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THE LURE OF BEAUTY: HARMONY AS A CONDUIT OF SELF-TRANSCENDENCE

The paper begins with the assumption that in order to explain the efficacy of harmony as an organizing force in human and natural affairs we must pay attention to the dynamic features characteristic of the growth and maintenance ofharmonious forms. Two dynamic features are highlighted for their especial significance: revitalization, and self-surpassing. It is then argued that the two are substantively connected through the agency of creativity which, when given free reign, tends to preserve and fortify harmony by surpassing existing harmonious configurations. It follows that the impetus towards self-transcendence is a vital aspect of the growth, the sustenance, and the flourishing of harmony. I then argue that this urge towards self-transcendence can be broadly identified with Plato's notion of Eros. Nevertheless, I also argue that this affinity does not commit us to a rigid Platonic scheme of the sort criticized by Chenyang Li (2014) as harmony by conformity.

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