Truth, Goodness, Beauty
Philosophy commits its characteristic crime when it dissects the frog, to better understand how it functions, and then expects it to hop. The logic chopping and careful definitions of philosophy, properly used, are auxiliaries, but the analytical bent must remind itself of the synthetic purpose: philosophy is a form of love, and love is what puts things together. Love is in action, and the words that clothe those actions, but words without actions are not love, lacking the heart of commitment. In the same way, the intellectual who analyzes a thing, but who does not in his conclusion therefore change the structure of his own life, is not wise.
We can take an instance of this error, of dissecting a thing and expecting it to function in its dissected form, in the abortive distinction made between truth, goodness, and beauty. These three adjective, or properties, characterize all objects and subjects, in varying degrees, are modes of appreciating and evaluation the same beings. Yet there is no such things a "pure truth" or a "pure beauty" or "pure goodness" that was not also characterized by the other two.
The art work, a supposed purified form, works also on us, accomplishes its task of audience beautification by converting habits and value systems into a healthier more efficient form. Living is the end of art -- aesthetic appreciation merely gives the conscious sign that such an inner integration is taking place.
The supposed contrast between beauty and utility is refuted in the instance of a the well-wrought machine. This apparatus, whose major function is clearly utility, answers that function the better the more simple, powerful, and elegant it runs. Beauty is by nature the visible representation of good living.
The basic act of art is transformation or beautification, but all things are or can be beautiful, just as a physics equation or mathematical proof can be expressed aesthetically, with perfect elegance. All things are by nature formations, they have substance and form, which again are modes of the same thing. Beauty is a form in its optimum conformation, which simplifies a diverse complexity under a balanced system.
Truth and beauty are goods, no doubt, and are good for human action, and the subjective experience of performing those actions, and are not good beyond it.
Since all human thought and action is motivated, ultimately, by the system of needs that grounds all life-forms, it follows that all its values are or should be expressions of what best fulfills those needs. We clearly see this in all forms of art, tools of utility, and formulations of truth. Works of art express relationships, and therefore stipulate truths; they inspire conformity in the appreciator, and thus impress goodness on us. Any mode of philosophy that dissects truth from goodness, goodness from beauty, or duty from goodness has only done half its work, letting us carefully inspect the thing from a given perspective, analytically, but the final synthesis marks the goal of philosophy and is what justifies it as a love of wisdom.
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