Roger Scruton: Why Beauty Matters?

luc

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Didn't know where to put this, but I watched it yesterday and found it to be a very deep, insightful and beautiful reflection on art and beauty by Sir Roger Scruton. It's also one of the most articulate criticisms of postmodern "art" and architecture. Lovely!

 

Pierre

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Didn't know where to put this, but I watched it yesterday and found it to be a very deep, insightful and beautiful reflection on art and beauty by Sir Roger Scruton. It's also one of the most articulate criticisms of postmodern "art" and architecture. Lovely!
Like you, I appreciate Scruton's criticism of postmodernism and the way it attempts to define beauty as a purely subjective preference.

About this topic, Scruton wrote a book titled "Beauty". Here are the last words of this book:

Scruton said:
everything I have said about the experience of beauty implies that it is rationally founded. It challenges us to find meaning in its object, to make critical comparisons, and to examine our own lives and emotions in the light of what we find. Art, nature and the human form all invite us to place this experience in the centre of our lives. If we do so, then it offers a place of refreshment of which we will never tire. But to imagine that we can do this, and still be free to see beauty as nothing more than a subjective preference or a source of transient pleasure, is to misunderstand the depth to which reason and value penetrate our lives. It is to fail to see that, for a free being, there is right feeling, right experience and right enjoyment just as much as right action. The judgement of beauty orders the emotions and desires of those who make it. It may express their pleasure and their taste: but it is pleasure in what they value and taste for their true ideals.
 

luc

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Like you, I appreciate Scruton's criticism of postmodernism and the way it attempts to define beauty as a purely subjective preference.

About this topic, Scruton wrote a book titled "Beauty". Here are the last words of this book:
I have read it, and found it to be a very deep and insightful reflection on beauty. It seems to me that beauty (in art, music, craftmansship etc.) is kind of like morality - there is an objective "beautiful" and "ugly", just as there is an objective "good" and "bad", but we can't really define it, put our finger on it, from where we are; but still, we have glimpses, and we can know something about it and develop our judgement over time.

I found this little rant (if you can call it that, given it's Scruton) about modern pop music priceless:

 

Possibility of Being

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Since this is the only thread with Scruton's name in the title...

Four days ago, on 3 December Sir Roger Scruton received Hungarian state decoration:

Source
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Tuesday presented author and philosopher Sir Roger Scruton with the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, Middle Cross, saying he had “recognised the dangers of illegal migration and protected Hungary from unjust criticism”.
Sir Roger is a member of the Royal Society of Literature and guest professor at The University of Buckingham and Oxford University. President of the Republic Janos Ader bestowed the award which was handed over by Orban.
In his laudation at the ceremony held at the Hungarian embassy in London, Orban said: “Our dear professor taught us that conservatism is not an ideology but rather the polar opposite of one.”

Orban said Sir Roger was a man of action who did not just oppose communist ideology but also acted as a strong ally of anti-communist forces in central and eastern Europe during the communist era. On the other hand, he didn’t support open societies blindly but warned of its errors and dangers, he said.

Orban called Scruton a “friend of freedom-loving Hungarians”, saying the philosopher had recognised that freedom was based on nation states and Christian civilisation.

Sir Roger said Hungary had preserved its precious identity in times when pressure to accept global uniformity and eliminate national differences could be felt everywhere.
That's the good news. But I was quite shocked seeing him in a wheelchair and looking so different from what I remembered from just a year ago when they had the great converation with Jordan Peterson. Unfortunately, it turns out that around mid August he announced in his Scrutopia newsletter a very sad news:
... Other news is not so good, however. Returning from Brazil Sir Roger finally confessed to being unwell and, after a visit to a rheumatologist, was diagnosed with cancer. A near-death experience followed, from which he was rescued by chemotherapy. He is now undergoing a course of treatment and determined to secure the reprieve that is possible. Friends, family and supporters have all offered their prayers, Catholics, Jews and Muslims working overtime and even sceptical Protestants joining in. As has been promised to us, prayers are always heard, even if not in the terms that we, in our ignorance, choose to express them. Roger is now back on his feet and facing the new challenges, confident in all the good will that has been poured out on him, his own faith renewed. Above all, he is grateful for the seventy-five years of joy that have been given to him, and eager if possible to smile on what remains.
And that happens just a bit more than a month after he won a published apology from the New Statesman and then also an apology from the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire following multiple attacks on him, defamations an firing him from his position. More in this newsletter.

I join others with my prayers and hope for his recovery.
 
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luc

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And that happen just a bit more than a month after he won a published apology from the New Statesman and then also an apology from the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire folowing multiple attacks on him, defamations an firing him from his position. More in this newsletter.

I join others with my prayers and hope for his recovery.
I have heard something like that, but didn't know it's that bad... I've read quite a bit by him lately and watched a couple of talks, he's such a magnificent mind and gentle soul. One of the most articulate defenders of what's good, true and beautiful we have... Joining in the prayers.
 

Anthony

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I have heard something like that, but didn't know it's that bad... I've read quite a bit by him lately and watched a couple of talks, he's such a magnificent mind and gentle soul. One of the most articulate defenders of what's good, true and beautiful we have... Joining in the prayers.
I agree, he's one of the few sane voices we still have and I hope he recovers.
 

Tuatha de Danaan

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A published apology from the New Statesman and another from the Sec. of State. These chinless wonders usually disappear into the background when they denigrate their foes.. Such a U-turn is very unusual. Maybe a few with scruples are bucking the trend. Now that could cause mayhem in the chicken-coup.!

Thank you Luc and Possibility of Being for drawing my attention to this gentle man. Spent the evening getting to know him better and I feel richer for the experience.
 

mkrnhr

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Sir Roger Scruton passed away. This is the statement on his website:

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Sir Roger Scruton, FBA, FRSL. Beloved husband of Sophie, adored father to Sam and Lucy and treasured brother of Elizabeth and Andrea, he died peacefully on Sunday 12th January. He was born on 27th February 1944 and had been fighting cancer for the last 6 months. His family are hugely proud of him and of all his achievements.
 

Voyageur

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Sadly and with memory, had read this on SOTT today, mkrnhr, so thank you for bringing it up here.

In an Memoriam by Paul Krause ("having just completed my master’s in philosophy with guidance under Sir Roger in the last year of his teaching.") he ends with this:

Contrary to the leftwing media’s portrait of him, the Roger Scruton that we all came to know was a gentle and humorous man, a man who wouldn’t harm a fly and who was open to all people. Like moths attracted to the flame, students from all continents came together to discuss everything from music and aesthetics to politics and metaphysics with Sir Roger, who seemed to be the incarnate flame of wisdom. His encyclopedic knowledge allowed him to help all in our respective pilgrimages. He was our Virgil through hell and purgatory, and he left us at the top of the mountain, pointing to the light that lay beyond. Befitting a man of such humility, he once revealed to us that instead of being remembered as the world-class philosopher he was, he wished to be remembered as the organist for the small Anglican parish of which he was a member.

Requiescat in pace, Sir Roger Scruton. You will be missed. But your wisdom and love carry on. May you now sing with the chorus of angels and behold the beauty you long sought.
I'm grateful to have heard and read some of your words through the years, Mr. Scuton. May your journey home be swift and assured into the caring arms of those who welcome you.

Rest in Peace...

Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.
- ROGER SCRUTON

 

luc

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Oh this is so very sad. I have grown fond of him by reading his works, and I would have loved to meet this great man one day. Such a gentle soul :-(

Roger, you will be remembered by your words and deeds. Me too, I hope you find true beauty and kindness on the other side.
 
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