December 18, 2007

Moral Emotion

I spoke about how there is a concept of moral emotion floating around. My paper focuses partly on this concept, which provides an illustration why art, or in this case images, affect us the way we do.

While much of this semester has focused so much on the technical aspect of why images tell the story they do, I feel when we look at images, even when we try to keep it in the technical aspect, it more than likely has a sort of undertone that makes us talk about how we feel about the image and its ramifications.

That is because like so many of our discussions demonstrate, images are our lives. Symbols and images were what we used to communicate in the old days, they continue to be so. They become more dangerous because of our technical progression, and likewise we feel compelled to celebrate and dismiss at the same time.

Any way you slice it, and perhaps this keeps it too simple, but we are always already responding to images because we have been trained to do so. Sometimes this is our of necessity, other times because we live in a world that encourages it.

Do you think this idea makes what we did all semester seem too simple? Or, are we making it too difficult by asking the technical questions behind meaning, representation, denotation and connotation, and the like? Are we missing the point: that images are what we make them to be, both good and bad. We need them and loathe them. Further, are we dismissing the fact that they always touch at our very emotions, and in efforts to forgo this, we decide to pull them apart with academic terms and ideas? Are we too afraid of how we relate to them, so we attempt to stop it under the guise of "understanding" them?

Is it possible to say that for once, we can say they are aesthetically pleasing, whether or not our ideas of aesthetically pleasing align with the person sitting next to us? Can that be enough?

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