Vicarious Explorations into Genius: Hymn to Intellectual Beauty Analyzed
It has become commonplace to assert that artistic beauty is relative existing only in the eye of the beholder.
This abused statement has become almost a parody in our modern age, as everything we are told, from a toilet bowl, to random ink splattering, to even pornography or the drinking of blood… becomes (we are told) art. With this, we are told that everything- regardless of its ugliness, has claim to the title ‘Beauty’, while anyone questioning the authority of this relativistic view labelled ‘heretics’, ‘authoritarians’ devoid of ‘sophistication’ with views that should not be tolerated in today’s liberal order.
This loss of any principled standard of Beauty in society may have more to do with the loss of those cultural standards which any society requires to judge truthful or dishonest ideas, the ugliness of lies and the beauty of truth.
It is not a coincidence that the greatest artists and scientists throughout human history have understood that Beauty, Truth, Goodness and the highest order of Freedom are not only interconnected, but provide the soul the most natural and effective pathway to attain wisdom.
In this Rising Tide Foundation study group, the beautiful poem Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, authored by Percy Bysshe Shelley is evaluated as we strived re-discover the mind, intention and ideas of the immortal author by unpacking his composition and choice of rich metaphors and ironies.