By Dietrich von Hildebrand, Robert E. Wood, John F. Crosby, Dana Gioia
Foreword by way of Dana Gioia, Preface through Robert E. wooden, advent by means of John F. Crosby.
Dietrich von Hildebrand understood the centrality of attractiveness now not in simple terms to artwork yet to philosophy, theology, and ethics. In his formidable and complete Aesthetics, now translated into English for the 1st time, Hildebrand rehabilitates the idea that of attractiveness as an aim fairly and in simple terms subjective phenomenon. His systematic account renews the Classical and Christian imaginative and prescient of good looks as a competent mode of conception that leads humanity towards the real, the great, and finally the divine. there's no extra vital factor in our culture--sacred or secular--than the recovery of good looks. and there's no greater position to begin this pressing firm than Dietrich von Hildebrand's Aesthetics. - Dana Gioia | From the Foreword
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2) Where, however, the term “luxury” is applied to things that serve only an exaggerated comfort,9 things that are agreeable but have no inherent value whatever and need not be used from the perspective of usefulness, we are justified in calling them superfluous and in speaking of luxury. Many “beauty products,” chairs, carpets, etc. are neither beautiful nor necessary for our daily lives. In other words, they have no inherent aesthetic value and they are superfluous from the practical perspective of achieving goals, that is to say, they are a sheer luxury, especially when they are also expensive.
The opposite is true: culture as a whole (in contrast to civilization) is “superfluous” in this sense, as is beauty. Beauty is a pure gift, a superfluity (literally, an “overflowing”) in the highest sense of the word. ” Something that is “superabundant” in this sense clearly possesses a high value and is not in any sense a luxury. It is not at all acceptable to apply the term “luxury” to everything that is superfluous in the sense of superabundant; it reveals a blindness to values, a purely utilitarian attitude, a radical philistinism.
9. We should note that the superfluity that entitles us to speak of “luxury” does not begin with those things that are given up in a life governed by a vow of poverty (for example, in the case of a hermit who leads a life of penance and who restricts himself to those things necessary for sheer survival). The distinction between a normal life and a life led in holy poverty (or the life of a penitent) is very different from the distinction between the presence and absence of luxury, but we shall not discuss this any further here.