Take these lines from a very old poem, “without why” (1) :
“The rose is without why; It blooms because it blooms
It cares not for itself, asks not if it is seen”
Now Darwinism has of course revealed the eminently selfish purpose behind the rose’s boisterous bloom or the peacock’s dashingly colored plumes: mere stratagems to attract bees or mates and ensure reproduction.
So there goes the consoling metaphor of the disinterestedly, solitarily blooming rose.
Shall we then turn to Walter Benjamin for poetic justice? Benjamin who wanted to salvage the intrinsic meaning and significance of all human “thought things”, save them from the need to be validated by either usefulness or public acclaim.
So let’s descend to a worldlier philosophy – let’s hear what the eminent Mr. Hegel has to say on the matter.
This call to another human sensibility is inherent in a work of art. Maybe that’s why I can contentedly roam about art galleries on my own but shrink back from solitary nature walks.
notes without why
(1) Angelus Silesius, 1657, “Ohne Warum” (as quoted in English by Hannah Arendt in “Men in dark times”)
(2) Walter Benjamin, The Task of the Translator”: “For example, one could speak of an unforgettable life or moment even if all men had forgotten them. If the nature of such a life or moment required that it not be forgotten, that predicate would not contain a falsehood but merely a claim that is not being fulfilled by men, and perhaps also a reference to a realm in which it is fulfilled: God’s remembrance”
(3) and here I shun all Darwinian references – this is about aesthetic sensibilities, about intimations of the sublime, no less. Don’t anyone dare to point out that art is just another evolutionary ruse to advertise one’s genes to potential mates.