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Aesthetics:The Beauty of God, Nature, and Art

Joseph N. Manago

 FormatISBN Price  
This Book is Available Electronic Book (E-book Instructions)9781420850376 $ 3.95  
This Book is Available Paperback (6x9)9781420838060 $ 16.75  
About the Book

     Aesthetics:  The Beauty of God,  Nature,  and Art is an anthology of historical,  literary,  mathematical,  musicological,  philosophical,  political,  psychological and scientific papers illuminating the motif of the aesthetic experience and aesthetic value (“beauty”)of God,  nature,  and art as intrinsic properties of the objects in accord with St. Thomas Aquinas’s definition of beauty as “that which pleases in the very apprehension of it” – that is,  in the spirit of a moderate realist epistemological view of the objects of the aesthetic experience since,  as Aristotle said,  “Beauty is order,  symmetry,  and definition.”  The topics are inclusive of the beauty of mathematics as exemplified in hyperbolic non – Euclidean geometry and in the consistency of real analysis and the propositional calculus,  the mathematical symmetry of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) – the genetic material – and other physical,  biological,  and artistic objects in terms of the “golden ratio” and the unity of string theory,  the Schillinger projective geometrical method of composition of melody in terms of the use of melodic “organic forms” (i.e. the terms of the golden spirals of the Fibonacci summation series) in composing the notes of the melody based upon the principle of expanding intervals,  the movie review of Pi (p) with its focus upon the theme of numerological patterns inherent in all physical and biologic phenomena of the universe (i.e. the ubiquity of the f,  the “golden ratio”) and the theory of its protagonist that diverse systems of nonlinear dynamics share a unifying numerical pattern (“chaos theory”),  the cursive form of hieroglyphics (hieratic) and the mathematical structure of the Rhind Papyrus as illustrative of the beautiful in Egyptian mathematics of the Middle Kingdom,  phenomenological and philosophical reflections on the spiritual nature of human self – consciousness (the “I” – soul) which apprehends beauty and expresses aesthetic judgments,  the “transgender hypothesis” of the etiology of the neuropsychologic phenomenon of transgenderism and potential stem cell therapy as an aesthetic alternative to the Frankensteinian “Benjamin triad,”  the aesthetic disvalue of mental disorder as exemplified in a case analysis of “panic disorder,”  American political disorder in terms of the lack of broader FDA and FCC investigatory powers with respect to the marketing of cell phones whose electromagnetic radiofrequency (“RF radiation”) is associated with biological effects and potential medical hazards,  the paralysis of the American government regarding aircraft noise pollution and its serious biological and psychological effects,  the inevitability of the American Civil War (1861 – 65) as analyzed in terms of the underlying political and socio – economic disordered relations between North and South (and the implicit moral disorder of slavery and duplicity of Northern and Southern politicians in their support of the war),  the un- Constitutional interpretations (and Executive policies thereof) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 as indicative of a profound political disorder in the American Republic in terms of human and civil rights,  the beauty of the musical structure and performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor (Opus 18) For Piano & Orchestra and Full Moon and Open Arms,  the beauty of music,  color and the unity of God (“Come Sunday”) in the life and works of Duke Ellington,  a journey to beautiful Mediterranean palaces in The Intruder,  the “panoply of sights,  sounds,  and smells” of Christmas in Brooklyn,  the beauty of hearth,  gifts,  the Church and the Holy Eucharist of Jesus Christ during Christmas in A Christmas Vignette,  the beauty of the ministries of the Sisters of Mercy of Brooklyn and the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn (and the spiritual beauty of Rev. Mother Catherine McAuley and St. Francis of Assisi;  the beauty of St. Patrick’s School),  and the invitation to express heartfelt gratitude toward God – the “infinitely beautiful” – for all the beautiful people,  together with their beautiful talents,  who embellish our lives.  This book traces the inductive steps which Joseph Manago is mounting upwards “for the sake of that other Beauty . . . the notion of absolute Beauty . . . the essence of Beauty” (Plato,  Symposium),  an imperfect apprehension relative to the mystical perception of the beauty of Creation as a prefigurement of God and Heaven in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.

