On the second half of Friedrich Schiller's On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1795), with Mark, Wes, and Dylan. You might want to listen to ep. 318 first.
While the overall argument is still that an education in appreciating art can transform the masses from desire-driven savages into rational beings worthy of representative government, starting around letter 14 through the end of the book (letter 27), we start getting into the aesthetic theory behind this claim.
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We review Schiller's picture of two drives toward beholding content and beholding form, which are the result of our sensuous, animal nature on the one hand and our rational, divine nature on the other. What are these "drives" if all of causality is on the side of the material? How can the abstract and divine in itself cause us to do anything? It can't by itself; it needs to get some human desires on its side, and that's exactly what an art education is supposed to accomplish: We learn to find pleasure in something that is not strictly selfish, because Beauty provides a pleasure that is both appealing and yet disinterested (in Kant's sense, e.g. we don't actually want to eat or have sex with the work of art, but merely to be in its presence, appreciating its forms).
Good art, for Schiller, will both temper our animal side and our rational side. If either of these is too strong, Schiller says Beauty can be liquifying or melting (Wes says "attenuating") to shave off this excess, and it can also be tensioning/energizing to increase the power of whichever side of us might be lacking. Most art (or beautiful object in nature) is going to do one of these things, but Schiller insists that ideal Beauty would do both.
Another interesting issue here is freedom. As beasts bound by our own desires, we're definitely not free, even though it seems we're free in the sense that we don't feel bound by the rules of society or God. Kantian moral freedom means that we recognize the laws of morality as given by Reason itself (which is something in each and every one of us, so it's like a law that we make up, even though each of us will arrive at the same conclusions about this law, so it's not subjective or relative to who's listening to Reason). So Schiller's overall goal is to make us more free in the Kantian sense: more moral. But he also recognizes that being bound by Reason in every thought we have is also a very tight constraint, and so in the aesthetic realm, where we're put at a distance both from the causal order of matter (our desires) and the logical order of Reason (morality), we get the greatest feeling of freedom via aesthetic play: Our imaginations can spin freely instead of being bound like serious people to serious things. Instead, artworks create their own "logic" as we're making them, so that it's not arbitrary where the next note in your song or line in your poem or stroke in your painting will go. Total arbitrariness is never freedom, and neither of course is total constraint: The position of the artist (and to a lesser extent the spectator of Beauty in any form) is midway between these.
Finally, does art reveal truth? Well, no. Truth is still in the realm of the divine/Reasonable. and Plato was right in being worried that lying poets could corrupt people, so Schiller warns that artists need to keep to their lane and not put forth their works of imagination as true. In fact, if artworks are being used to teach morality directly, then they're bad art; they're going beyond the appreciation of Beautiful forms.
This discussion continues with part two, and then we did also record a part three a week later to more adequately get into the final letters of the book, so you'll see that next week.