What I'm trying to say is this:

But perhaps I should explain. I've been thinking recently about beauty. I think a lot of my life is a pursuit of beauty - beauty in my actions, beauty in my relationships, beauty in my writing, and so on. I'm using "beauty" rather broadly, I guess, but I feel like there's a strong relationship between visual beauty (and our reaction to it - wonder, I guess) and things like humility, love, wisdom, and joy. Maybe I mean that all good things are just different aspects or expressions of each other, like a single object that is perceived through multiple senses. But I told myself I wouldn't start talking like this.I've decided I don't like beauty being co-opted as a means to some other end. I feel like theists have degraded the beauty in our lives by turning it into some kind of argument for the existence of God. Not that there's anything wrong with feeling that beauty points you toward God, but by making an argument out of it, by subpoenaing beauty to be dispassionately analyzed and debated in defense of an intellectual proposition seems cold and demeaning. I think it would be better if we could each see beauty and let it influence our minds and hearts as it will, but not try to force those influences on others.I hope I'm learning to respect beauty. I remember that I used to have a fantasy about suddenly and inexplicably acquiring the ability to play the piano at the highest level. I have dreams of this nature about all kinds of talents (I suspect they're quite common) but this particular one was largely laid to rest when I got to know a girl who spends hours a day practicing the piano. After that it seemed wrong to want without cost what she has worked so hard for. Love without cost is not love; beauty without cost is not beauty.Someone is going to think too hard about what I'm saying, looking for a logical argument. But I'm not talking about logic here, I'm talking about beauty. Beauty, as I understand it, is of a different substance than logic - it can be felt and perhaps expressed, but not analyzed, not calculated.In high school I read a story in which a farm-girl is kidnapped by a lunatic who's obsessed with beauty. At one point, to distract him, the girl points to the setting sun and mentions that it's beautiful. The lunatic's earnest reply is "God Almighty beautiful - to take your breath away!" I've often reflected that if there's one thing I would be unwilling to give up for any reason - even for God - it's my mind. I treasure my ability to think more than anything else. But I wonder if I wouldn't mind being a madman or a fool if I could feel beauty like that.Sometimes I think knowing beauty is my greatest desire, and sharing beauty with others is my highest calling. At other times the idea makes me feel guilty - my rational mind scolds me for loosing my focus on logic and truth. But I'm increasingly suspicious that the pursuits of beauty and truth are not opposed, nor is one necessarily more valuable or honorable than the other. And maybe beauty and truth are really just the same transcendent object seen from different perspectives. You may call this object what you wish or you may leave it nameless, but understand that no words can accurately convey it's essence. Perhaps it can be best expressed like this:

3 comments:

Bean said...

joel, thanks for that blog about beauty it was like swimming in jello. sugar gelatin and dye. feel the flow. take it home. i'm hallcallin an "i agree" on the attempt to let things be what they are. (or at least what i make them into... ha hoo. how can you undo that process?) i think it is flower fragrant to look at something and not worry about it's predestination convultions, say to the tree "you are a tree and i'm am climbing on you, now i have fallen and broken my leg" ect. all beautiful things. what i'm trying to say is that those shots are star trek quantum fizzure generated. what about some beautiful leporsy poses or a man dying on a cross for the sins of the world. sometimes if i see something that is too symbolic to deny that it is so incredebly ugly i try and turn
the sight image into unsyntactic unsymantic zones of colour. you can make anything beautiful like that. although i think it makes people lost if they are trying to play a game of cards with you. ra ca ca. when i'm beautiful i can do what ever i want and it is good. mind of
Christ. so lost on this.

Michigan little said...

jacob: mmhmm.

Michigan little said...

I like the first picture best. When I opened your page, all I saw was "what I'm trying to say is this:" and the picture. I knew it would be a good post. And it was. beauty is... I wrote those 2 words, I don't think I can finish the sentence. it's too hard.