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love of the day
9.29 & 10.31, 2009 | 4.10. 2011 | 8.25.2017


All kinds of love—such valuing—share kindredness with a thriving in the day, maybe even ambitiously (for the artistic mind, at least). The book Everyday Aesthetics (as reviewed online) could be read to basically address a potential for wholehearted valuing of the day, generally in terms of lived space, especially through diverse acts of appreciating.

love of enacting value

Governing Saito’s aesthetic is the act of appreciation, which isn’t subjectivist because the appreciating is oriented by the other itself (which is the beginning of all phenomenology) or by some thing (derivative of being with others). One endeavors to open to another’s ownmost presence, ideally in a dissolved difference between one’s opening and the other’s presence, “forgetting” oneself in the presence of another’s presencing.

One can only be whom one is. Lovely. The thing is itself, truly.

It’s often not easy being sensitive, attuned to presence, but we may so value that: being in time, “sensitivity to the temporal aspect of experience” (qualities of growth, transience, aging, decay)—“the” quality of life embodied in wholly experiencing place, others, and things—even welcoming feelings of discomfort along with comfort as opportunities for attention to appreciate the reality of things. Saito would “…aestheticize the evanescence of aged objects.” Aging becomes us, patinas of time.

Saito notes “the character of rocks” (integral to Japanese gardens, of course)—the character, the character of the thing, vase of personification. Evidently throughout Saito’s aesthetic, the presence of things tends to be understood interpersonally. Integral to lived space is a primacy of impersonation we as children give to things, and the enchantment may remain through the years.

Saito rightly includes relations with other persons as part of her aesthetic, but it’s not evident from the review that interpersonal presence should be considered primary.
Yet, her view warrants giving personal value (personalizations, personifications) primary importance, or at least equal importance.

So, “a search for the extraordinary in the ordinary” is not a loss of “the dimension of personal engagement,” inasmuch as interpersonal meaning may be the beginning of appreciation then given to things, too, granting their bearing. (But I’ll later show how, to my mind, the origin of appreciation—any potential for high appreciation—is individuational, then brought to interpersonal life.)

Make one a thing of reverence, in a spirit of wabi: celebrating one’s imperfection, one’s insufficiency, one’s dishevelment. (imperfection: Learning never ends. insufficiency: Later fulfillments are portended by its presence. dishevelment: Creativity is bricolagic.)

But is an emphasis on the ordinariness of the ordinary itself a finding of extraordinariness? —thus an irony? Was that the reverence in tromp l’œil art? Outside the museum, does it transfer to seeing “you”?

For appreciative sensibility, the ordinary ordinary (of busy dailiness) is a fallen condition of splendid simplicity. An “ecstatic quotidian” prevails in the multisensory potential of all experience to be special, as if one has one more day after surviving near death.

Maybe, then, the extraordinary is born from a retrieval of each other (things) from ordinariness—born from a re-placed ordinary, in acts of recontextualizing, [re]emplacing—en-site-ing: ensiting.

One is gifted by the other themselves, the thing itself—by given presence of finding integrity and singularity in virtue of merely their being.

Something or another unwittingly aspires to affect a life—or to facilitate a life’s fruitfulness. A “quintessential character” may belong not only to Saito’s things but to vignettes, the little dramas of each day. The extraordinary event can imply the so-called lifeworld it evinces.

Though artful noticing, active sensitivity, giving in to habitation, artful perception, indwelling—though all this endeavors to appreciate the other’s, the thing’s ownmost potential, it’s relative to a life which is aspirational—which defines itself through projects, implying perhaps the Project of one’s life, expressing an implicit theory of gardening by one’s way of living—or a multicharacter flourishing as one’s life.

Sundry qualities of experience may conspire toward apparently irresolvable tension that may become generative, bearing anewed order, figuration, or design from ephemerality. Disorder in an assemblage of things, others, events, and places may portend immanent chances for valuable, insighted bricolage or hybridity belonging to the new “thing,” yet
for one’s life as a gardening whose fulfillings call for more gardening, more exploration, never reaching a final horizon by endlessly growing (as death never learns of its own happening).

As enactive appreciation, a life continually designs itself—which might be the primordial point of Japanese “garden theorists….[W]e may say that a piece of good design shows ‘care’,” no matter how relatively simple the landscape. Care belongs to our humanity.
The gardening is always an ethic (albeit ultimately tropical in conception).

“It really has to do with how we ought to live our lives.”

So says the reviewer. The most salient importance of Saito’s interpersonalization of things
to me is for bridging domains of ethical and aesthetic appreciation in valuing things as others and persons as arts.

To say that there are “ethical advantages and disadvantages” to an aesthetic of appreciation is to appropriately find kindredness between the two, ethical and aesthetic (both being matters of valuation in how one lives). Valuations of “kind consideration” find “admirable people” showing to the finder “moral qualities” which are a matter of social importance. “People are judged both in moral and aesthetic terms” because the domains of valuing constitute the difference in the first place. There are “moral-aesthetic judgments” (ambiguous as kind of judgment) because we are creatures of value tending to rely on a synergy of differences “shaped” (i.e., residually unshaped, thereby implicitly framed)
by our individuations.

But differences between ethical importance and aesthetic importance are real. Yet, it’s a difficult art to navigate a clear sense of important differences. (A difference in philosophy may be regarded as “a term of art.”)

To know how well Saito parses differences, I would have to go to her book, of course (here on my desk). It would be unfair to Saito’s large project, her book, to pretend to fully appreciate her views by my playing through a mere review of her book (since this short discussion has been less about her appealing book than an occasion for rendering my own view, inspired by a few spots in a review). Yet, the philosophical review caused me to include the book in the future of my Project. The review was useful for thinking about an interpersonality of things (the “aesthetic”) and an artfulness of self vis-à-vis (irt) real persons (the “ethical”). But the potential of appreciation born from individuation, then brought to interpersonal life.



  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis