On a basic level, the individual who lives the aesthetic life is not in control of his existence. He lives for the moment, prompted by pleasure. His life may be self-contradictory, lacking in stability or certainty. Even on a more calculating level, the aesthetic life remains ‘experimental’. We follow a certain pleasure only as long as it appeals to us.
The inadequacy of the aesthetic viewpoint is fundamental. This is because it relies upon the external world. It ‘expects everything from without’. In this way it is passive and lacking in freedom. It relies upon things that remain ultimately beyond the control of its will – such as power, possessions, or even friendship. It is contingent, dependent upon the ‘accidental’. There is nothing ‘necessary’ about it.
If we understand such things, we see the ultimate inadequacy of the aesthetic existence. When an individual who lives the aesthetic life reflects on his existence, he soon realises that it is lacking in any certainty or meaning. Such a realisation often leads to despair.