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it would be difficult for us to understand the history of the influence of mysticism on æsthetics. If it were true that mysticism tended to make one indifferent to art, as Santayana says, or that it endeavored to kill out the world of sense, as Eucken implies, then how are we to account for the fact that it was a mystical philosopher who first studied the problem of æsthetics and placed it upon an enduring basis? As an historical survey will show, mystic philosophers have assigned an important place to æsthetics in their systems.

It is a singular fact that the Greeks, superior as they were in artistic achievement, did not assign an important place to art in their philosophic works. The case against art was maintained by no less a thinker than the greatest artist among the philosophers, Plato. Proceeding upon the assumption that art was imitative, Plato barred all artists from his ideal state. The founders of his "Republic" must be men of constructive genius, not mere imitators. And thus the Platonists were never able to identify Beauty with Art. They clearly distinguished the artistic fact, mimetic from its content, from Beauty. And yet, strangely, it was Plato who started the whole question of mystic æsthetics— though unconsciously-in his discussion of the relation of Beauty to the Good. It was his disciple, the founder of Neo-Platonism, who was the father of mystic æsthetics in the full sense.

Plotinus (A. D. 204-270), an Egyptian by birth, native of Lycopolis, lived and studied under Ammonius Saccas in Alexandria at a time when that city was the centre of the intellectual world, filled with teachers and schools of philosophies of all kinds, Platonic and Oriental, Egyptian and Christian. He was a fellow pupil of Origen, and hence, it has been thought that he was largely influenced by Christian thought. Later, from the age of forty, he labored in Rome, where he founded a school, having, among his followers the most eminent citizens of Rome. He drew the form of his thought both from Plato and from Hermetic philosophy, but its real inspiration was his own experience, for his biographer, Porphyry, has recorded that during the six years he lived with Plotinus, the latter attained four times to ecstatic union with "the One."

Plotinus's writings were arranged by his pupil, Porphyry, and published in six "Enneads." These Enneads are the primary and classical documents of Neo-Platonism. From these we learn that Plotinus was able to identify, as none of his predecessors had done, Beauty and Art. With him the beautiful and art were dissolved together in a passion and mystic elevation of the spirit. With him the beauty of natural objects was the archetype existing in the soul, which is the foundation of all natural beauty. Thus was Plato, he said, in error when he despised the arts for imitating nature, for nature herself imitates the idea, and art also seeks her inspiration directly from those ideas whence nature proceeds. We have here, with Plotinus and with Neo-Platonism, the first appearance of mystical æsthetics, destined to play so important a part in later æsthetic theory.

To quote from Plotinus: "If anyone condemns the arts because they create by way of imitation from nature, first we must observe that natural things are an imitation of something further (that is, of underlying reasons or ideas), and next we must bear in mind that the arts do not simply imitate the visible, but go back to the reasons from which nature comes; and, further, that they create much out of themselves, and add to that which is defective, as being in themselves things of beauty, since Pheidias did not create his Zeus after any perceived pattern, but made him such as he would if Zeus deigned to appear to mortal eyes."

And so a portrait is not the mere image of an image and no more, as Plato had said it was, unless it be the mere imitation of the features, and no more, but instead, as Plotinus said, it is symbolic of something behind the visible.

Plotinus also contested the theory that Beauty consisted in the material form or in symmetry. "Beauty," he declared, "is rather a light that plays over the symmetry of things than the symmetry itself, and in this consists its charm. For why is the light of beauty rather in the living face and only a trace of it in the dead, though the countenance be not yet disfigured in the

'Bosanquet, History of Esthetic, p. 113.

symmetry of its substance? And why are more life-like statues the more beautiful? . . ."8

Plotinus, by including æsthetics in his philosophy, brought the beautiful into sympathy with the interests of mystical contemplation. Mystical æsthetics becomes at once fundamentally religious. The artistic temper is allowed to pervade the whole of life and the pathway is paved for the spiritual art of the Middle Ages.

From the time of Plotinus on, whatever there was of mystic æsthetics was also Christian. Spiritual life had been deepened by the new religion, and art was turned into new pathways from those which it had followed during the degeneracy of the latter days of the ancient world. As Rudolf Eucken expresses it, the founder of Christianity, like all founders of the historical religions, had made a powerful impression upon the imaginations of people. By the transformation of human existence which he was able to effect, art took a new place in life, as symbolic of spiritual truths. That there is much of mysticism in Christianity we know, and hence it could not help but follow that Christian mysticism had a great effect on art.

