Concepts of Form are Coupled with Exciting Qualities in Language

Concepts related to form are mixed in aesthetic expressions with those related to excitement, indicating that form belongs to a mental category of less exciting things.

Thermoaesthetics

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Fernand Léger’s “Contrast of Forms.” Photo from Wikipedia. Public domain.

“From bodies various form’d, mutative shapes.”

— Ovid, Metamorphoses

Contents

Concepts of Form
Combinations of Less Excitement
Why This is Interesting
Heat (11)
Fluidity (22)
Dynamism and Speed (32)
Disorder (22)
Brightness (8)
Upwardness (37)
Outwardness (39)
Loudness and High-Pitch (11)
Length (5)
Multiplicity (Large Numbers, 23)

Concepts of Form

Psychological relatives of the idea of form such as “making,” being a “thing,” being “built,” “building,” having “shape,” having “figure,” or being “it” are consistently coupled with exciting (emotionally arousing) perceptual and conceptual qualities in idiomatic language, as shown by the lists below. Higher excitement qualities include heat, fluidity, dynamic motion, speed, disorder, brightness, upwardness, outwardness, loudness, high pitch, length and large numbers. Reasons to think these qualities are related to each other and to higher excitement are given in the stories Categories of the Mind and More and Less Exciting Things.

Combinations of Less Excitement

Concepts related to form are also frequently combined in expressions with less exciting qualities. When they are, the resulting expressions are typically less amusing (or have a negative psychological valence) than those mixing form and excitement, adding together to create expressions we use in a derogatory way and don’t like to hear. Most of the expressions listed in the sections below are more or less funny, harmless or likable, and some are used affectionately, but consider the…

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Thermoaesthetics

A concept of aesthetic complexity based on universal animal preferences for mixtures of simple, more and less exciting physical and psychological opposites.