Gothic Philosophy and Aesthetics

“The things that make a woman beautiful – moving with grace, accepting yourself, the ability to enjoy life – are timeless.” — Winona Ryder

‘Gothic’ was first used in 1611, describing an ‘uncivilized lack of taste or education’. The people who built the ‘gothic’ style architecture never used the term in this way. They were monks/artisans working for the church to build cathedrals, castles and edifices from the 11th century on. It was some unlearned men who criticized the style of architecture claiming it was repetitive and dull, describing it as ‘gothic’. For some reason, the name stuck. Victorian and Gothic Romance novels and gothic fiction emerged later on which included castles, haunted mansions and otherworldly topics such as ghosts and vampires. The Gothic subculture that emerged centuries later has quite a lot in common with the above origins.

Gothic is above all artistic. It is abundantly, fundamentally creative. Life and development gravitate inevitably towards death and decadence, and resurrection. Only uncertainty is everlasting and only change is permanent. The cost of happiness is the potentiality of suffering. Definitions don’t entirely satisfy. Doubt always exists no matter how certain we feel. Our spiritual pain is never fully dealt with, only momentarily put on hold. Our existential struggles require methods of self-expression and creativity. Art (through writing, sculpture, music etc.) is the superlative way to express ones’ emotions. We have a compulsion to create aesthetically. Also, a deep appreciation of such creations. Goths are often very analytical with a heightened level of emotional sensitivity, empathy and expression.

Gothic philosophy indicates that death be given its justifiable spot in our consciousness. Gothic liberates death from its exile; it regards death as a fragment of life, and therefore entitles the dead to live again. Gothic death is not about “the end”; it is about transformation. It is about letting go of the old and accepting the new; about relinquishing the frail to its inescapable decline, and permitting its relics to propagate new developments; it is about the reawakening of the dead. The gothic perspective does not subscribe to evil; it simply declares that it exists.

The gothic vision is a connection and balance with life’s darkness as well as its light. We feel it is significant to merge the darkness with the light so we can balance our lives – the yin (dark, negative, passive) with yang (light, positive, active). Our styles of dress and appearance are further expressions of who we are, what we feel, and what we want to be. There are numerous reasons why we often wear black. It is not an actual color in the traditional sense. It is the color of shadows, mystery and the sky at night. Plus, it is said to help open up deeper levels of consciousness, induces a deep meditational state and banishes evil or negativity. But Goths do wear numerous other colours together with black as we respect the magic of all colors — For example: purples (symbolic of power, success and idealism) and reds (for health, passion, love, fertility, strength, courage and willpower).

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