This paper argues that beauty in Latin America has evolved over the past one hundred years through three stages—Utopian Roots, Theoretical Constructions, Critical Parings—and that the stages betray the same constant, the ineffability of beauty. This thesis rests on two assumptions: beauty is not universal but rather a cultural-construct, and the 34 countries and 540 million people in the region share at some level a common culture. In stage one, Utopian Roots, thinkers like José Enrique Rodó (Uruguay), Alejandro Octavio Deústua (Peru), Antonio Caso (Mexico), and José Vasconcelos (Mexico) break free of the positivism gripping the intellectuals of their countries in early twentieth century and place aesthetic activity at the heart of society. Caso makes the case for this stage of beauty. In stage two, Theoretical Constructions, Osvaldo Lira (Chile), Alejandro Tomasini Bassols (Mexico), and Radoslav Ivelic K. (Chile) construct in the last third of the century theories covering beauty in art and nature to beauty as a transcendent entity. Ivelic speaks on beauty for this group. In stage three, Critical Parings, Enrique Tames (Mexico) and Orlando Hernández (Cuba), for example, pare back beauty to its manifestations among regional and local cultures like the Regla de Ocha people in Cuba, who discover in their rituals the presence of an energy akin to a blessing. This beneficial energy is beautiful but more…in other words, ineffable. Hernández typifies the thinking of this group on beauty. The conclusion evaluates strengths and weaknesses of beauty in Latin America, compares briefly the views of beauty from Europe-North America and Latin America, and identifies the significance of ineffable beauty for the peoples of Europe-North America.
|Keywords:||Latin America, Aesthetics, Beauty|
Professor, Philosophy Department, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Mulcahy Scholar, College of Arts and Sciences, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
Poet/Writer, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
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