Beauty and Truth

Truth is the object of reason and beauty is the object of love.  Or such is claimed in some philosophy.  In this sense, we can know truth and beauty through reason and love.  But how do we ever know we know?  Is it not the case that each person has a different idea of truth and beauty?  These concepts are formed by the individual according to the individual’s experiences.  It seems logical that there is an underlying truth to reason, that we can only imperfectly know.  Might the same be the case with beauty?  There is a universal beauty (whether one associates this with God or not is another matter), that can only be subjectively experienced.  This sounds much like Balthasar.


  1. After finding your site yesterday, I grabbed Kierkegaard with coffee this morning (Postscript pt 2, ch. 2) to find his definition of truth as subjectivity:

    “an objective uncertainty, held fast in an appropriation of the most passionate inwardness, is the truth, the highest truth attainable for an existing individual.”

    In case you hadn’t heard it. I missed the first incarnation of your blog so I don’t know.

    Anyway I bring it up because my understanding is that SK is referring to truths that can be ‘lived’ and saying that here subjectivity is really what matters. Objectivity controls the rules for distinguishing the beauty perceived in a thing, but subjectivity controls the mode of our actual appropriation of the value-mystery, our true being-in-relation to beauty-as-true. Maybe abstracts like ‘relativity’ don’t apply here because we’re not doing a number on anyone else’s head.

    The idea is not to attain certainty but do attain a kind of validation in experiencing an increasing likeness to ultimate value. I might apply this to beauty by suggesting the highest human art to be the harmonization, in an individual, of the whole spectrum of one’s spiritual and animal heritage. Comic and tragic both.

    Blaise Pascal thought God and the things of God must be loved in order to be known in truth. This suggests an approach to highest reality through beauty rather than truth (re: the opening line of your post).

    Anyway, I benefitted from my AM re-reading of SK in ways that cannot be put into blog comments. And from the blog. Thanks for the occasion to grow.

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