MIND AND HEGEL ON AESTHETICS
Even after the publication in 2 volumes, Hegel's lectures on Aesthetics, this is a `zone' of Hegel's philosophy that has remained as marginal as it was before once the contrast is made with logic, law, religion, history and phenomenology.This area of Hegel's philosophical system remains the obscurest even when compared with his Philosophy of Nature mainly because of the renewed interest in the latter from the last quarter of 20th c.from the side of scientists. There is hardly any comparable interest from the side of artists and critics towards Hegel's philosophy of aesthetics.Even in works that treat Hegel's philosophy comprehensively, aesthetics is mostly mentioned as illustrating or exemplifying some argument or the other in the field of history, psychology or Philosophy of mind. It appears as an adjunct, if not subordinated to discursiveness or interpretation or argumentation in some field where aesthetics is a part or as co-belonging and very rarely in the sense where aesthetics happens to be the subject of inquiry and the natural sciences or logic is summoned to illustrate , exemplify, etc.However, in the framework of Hegel's philosophical system such is not the case.It is a free subject on its own with the advantage of the `mind's eye'. In the introductory part Hegel spends considerable time to delineate the boundary conditions for a systematic presentation and exposition of aesthetics.
This does not mean that Hegel's aesthetic ideas has been bereft of influence in the field of aesthetics in latter periods.His ideas have had deep effects in architecture, painting , poetry to say the least in terms of externalization by the respective practitioners.In many instances it worked out in a radical, revolutionary sense both in specific fields and in the domain of theory, Even Croce's critical dose of Hegel in his art theory such as articulated in La Critica[1903-1944] proved too radical for general acceptance while it stood ground as the most consistent anti-fascist mouthpiece, all the way to the fall of Mussolini unlike other pre-figured post-modern trends like futurism and the more autonomous though in the service of the powers that were then, trends like expressionism, which was the art form of Italian fascism.Arnold Hauser was deeply indebted to Hegel in his explanation of pre-historic such as in the Paleolithic age's direct experience of nature that makes the boundary between natural facts and representation just a stage above un-differentiation.Merleau-Ponty's dialectic of the seer and the seen in the visible world as well as his notion of the `brute, wild lebensweltas the plane where he finds that meaning of philosophy can be precisely inserted is another Hegelian inspiration, which makes it possible for meaning to get externalized. These are few instances, the latter two being historian and `phenomenologist' and philosopher, of Hegel's influence from aesthetics. We will consider some practitioners of `art' who would self-consciously develop Hegel's notions later. Here the main point being made is that of relative insignificance of Hegel for art theorists and philosophers, if we were to take a count.
Since the point of departure or this piece is a discussion on the entry on the theme of `Art' and Hegel, not aesthetics, it should have been clarified that Hegel retained the `name,aesthetics' justified mainly due to the fact that the name had entered common language even though Hegel uses the terms aesthetics#, art, artistic, fine art interchangeably in many places. What has to be kept in mind is that the subject covered by aesthetic is the realm of beautifulwhile the `province' of fine arts is restricted to particularity. Aesthetics excludes natural beauty not to be understood in terms of aesthetic limitation. Hegel asserts that artistic beauty stands higher than nature. "For the beauty of art is the beauty that is born and born again, that is, of the mind".[ Aesthetics, v.1, # ii ]. Mind's products are `higher' than nature including the beauty of its appearance. That is so because of a distinction between mind and nature.. Only mind is capable of truth and comprehending all of that in itself, meaning that the beautiful can only be truly beautiful by partaking in the creativity of this higher element.Then again, the realm of nature is hardly arrayed according to beauty; it is too vague a concept to deal with and minus the criterion.
Hegel makes these distinctions to situate aesthetics as something eminently suited to scientific inquiry because its products are those of mind, before all else.Again, it can only be grasped from the standpoint of science what is meant, not signified when Hegel , speaking of poetry at the highest form of art having freed itself from all sort of `external sensual matter' - just as `Science of Logic' too is freed from sensuousness, which it presupposed in phenomenology - `expatiates exclusively in inner space andinner time', is also the `phase', the highest one, following music, where `art ends'.[ Ibid., [cxiv] iii']Just as aesthetics had earlier `transcended' earlier mediums like sculpture, architecture, painting and similar embodiments of sensuous forms in `mind', so too does it passes over from the freest form of embodiment in poetry `into prose of thought. Even though, among the Surrealists Breton picked up this moment defending Hegel in a polemical vein for having rescued poetry from the `disdain of the prosaic spirit', the deeper moment was missed, which incidentally was not even need mention in that polemical tract written in the `pro-fascist' climate of 1932[ Breton, a., Poverty of Poetry : The Aragon Affair Before Public Opinion]. Nevertheless, in other few references to Hegel, the deeper moment was missed.Poetry takes up the dull, abstract universality of the prose of everyday world, such as the Roman world characterized by Hegel only to recast them with its own seal and wrench the prose of the world from its immediacy by passing them into inner time of ideas and feelings.This happens, since it can only happen in mind.The prose of `thought', like the science of logic can claim a distance beyond the limit of poetic imagination. This can be considered paradoxically.
Starting with `Idea of post-Hegelian Art' Robbert A Veen has clearly put an imaginary horse before the cart because one would have expected if or whether there was/is something known as `Hegelian art.'