Reason Analyzes the Creation of Beauty From Outside; a Higher Insight Is Required to Grasp the Inner Sense

The power of the intellectual reason is based on its essential ability to analyze, to break down into component parts, and to categorize.  These powers can help the viewer of a work of art to pay more attention to the details and see the external form and the elements of its creation.  This power of fragmentation has been instrumental in much of the reshaping of the outer world of life and matter, but one thing it cannot do is to create and infuse a deeper spirit or sense into what it tries to create.  Such action comes from a different power, whether one calls it inspiration, intuition, spiritual light or psychic insight.

Sri Aurobindo notes:  “The business of the intellect is to analyse the elements, parts, external processes, apparent principles of that which it studies and explain their relations and workings; in doing this it instructs and enlightens the lower mentality which has, if left to itself, the habit of doing things or seeing what is done and taking all for granted without proper observation and fruitful understanding.  But as with truth of religion, so with the highest and deepest truth of beauty, the intellectual reason cannot seize its inner sense and reality, not even the inner truth of its apparent principles and processes, unless it is aided by a higher insight not its own.  As it cannot give a method, process or rule by which beauty can or ought to be created, so also it cannot give to the appreciation of beauty that deeper insight which it needs; it can only help to remove the dullness and vagueness of the habitual perceptions and conceptions of the lower mind which prevent it from seeing beauty or which give it false and crude aesthetic habits: it does this by giving to the mind an external idea and rule of the elements of the thing it has to perceive and appreciate.  What is farther needed is the awakening of a certain vision, an insight and an intuitive response in the soul.  Reason which studies always from outside, cannot give this inner and more intimate contact; it has to aid itself by a more direct insight springing from the soul itself and to call at every step on the intuitive mind to fill up the gap of its own deficiencies.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle: The Psychology of Social Development, Chapter 14,  The Suprarational Beauty, pp. 141-142

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