Monday, May 29, 2017

Subjects to Be Respected

Environmental degradation comes in just the same way that moral degradation comes, through representing people and places in impersonal ways, as objects to be used rather than as subjects to be respected. The sense of beauty puts a brake upon destruction, by representing its object as irreplaceable. When the world looks back at me with my eyes, as it does in aesthetic experience, it is also addressing me in another way. Something is being revealed to me, and I am being made to stand still and absorb it. It is of course nonsense to suggest that there are naiads in the trees and dryads in the groves. What is revealed to me in the experience of beauty is a fundamental truth about being -- that being is a gift.

Roger Scruton, The Soul of the World, Princeton UP (Princeton, NJ: 2014) p. 139.

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