, offers the view that art is beautiful because it gives expression to our freedom.

"Art's purpose, in other words, is to enable us to bring to mind the truth about ourselves, and so to become aware of who we truly are." (courtesy Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

Of course, you can replace the word "art" with the word "movement." Movement gives expression to our freedom, and refining our perception of movement allows us to become aware of who we truly are.