Between Instinctive and Moral Behavior

Lately I am fascinated by the concept of aesthetics. What exactly does it mean? Is it subjective or objective? How important is it?

I already wrote about the view of Kant, Adorno and Bohm in the posts Beauty is Not Just in the Eye of the Beholder and The Worldview of Aesthetics. And that of Ken Robinson in the post From Aesthetics to An-Aesthetics.

While writing those posts, I could not help but think that aesthetics is so much more important in our lives than we might think. And it is so much more than just a passive view on what is beautiful.

The more I thought about it, the more it became clear that it is even essential in our lives. But it is something that has to develop. It is something that has to be consciously recognized. It is a process in each individual.

The more I read about it, the more I saw that reflected in the writings of others. I even found something that goes so much further in the writings of Schiller.

He sees beauty as an essential step between our instinctive nature and our moral behavior.

I found his Letters Upon The Aesthetic Education of Man and was fascinated by what he had to say. It will take some time to fully (if ever) understand what he means, but I know I will certainly try to get a better understanding.

My overall feeling is that he really touched on something essential in our human nature. Something that is so important but not fully understood and valued in our culture.

I want to go through those 27 or so letters that he wrote on that subject and see if I can understand it enough to write some blogposts about it.

So far my understanding is that this essential step has to do with freedom and creativity…

Between instinctive and moral behavior


  1. Annemieke,
    I love your lines of inquiry – about beauty, aesthetics and creativity. As a musician, I recently identified that my driving passion is aesthetic beauty: creating it, expressing it, and sharing it. But beauty is a tricky thing to define. Thank you for expanding on beauty and aesthetics. Your posts are making a big difference for me.

  2. I’m so glad you like my inquiry. Sometimes I wonder if beauty, aesthetics and creativity are actually all that important. But every time I get back to the feeling that, for me, it really very much is.

    And the feeling gets stronger that it is not just for me, but it is something of essential importance in human life in general. But also something so subtle that it can be easily overlooked.

    Which makes me determined to focus on it even more, to understand what people like David Bohm, Ken Robinson, Friedrich Schiller and others have to say about it. Which words they use, compare their meaning with others.

    Somehow I have a feeling that those writings all have a piece of the puzzle I want to solve.

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