NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 39


Aesthetics of Beauty : in an Africana Mode

By Paul Carter Harrison
ALL EVENTS OF LARGE significance take place within the setting of some culture and indeed derive their significance from the culture in which they find themselves .
It could therefore happen , and does indeed happen , that the same event , occurring as it were between the frontiers of two different cultures , should be invested with differing significance , with different capacities for determining the direction of policies arising therefrom …. The writing of the history of one culture from the milieu of another culture , which is not — relevant to the events and situations concerned — isomorphic , raises serious questions of cultural bias and distortion …. In terms of objectivity , where it touches evaluation of facts and events , a cultural alien can only offer an alternative set of prejudices .
( W . E . Abraham , The Mind of Africa , 11 )
Aesthetically , beauty is a spiritually induced arousal of the senses that is a stretch of the collective imagination . An armchair view of aesthetics is satisfied with the universally accepted conjecture that beauty is in the eyes of the Beholder , despite its dependence upon the particular cultural filters that resonate the senses of the Beholder to discern that which is beautiful . In the construction of Beauty , aesthetics , in the most modest appraisal — and limited possibility for forensic investigation — is the opposite of anesthetic : the former turns-you-on ; the latter turns-you-off . In fact , it actually numbs the senses to anything that is alien to personal experience or does not offer immediate gratification . In popular American culture , the analgesic effect of dumbing-down is designed to diminish the apprehension of quality experiences or expression .