Recently, I heard on TV that by the time you’re five years old you’ve already decided where you stand in relation to art. The source and surety of this statement may be suspect, but the general idea may actually hold true. It does appear that for some art occurs as an elixir; while for others, art is something to be pushed aside in favor of science, possibly admired, but nevertheless subjugated. Ultimately, this existential choice is really not a stance on art at all, but rather a stance on our human relationship to the realm of knowledge. Is knowing an individual activity or is it inherently a collective process? Does objectivity exist in “reality” or does it just appear that way due to the subtle workings of hegemony? Is it possible that knowledge is to be found in connecting, intersecting, overlapping subjectivities? This questioning is really about the essence of the social bond: is it found in reasoned organization or organic interconnectivity? The proposition that I want to make and observe through my reading of Eiko Ikegami’s Bonds of Civility is that duality is mediated through the arts, and artistic beauty occurs when duality is mediated. It is inside of the artistic act of pure subjectivity, that the object, and thus the other, disappears and we experience oneness. It is this sensibility that we refer to as beauty. It is this striving to express the beauty of this oneness on the part of the Japanese people that is the true subject of Bonds of Civility.