About the Author

    The author is a mathematician,  philosopher,  composer – musician,  molecular biologist,  writer,  and former professor in biomedical sciences at a dozen New York universities inclusive of the Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn (Downstate Medical Center of the State University of New York),  City University of New York (New York City College of Technology),  Long Island University,  New York Institute of Technology,  and Pratt Institute.  His publications include “Oremus (Let Us Pray):  An Anthology of Mathematical,  Musicological,  Philosophical,  and Theological Papers”  (Indiana: 1st Books Library,  2004;  www.1stbooks.com/bookview/19815 ),  “Mathematical Logic and the Philosophy of God and Man”  (Indiana:  1st Books Library,  2000;  www.1stbooks.com/bookview/2105 ),  “Mystery of Christ Songs of Joey Manago” (New York:  Joseph N. Manago Publishing,  2002),  popular religious ballads (“The Joy of Christmas,”  “Light of the World,”  “Bread of Life,”  “But This Is Eternal Life,”  and “Happy Father’s Day”) on albums produced by HillTop Records (Hollywood,  CA),  Company Music (Staten Island) and Joey Manago Music (New York),  and experimental research in cell biology and cytogenetics (Cytologia 45:  561 – 569,  1980;  Biological Abstracts 72 (3):  1764,  1981).  Joseph N. Manago did his doctoral studies at New York University,  and earned his M. S. and B. S. degrees at the Vincentian Fathers’ St. John’s University (New York).  He is an active member and lecturer of the Mathematical Association of America,  the American Mathematical Society,  the American Philosophical Association,  the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (www.appa.edu/promana.htm ),  and the American Society of Composers,  Authors,  and Publishers (www.ascap.com ).

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Aesthetics: The Beauty of God,  Nature,  and Art  is an anthology of historical,  literary,  mathematical,  musicological,  philosophical,  political,  psychological and scientific papers illuminating the motif of the aesthetic experience and aesthetic value (“beauty”) of God,  nature,  and art as intrinsic properties of the objects in accord with St. Thomas Aquinas’s definition of beauty as “that which pleases in the very apprehension of it”  (Honderich,  The Oxford Companion to Philosophy,  80) – that is,  in the spirit of a moderate realist epistemological view of the objects of the aesthetic experience (Manago,  Oremus (Let Us Pray):  An Anthology of Mathematical,  Musicological,  Philosophical,  and Theological Papers,  1 – 8;  www.1stbooks.com/bookview/19815 ).  “Beauty is order,  symmetry,  and definition.”  (Aristotle,  The Complete Works of Aristotle I and II,  ed. J. Barnes).  And St. Augustine said,  “Beauty is geometric form and balance.”   Indeed,  “St. Augustine sounds surprisingly modern to our ears,  partly because he is not too quick to subordinate the appreciation of beauty in the natural world to anything like Aquinas’s divine transcendentals,  and partly because he attempts to specify the ingredient features of the ‘beautiful’ in an analytic way (for instance,  in terms of unity and order)”  (Honderich,  10).  But,  perhaps the lexicographer’s definition of “beauty” is the most succinct – “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit”  (Merriam – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary,  11th Edition,  108). 

 

In Chapter 1,  the beauty of mathematics is exemplified in the hyperbolic non – Euclidean geometry of Lobachevsky and Bolyai and in the consistency of real analysis and the propositional calculus.

 

In Chapter 2,  the mathematical symmetry of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid),  the genetic material,  and other physical,  biological and artistic objects in terms of the “golden ratio” is illustrative of that  “order” which Aristotle and  Augustine specified as a property of the “beautiful.”  The subatomic particles and quantum field force carriers (bosons) of DNA (and of all matter) are each composed of an identical “string” with particle properties differentiated on the basis of different resonant vibrational patterns of the strings which are “absolutely identical” in “stuff.”  Physicist John Schwarz said,  “the mathematical structure of string theory was so beautiful and had so many miraculous properties that it had to be pointing toward something deep” (Greene,  The Elegant Universe,  137,  146).

 

In Chapter 3,  the Schillinger projective geometrical method of composition of melody in terms of the use of melodic “organic forms” (i.e. the terms of the golden spirals of the Fibonacci summation series) in composing the notes of the melody based upon the principle of expanding intervals exemplifies the mathematical symmetry which constitutes the aesthetic harmony of the musical work.

 

In Chapter 4,  the movie review of Pi (p) focuses upon the theme of numerological patterns inherent in all physical and biologic phenomena of the universe and the theory of its protagonist that diverse systems of nonlinear dynamics share a unifying numerical pattern (“chaos theory”);  the ubiquity of the “golden ratio,”  f1 = 1.6180339887499,  is also illustrated in terms of spiral nature of the Milky Way galaxy,  tornadoes,  whirlpools,  sea shells,  leaf arrangements,  and DNA.  Hence,  mathematical symmetry is a property of beauty,  or one type of beauty.

 

In Chapter 5,  both the cursive form of hieroglyphics (hieratic) and the mathematical structure of the Rhind Papyrus denote the beautiful in Egyptian mathematics of the Middle Kingdom (2000 – 1800 B.C.).

 

In Chapter 6,  phenomenological and philosophical reflections are expounded on the spiritual nature of human self – consciousness,  the “I” (soul),  which,  according to St. Thomas,  apprehends beauty (and truth and good) in reality.  The transcendental  “I” is the being who expresses aesthetic judgments of what is beautiful and what is ugly.

