Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Ecology vs Aesthetics
Beauty will save the world”. This celebrated claim by Dostoyevsky uniting
aesthetic and ethical aspects finds its roots in the Greek principle that beauty
coincides with goodness [1]. In the Greek world, “beautiful” and “good” are
so indissoluble that a term exists to describe both concepts: kalokagathòs ,
beautiful and good ”.
The union between the aesthetic and ethical planes would in part only come
with Christianity, since this Greek mentality becomes undone through the
expression of the idea of Good (and therefore True) in two ways: an interior
way, for which the subject is posed as “good,” and an exterior way, for which
the subject is qualified as “beautiful.” Here, naturally, the concept of beauty is
much wider than its everyday meaning: the Greeks inserted the characteristics
of harmony, symmetry, and eurythmics (exact and proportional rhythm) in this
group. Even when one speaks of physical beauty one deals with interior beau-
ty that is presented in the exterior image ( eikone ); it is beauty that reveals the
interior superior order . It is enough to think of the Greek heroes; Achilles, an
example for all, is handsome on the exterior, but is equipped at the same time
with excellent moral qualities.
Kosmosand Techne
Kosmos refers to an ordered, harmonious world, gifted with justice; this har-
mony has both metaphysical worth (the world is structured according to a
mathematical order) and aesthetic and sensible worth (the world is beautiful
precisely because it is ordered). It is the idea of justice that presents itself as
the ideal form of beauty. As Aristotle says in his Poetics :
What is beautiful, whether an animal or any other thing composed of parts,
should not only have its parts ordered and in their place, but also have a size
that cannot be casual; beauty, in fact, is in the size and order of the parts [2].
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