Bohemia,Taste and Capitalism.

     Bohemianism remains difficult to define, it borders on the notions of the eighteenth century Romantic Movement without the ties of privilege enjoyed by the landed gentry.  The Romantic Movement was largely concerned with the conservation of lands under threat by modern industry.   Bohemians were opposed to property ownership and although their views differed on many things they did share one very firm belief in the inappropriateness of the bourgeoisie class.   Immanuel Kant, in much the same way,  also took the trends of his contemporaries into account.   He warned against the divisions that might overwhelm society with the taste of one group usurping the taste of another.  Indeed, in many respects Kant set the groundwork for what would become a system of modern aesthetics.  In his aesthetic philosophy Kant noted how a particular category of good taste could set apart the majority in any one social gathering.   Kant’s aim was for cohesion.    In Kant’s view beauty could never be the object of property ownership or the realm of a superiority of class.  Aesthetic judgement was instead based on subjective feelings.   Further, Kant’s idea of taste could not be empirically judged.  Good taste was not to be found in any one value or way of life; nor could it be had in generalisations that often applied when issuing judgements.   Kant continually emphasised that the validity of good judgement could not belong to preferential group[s].   Taste then is deemed by Kant as being beyond reason.  It is a highly experiential phenomenon that is personal rather than universal. 

       Importantly, Kant stresses that our tastes, even on seemingly unimportant things, can never fully account for our judgements.  Of course contemporary modern culture might present as being in opposition to Kant’s view since there is a general feeling that modern technologies have overwhelmed what we understand to be the individual’s independent judgement, not to mention unique subjectivity.  Kant would probably have argued that this cannot be the case because every judgement of taste depends on the senses [sensus communis].   Here we see Kant’s assumption that while the senses are a very individual experience there is a general consensus amidst communities which allows judgements of taste be shared at a spiritual [transcendent] level of their existence.  In this concept not every member of a community has to agree with a judgement of taste, but every member of the community share in its proposition.  Moreover, Kant is not concerned with trivial matters of taste. Rather, he aspires to a universalism of harmony and consensus.  With this in mind Kant set the mood for a modern society of a mass consumer taste that unifies populations under the banner of bourgeoisie capitalism.

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