Biological roots

Beauty needs to be explored without the baggage of art, self expression etc and needs to be seen as a biological aspect that helps in the most appropriate living. This means spending of least energy is ensured by the body in all aspects of engagement. It relates to all senses and actions of the body. The way the dog sleeps by cleaning the space, sensing the direction and curling itself to lie down are prompted by this internal need and the result is beauty in every sense. To itself and to the onlooker. This is applicable to everything in life. The way flower blossoms and takes its most appropriate shape is both for itself and the insect that comes to pollinate. So our eyes are designed for seeing aesthetically which means what we see as beautiful is a configuration of appropriateness where the eye spends least energy and so it is pleasing to the eye. This is also true of listening, tasting, feeling, smelling, movement and even thinking and language. This is true not just for individuals but for everything in life and in relation to each other. So simultaneously the individual and the collective is being in beauty un self consciously and automatically in every action. the way the flock of birds fly in organization is the best example where the co ordination is happening automatically. Children also function like this so also the tribal and rural people who have not been 'individuated'.

To use a metaphor of hunger and food would make it clear the distinction that is being made. Beauty like hunger is biological whereas food and Art are the responses to satisfy this biological need. But modernity has turned both food and art to satisfy the mind and have neglected the body. Beauty that belongs to the realm of the body cannot be understood by the mind alone. But it can be observed if one were to look afresh, with sensitivity and also by discarding or with holding various ideas created by mind. Anthropocentrism has masked us from seeing the existential basis of total life and its connection with human life. The attempt is to understand beauty experientially within the existential need for the sustenance of life itself, very much like centrality of knowledge and conduct for survival of life. Beauty is located within our being as the organizing or ordering or compositional principle of life. Beauty is that which helps in establishing the pace and rhythm in our actions and the organization or 'composition' in our lives. Art, which originally meant skill, became a mental activity just as what happened with knowledge when humanity took to the 'modernity' route. Even theory originally meant experience. Art can also be used as aptness. Aesthetic experience reminds and connects one to the order inherent in life. But as our shifts to the product or performance this crucial aspect gets masked. In the case of rural tribal non literate communities it appears that the 'vernacular aesthetics' is not just about materials but about something in the being-ness of the people. They are continuously responding to materials that come in their way, both aesthetically and innovating new ways of doing. In a way, doing minimum or a feeling of letting things be with no effort to control. We miss this because we are trained to see the product or at best the method of making but never the people behind and their ‘effortless’ action. Nor do we have any experiential reference to understand due to our regimented ‘schooling’. Above all this, is it possible for us to imbibe these qualities and also enable the students that we engage with to acquire ‘indigenous-ness’? Is it possible to work with the ‘vernacular’ with total respect to initiate a new way of engaging with them? This then is no longer a part time nor an egoistic activity called art but present every second of our lives and guides us in everything we do. Breathing is not a choice, likewise learning is not a choice. Beauty also exists within our being with the same kind of choice-lessness.