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

essay

Aesthetics of Beauty : in an Africana Mode

By Paul Carter Harrison
TH E H EAD
C HORUS / A
36
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 .