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Community photography

Aesthetics: appreciating beauty #culture

Today’s picture is a composite of images of the local park. It looks nice doesn’t it? It was landscaped from land used for mining. The ‘Mount’ was actually a pit bank of clay. Now it’s a beautiful Victorian park, but over the years, it’s been changing. So too have many of our Victorian buildings.

The whole park is a Victorian masterpiece. Would you write on a Rembrandt? The powers that be, seem to think it’s alright to desecrate our beautiful park with keep fit equipment and a skateboard thing. Can’t modern stuff be put somewhere else?

Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of art, beauty and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty. Do people actually look at our park before deciding to change it or does it just look good on paper or on a computer screen? Do they understand how awful the town centre looked on Christmas Day with no Christmas lights? It looked grey and drab, the only light coming from the garish neon sign of a pizza joint.

Many people might not be into philosophy and appreciate the importance of aesthetics but they know what is bright and beautiful and what is grey and depressing. I think our park should be treated like a work of art, a valued treasure. The town centre is mostly Victorian or Edwardian too. This week we noticed thing growing out of the top of  the clock tower.

I suppose the politicians will say they don’t have the money to keep things in good repair, but they can find 200,000 pounds to put speed humps and mini roundabouts and other ‘traffic calming’ stuff around the town with no real evidence that it prevents accidents. It just makes congestion worse and the kids it’s supposed to protect, find it even harder to cross the road. They are also forced to wear dark uniforms rather than brightly coloured clothing that can be seen on dark mornings.  No, the motive isn’t concern for the children or they would all be wearing high visibility vests. The motivation is all about money and power. It’s about meeting over lunch with consultants when they’re picking up the bill. It’s about status too and aspiring to be better than one’s peers.

We need to ask about the aesthetics of the places we live, work and go shopping. Does it all have to be ugly and utilitarian? It seems the palatial buildings and the opulent look is only for places of ‘importance’, aren’t we the people important. Those distant Lords and honourable people in the Palace of Westminster spend most of their time in palatial surroundings and even local politicians have their civic centres as modern palaces that although ugly on the outside, are I’m told, quite palatial on the inside with symbols of opulence like chandeliers adorning their halls.

I have to admit I have never been in a palace or a civic centre for that matter.  I have been in badly maintained castle and one or two town halls. I doubt if I’m missing much, but even so I do want a more pleasant place to live. Actually, I want nice buildings and places to photograph and there doesn’t seem too many around here. They also seem to ruin what is here.

I think aesthetics is important and beauty can help us maintain mental health.

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