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Research: Iran
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The Beautiful Sufferings

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Philosophy
 
By: Farzaneh Kouchak Khani & Bahman Bazargani, Iran

This thesis is a library research, which concentrates on the representation of sufferings in different cultures from the point of view of aesthetics.

A) The period of polytheism (paganism, or The period in which myths were dominant)
In this period, suffering was an affliction, which originated from the powerful, malicious and frightening powers. So, whoever was suffering from any disease or any mal-function, and if he or she was afflicted by any misfortune, and was in a bad situation, that was a sign from the gods and demons that every one should avoid he or she. In such a culture, any kind of suffering was a bad sign and was seen very close to ugliness.

B) The period of monotheist religions (especially Christianity):
In this period any kind of misfortune and suffering, as illness, poverty, was a sign from the heaven that he or she, which was inflicted by such suffering is chosen by the heaven and these misfortunes are some kind of ordeal. How ever could suffer and do not lose her or his faith in god, would come out of the ordeal as a faithful for whine the way to the heaven is paved and open. In this period suffering was seen as beautiful and a way to be close to heaven. Contrary to the suffering, anyone who was cheerful and happy, (here we mean worldly happiness, joyful life and regarding life as beautiful), was regarded as not a healthy way of life, and physic, body, matter, sex, were such a mean things which were very close to be regarded as ugly.

C) Renaissance brought a new era which gave way to a special kind of pluralism. We mean a special kind of pluralism, because it was pluralism without a background for a theory of pluralism as we have nowadays. Practically, there was pluralism, but there was a background with a theory of unity. It was for granted that the whole universe including man is a unified organism, which if we go through the heart of it all the superficial differences and contradictions will perish and we will reach the truth. Nowadays we believe in the possibility of being a plurality of truths, but at that time there was not a chance for such pluralism. Actually there were competing doctrines and theories to win the truth at the end. Likewise the competing champions each with a hope to win the golden prize at the final game. There were skeptic, relativism and the advocates of multiculturalism, we may remember Montaigne and Charon. There were founders of the new doctrines totally focused upon the realistic measures without any respect to the morals, religion and the aristocratic tradition and the chivalric ambitions, we may recall Machiavellian.

There were also the advocates of the new trends in scientific explorations and research without a shared plan as appeared at the 17th century with Descartes, me may recall Galilee, Bruno, Kepler. Among such a chaos we observe quite different, even opposed, approach dealing with problems like pleasure and suffering. Where as the medieval approach toward exaltation of the sacred suffering remains intact within the monastery communities as well as among many of the poor, even the middle class, whom Max Weber has explored their austerity combined with their religious beliefs, at the same time within the courts as well as Vatican, the members of upper class and elites were indulging in joyful life. 

D) Reason era With the 17th century, a meta-narration rules-out all the other competing narrations, which were present every where all over the 16th century. This meta-narration was a special coin stamped and introduced any where, in which you could exchange the Ideas, old and new.
Reason, as Descartes coined it, was a gift from the god to the man. It was his essence of humanity and the only common substance which could link the human being the to supreme realm of the God and a red-line distinguishing the man from the beast. There was nothing similar to Reason throughout the world. We know that this kind of degradation of the nature, even the cosmos, was quite alien to the ancient Greeks. Greeks believed in the logos, which was in man as well as in cosmos. Now with the emerge of the Reason era, man was endowed with a unique gift, while the rest of the cosmos was deprived of it. The high place of the reason, was the top of his body, the head, the brain. It was a special gift to the adult man, not all men but wise men, not the child, even not the women. So, wise man was situated at the top of the pyramid of social values. He was focused as if any thing, which worth attention, would be emanated from his mouth. He then, was the center of gravity of the new space, reason space. This is a universal principal at every space, that is, whatever and whoever is at the center of gravity, and whatever and whoever is at the center of real power, that is, the power of commanding to the others, or the power of reshaping to the events and to the rules, if both of these powers, aesthetic power and real power, incarnated in one and unique corpse, it or he, would change many old and long lasting rules and traditions. Such was the Reason era, which changed rapidly too many things during a somehow short period compared the past. 

By the end of 17th century, all of the pluralism, skepticism and relativism, which were roaming throughout the 16th century were completely were obsolete and receded to the backyard. Now, it was man, not god, which was at the center of the new brave world. As though the continental thought was dealing with the man in the same manner as it had previously dealt with the god, but when this continental thought reached to the England, the philosophers there, took a quite different approach. They began to deal with man, not as an earthly substitute for god, but as a live man. This was the beginning of a new trend in the philosophy, a trend, which although has been evoluted drastically up to our time, yet known as the English school of thought. It was in this school of thought that study of pleasure and beauty became a subject matter of study. As in this article we are deal only the suffering, so we do not go through this school.

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Research: Culture, History & Theory

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