 

In Chapter 7,  the “transgender hypothesis” of the etiology of the neuropsychologic phenomenon of transgenderism and potential stem cell therapy are explicated in support of an alternative treatment modality to the “Benjamin triad” which engineers Frankenstein creatures who are reproductively mutilated and dysfunctional,  hence,  disordered – ugly in Aristotelian terms – despite cosmetic “beauty” in terms of external appearance.

 

In Chapter 8,  the aesthetic disvalue of mental disorder is illustrated in a case analysis of “panic disorder,”  with both cognitive and emotional imbalance.

 

In Chapter 9,  political disorder is evident in view of the lack of broader investigatory powers of the American governmental agencies (FDA and FCC) with respect to the marketing of cell phones whose electromagnetic radiofrequency radiation (“RF radiation”) is associated with biological effects and potential medical hazards.

 

In Chapter 10,  the issue of political disorder is revisited with respect to the paralysis of the American government regarding aircraft noise pollution and its serious biological and psychological effects which pose a significant hazard to public health and is certainly not  “music to my ears.”

 

In Chapter 11,  the inevitability of the American Civil War (1861 – 65) is analyzed in terms of the underlying political and socio – economic disordered relations (and the diplomatic failure in the resolution of the ideological conflicts since the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and onward) between North and South,   the implicit moral disorder of slavery and the politically duplicitous smoke screens advanced by both Northern and Southern politicians in support of  the war.  Not only was it “the bloodiest war in America’s history with over 620, 000 Americans killed,  1 million Americans wounded,  and 1 million Americans imprisoned,”  but the ugliest and “most turbulent period in our nation’s history.” 

 

In Chapter 12,  the un – Constitutional interpretations (and Executive policies thereof) of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 are indicative of a profound political disorder in the American Republic which is antithetical to “the ideals symbolized by its flag” (Justice John Paul Stevens,  “Excerpts From Rulings . . .On Detaining ‘Combatants’.”  New York Times 29 June 2004:  A16).

 

In Chapter 13,  the beauty of the musical structure and performance of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor (Opus 18) For Piano & Orchestra and Full Moon and Open Arms (based on the theme from the 3rd movement of the former;  sung by Jerry Vale) is schematized with respect to the elements of music.

 

In Chapter 14,  the beauty of music and color may be apprehended through this narrative of the life and works of Duke Ellington,  whose profound Christian faith is proclaimed in Come Sunday,  “Dear Lord above:  God Almighty;  God of love . . . Come Sunday,  oh come Sunday,  That’s the day!”  - reminiscent of the divine transcendentals of Aquinas.

Indeed,  God is “infinitely beautiful” (Manago,  Mathematical Logic and the Philosophy of God and Man,  155;  www.1stbooks.com/bookview/2105 ) in the unity of His being.

 

In Chapter 15,  The Intruder takes one on a mysterious journey to beautiful Mediterranean palaces graced with beautiful (and ugly) people  - “Caesar was far more beautiful in figure,  word,  and mind.”

 

In Chapter 16,  the “panoply of sights,  sounds,  and smells” of Christmas in Brooklyn is “as real to me today – some 5 decades later – as it was then!”  Panoply – “an impressive array;”  impressive – “making  a marked impression;”  impression – “favorable influence or effect on feeling,  sense,  or mind” (Merriam – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

 

In Chapter 17,  A Christmas Vignette gives one a guided tour of  “a beautiful home in the quaint village of Richmond Hill” during Christmas when “everyone in the home received beautiful gifts.”  Christmas “with the glorious Latin of Ancient Rome on the lips of the priests,  and in all the Adeste Fidelis’ in the hearts and on the lips of His faithful” celebrates the reality of the Infant Jesus and His presence through His Holy Spirit and in the beauty of the Holy Eucharist.

 

In Chapter 18,  one commemorates the beauty of the ministries of the Sisters of Mercy of Brooklyn and the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn,  the spiritual beauty of  Rev.      Mother Catherine McAuley and St. Francis of Assisi,  and the beauty of St. Patrick’s School.

 

In Chapters 19 and 20 – autobiographical in scope - ,  one is led to express heartfelt gratitude toward God for all the beautiful people,  together with their beautiful talents,  who embellish our lives.

 

Hence,  Aesthetics:  The Beauty of God,  Nature,  and Art summons us to define the intrinsic properties of aesthetic value (“beauty”) in our experiences of God,  nature,  and art.  But only with the beatific vision of God in Heaven is our apprehension of beauty ultimately fulfilled “for thou madest us for Thee,  O Lord,  and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee”:  “Quia fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum,  donec requiescat in te”  (St. Augustine,  Confessions,  Book I).

 

Briarwood.  New York                                                                                    J. N. Manago

January 9, 2005

 

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