In praise of beauty

If I were to wish for anything I should not wish for wealth or power, but for the passionate sense of what can be, for the eye which ever young and ardent sees the possible.*
(Sören Kierkegaard)

The recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically linked to that recognition.**
(Eckhart Tolle)

We have the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Whilst everyone sees beauty differently, Jonah Lehrer reminds us:

‘We make our eyes lie.’^

Our brains are telling us what to see, filling in what we cannot see:

‘But we are blind to our own blind spot: our brain unfailingly registers a seamless world.’^

Perhaps we need to doubt what we see as beautiful and not beautiful, to be open to each person’s beauty. Khalil Gibran’s prophet, speaking to the people of Orphalese, encourages them to see the beauty around them and also their own beauty:

‘People of Orphalese, beauty is life when life unveils her holy face.
But you are life and you are the veil.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.^^

The beauty in these words is disruptive, causing us to stop and notice more. As Anne Pirrie points out, reflecting on the words on the words of poet Alistair Reid:

‘we need to face up to the fact that it is not curiosity that will cause is to die, but the lack of it.’*^

It is not only about being open to more knowledge, even about one another, but what we then do with this:

‘it is not merely a question of what one knows (despite previous references to a well-stocked mind) but of how one knows, or rather how one manifests understanding’.*^

Beauty grows in many different ways when following opening our minds with the opening of our hearts, we then open our wills, becoming producers of beauty for whoever may see.

(*Sören Kierkegaard, quoted in Rosamund and Benjamin Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)
(**From Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth.)
(^From Jonah Lehrer’s Proust was a Neuroscientist.)
(^^From Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet.)
(*^From Anne Pirrie’s Virtue and the Quiet Art of Scholarship.)

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