The founding mythologyu nderlying the genesis of aesthetics in the work of Alexander Baumgartenc ircles around an initial audacious idea. To lose sight of this initial idea and its audacity risks dissolving the extraordinary intensive and extensive dynamismofBaumgarten'sthought into astatic system of scholastic distinctions, lifeless typologies,a nd overlycomplicated conceptual nuances. Baumgartene xpresses this idea in the introduction to his Meditationes philosophicaed en onnullis ad poema
... nnullis ad poema pertinentibus as follows: "to demonstrate that manyt hingst hat have been said hundreds of times, but scarcelye verp roven," can in fact be proven, and most importantly, such things "can be proven from the single concept of the poem" (MED,[preface], 4; Ut enim ex una, [...]poematis notione probari plurima dicta iam centies,vix semel probata posse demonstrarem).¹ The concept of the poem, as an evidentiary sourceheretofore unexplored, constructs ap aradigmatic bodyf rom which cognitive,a ffective,m etaphysical, ethical, and veridical operations can be drawno ut of their latency. The work of art becomes not just one sourceofintelligibility among others, but the archetypal model through which an ideal order manifests itself, and even distortsi tself, phenomenally( distortingi tself inasmucha st he poem as an analogue of reason introduces ag ap between itself and absolutelyi deal, logical order). It is not the philosophyo ft he logicians that comes to light in the order of the poem. It is al ived and embodied philosophy, one intimatelyc onnected to the "sensate" truth that formsthe primaryinterface of human beingswith the problematic, ambiguous world surroundingt hem. The power of the foundational myth surroundingt he origin of aesthetics in Baumgarten'swork derivesn ot merelyfrom the epistemological and metaphysical gains henceforth attachedt ot he poem qua literaryo bject,b ut alsop erhaps from as ubmergedn arrative of fetishization, ak ind of erotic cathexis: the poem as the transgressive and unrulye rotic object that is eventuallyr econciled with the norms of philosophicalthought through sheer forceofpassionate dedication and intellectual will. At first,then, the origin of aesthetics has the structure of a loves tory.B aumgarten broaches the emergence of the attraction to the poem through narrating his own personalized history in the introduction to the Meditationes philosophicae: the story of ayoungman who passed "scarcelyaday [...] Translation into English lightlymodified from Grote, The Emergence of Modern Aesthetic Theory,72. OpenAccess. ©2 020F rauke Berndt, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the CreativeC ommons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.