Objective and subjective and cute

Modern scientific thought regards only objectively existing things and ideas real. There is an intrinsic belief in a reality which exists objectively as the same things regardless of our perceptions of it, which do differ. Because we perceive that reality differently our perceptions are seen as flawed, while this objective reality is real and superior to us. The problem is there is little empirical evidence to suggest that objective reality even exists. Sure, it sounds reasonable to assume it does, yet it is not very reasonable to assume anything.

Physical items that we can measure and quantify are deemed real, whereas more subjective, less concrete things are regarded mere human notions. That tree is 7,3 meters tall, it is measured, it is real. That cat weighs 4,6 kilos. They are objective facts. Anyone who does the measuring correctly will reach the same conclusion. Emotions, psychological states, perceptions cannot be measured in such a way, so they are seen less important, perhaps even pointless. “Cuteness” is a rather vague concept. Most of us understand what it means, yet it is difficult to define what cuteness is. Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines it as “attractive or pretty especially in a childish, youthful, or delicate way”. Not a bad definition, yet something is missing. The words fail to describe the feeling a person experiences when he or she sees something cute. Cuteness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. However that is only partially true. Some things are inherently more cute than others, even though many might disagree. Kittens and pikachu, are somewhat universally cute, even though there are many people who would disagree. Also cuteness is not related only to appearance. Behaviour or a voice might be cute as well. I’ve been called cute in few occasions, although if you see me walking down the street would won’t associate me with kittens and pikachu. We can say that the concept of cuteness is very complicated, even though many of us understand quite easily what is or is not cute, except middle-aged men who are trained to disregard cuteness.

Modern science would say that attributes like dimensions and measures, and cuteness are quite different in their nature. But are they? Cuteness is a relationship between the perceiver and the perceived. Both participants have some attribute in the them that elicits the emotion of cuteness in the perceiver. Concepts such as meters and kilos are somehow objective then? No, they are merely thought of as objective. A tree is a certain height even though you do not measure it. If have the concept of “meters” in your head when you measure the tree, you perceive it as being 7,3 meters tall. That too is a relationship between the perceiver and the perceived. The tree has the inherent attribute of a certain height, and the perceiver interprets it in meters. The difference between meters and cuteness is that cuteness is an emotional response in the perceiver, and meters is an dispassionate, intellectual reaction. Yet intellectual responses are in no way more real than emotional ones. Another difference is that cuteness is a somewhat universal response, I believe. Various people in different cultures throughout time have had the concept of cute. Or perhaps I am assuming too much. Whereas meters are a cultural construct. You can only perceive something as meters if you have been taught the concept. No doubt the height of the tree is the same regardless of what unit of measure you use to measure it, meters, feet, or some other, yet all of them are merely an attempt to make reality bend to human rationality by explaining something. There is a difference between seeing the height of the tree and making your own conclusion about it. Be it an emotional one, “it’s so tall/short” or an intellectual one “it is 7,3 meters tall”. I mean, the height of the tree is what it is, converting that height to an abstract concept such as meters, does not take you closer to the hypothetical objective reality any more than having an emotional reaction to the tree does.

All of our experiences in the outside world are a relationship. Perhaps as far as the outside world exists is as one party of that relationship. Our attempts to rationalize that relationship into something universal and objective might be nothing more than a delusion due to our unwillingness to admit our limited relationship to reality.


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