WHAT IS THE relationship between beauty and truth or between beauty and the good? We know from Scholastic philosophy that beauty, together with unity, being, good, and truth are transcendentals. Meaning, since they do not belong to a particular class or genus, they are interchangeable. So what is beautiful is simultaneously true, good, being, and one.
However, Filipino thought is concrete. Can a concrete way of thinking also be metaphysical? If being is one of the transcendentals the Philippine languages have no perfect translation for being. Likewise, being is not the main concern of Filipino thought. Is Kagandahan (beauty) also interchangeable with the other transcendental in Filipino thought? What are the educational and pastoral applications of beauty?
We said elsewhere that aesthetics has two views on beauty: dualistic and non-dualistic. Beauty as dualistic stems from individualism. Western art, which in general stresses the individual, has man as the focus of its art. We said "in general" because there are also Western philosophers who espouse the non-dualistic view. This is not the case with Oriental art (such as Chinese paintings) where man is just a part of the picture. The Filipino shares the non-dualistic way of looking at beauty, wherein he and the object ideally become one.