And so, throughout the Middle Ages, Art went on its way, a part of the religious life of the centuries, but no philosopher of mystic art arose. Throughout the long list of philosophers who discussed the problem of art during this time, there is scarcely one who renewed the Neo-Platonistic discussion. Aristotle was the leading authority in philosophy for the Middle Ages, and as he was a mere echo of Plato, as far as his æsthetics is concerned, it is not to be wondered at that the subject was so long forgotten.9

The Renaissance, revolting as it did from the mysticism of the former age, continued to ignore the aesthetics of the school of Plotinus, and was perhaps too busy with art itself to find time in metaphysical abstractions concerning art. Possibly we find in

Bosanquet, History of Esthetic, p. 116.

"In Bosanquet's History of Æsthetic, chap. vi, on "Some Traces of the Continuance of the Esthetic Consciousness Throughout the Middle Ages," the subject is fully discussed.

Sir Philip Sidney's Defence of Poesie the chief discussion of the subject during that period, though there are traces of Neo-Platonic thinking in the poet Spenser, in Marsilio Ficino, and in Baldassare Castiglione. ·

With Winckelmann (1764) Neo-Platonism was renewed. Winckelmann held that perfect beauty is to be found only with God and the conception of beauty becomes the more perfect in proportion as it can be thought as in agreement with the Supreme Being. But there is little of the mystic in Winckelmann, who hopelessly involved himself in his vain attempt to define Beauty.

Kant had a tendency to mysticism, but it was a mysticism without enthusiasm, against the grain, and hence no mysticism in the true sense at all. He maintained that to understand Art, a special psychic capacity was needed, "Urteilskraft." Kant was uncertain as to what Beauty was, he could not solve the problem, and hence he believed that a mysterious power, which he himself did not possess, was needed to understand it.

The so-called Romanticism of the beginning of the nineteenth century included a natural revival of the mystic æstheticism of Neo-Platonism; in this latter period the names of Schelling and of Solger are conspicuous.

Schelling, Solger, and also Hegel were all mystical æstheticians. Schelling forced upon art the abstract Platonic ideas. "For him, as for Solger, Beauty belongs to the region of Ideas, which are inaccessible to common knowledge. Art is nearly allied to religion, for as religion is the abyss of the idea, into which our consciousness plunges, that it may become essential, so Art and the Beautiful resolve in their way, the world of distinctions, the universal and the particular. Art must touch infinity and cannot have ordinary nature for its object, but ideas."10 Through the creative activity of the artist, the absolute reveals itself in perfect identity of subject and artist. Thus Schelling places himself among the mystics in believing that art is higher than philosophy.

Hegel reduced Art to the concrete idea. The Beautiful he

10 Croce, Esthetic, p. 305. Translated by Douglas Ainslie.

defined as the sensible appearance of the Idea. These three philosophers, Schelling, Solger, and Hegel, were all opposed to the intellectualistic view, and also (herein being inconsistent as mystics) to the moralistic view. Art must serve neither a moralistic nor a philosophic purpose. Art must be free, with Hegel even free from religion. In this respect Hegel differed from Schelling, for with him Art was inferior to, even if free from, religion and philosophy, and hence in the Hegelian system Art could not satisfy our highest needs.

Schopenhauer viewed Schelling and Hegel as charlatans. "He was," says Bosanquet11, "prima facie a mystic," and, in contrast to Hegel, represented the mystic tendency to give a plain answer to a plain question, impatient and even disdainful of the circuitous approaches to systematic thought. Why this should be called a mystic tendency does not seem clear. Nor is it clear why Schopenhauer has been called a mystic. He was profoundly influenced by ancient Indian philosophy, it is true, and seemed to reflect much that was found in Plotinus, but he drew most from classical thought, was unable to understand the art of the Middle Ages, recurring to classical æsthetic entirely for his arguments. There are, however, mystic elements in his æsthetics.

Beauty, with Schopenhauer, has two sides-first, it frees us from the will to live, our greatest vice; second, it fills our minds with an "idea." "The artist lends us his eyes to look through."12 The artist genius can understand the half-uttered speech of nature and so produce what she desired to produce but failed.

What mysticism there was in Schopenhauer was accidental, the result of his revolt against life, the result of his pessimism, strange to say. He welcomed suspension of thought, through Art, for with Schopenhauer "The Art-consciousness demands that we should regard the object presented, apart from its why, its wherefore, its how, and its when. In doing so, we approach the pure Platonic idea, the ideal type of the object considered in it

"Croce, Esthectic, p. 363.

12This expression of Schopenhauer's has been seized upon by all students of his works. Belfort Box discusses it and Caldwell in Schopenhauer's System in Its Philosophical Significance, p. 254.

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