‘A drab looking cage produces a drab looking brain.’*
‘We are anxiety-ridden animals. Our minds are continually active, fabricating an anxious, usually self-preoccupied, often falsifying veil which partially conceals the world.’**
One of the things I have appreciated since having an operation to remove a cataract is how colours are way brighter and sharper than I thought they were. I find myself closing one eye and then the other, playing between the foggy image of the world my left eye can make out and the brightness of the world in right.
I’d been told to expect this but thought my world wouldn’t have been affected this much. There’s something revelatory about what lies beyond the veil.
Iris Murdoch writes about humans being ‘anxiety-ridden animals,’ continues to write about beauty:
‘The surprise is a product of the fact that, as Plato pointed out, beauty is the only spiritual thing which we love by instinct.’*
Do we know there is something more beyond our drab cages? I don’t think we intend this drabness for one another. We don’t design our education systems and life expectations and work environments in this way, but we underestimate the value of beauty for our brains. As I suggest in my doodle, beauty is in the eye of the beholder – I’m not trying to tell someone what is beautiful and what is not. The only condition I would hope for is that our kind of beauty improves the lives of those around us.
‘Unless there is an obvious reason to do otherwise, most of us passively accept decision problems as they are framed and therefore rarely have an opportunity to discover the extent to which our preferences are frame-bound rather than reality-bound.’^
We need to take a closer look, not only around us, but inside too. Erwin McManus warns us that our sense of identity is critical when it comes to the future:
‘Sometimes, though, it’s not people who keep its in the past; it’s our own sense of identity.’^^
Just as Murdoch speaks of spiritual things, so does McManus at this point:
‘The most spiritual thing you will do today is to choose.’^^
Today, I choose beauty. Let me see where that takes me.