There is a quote from one of my favorite authors that illustrates my point nicely:
“Nothing is more important that that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.”
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
John Keats, Endymion
Just those first five lines (there are many more) are enough for me, ending with ‘quiet breathing.’ Slow down. Slow. Down. Are you fast-paced enough to survive our modern crazy-ass rate of living? Can you compete? are you tough enough, strong enough, ambitious enough, dedicated enough, persistent enough, merciless enough, to survive?
Darwin described a survival-of-the-fittest theory of evolution. Since then, scientists have extensively modified his fundamental finding. It isn’t all about competition and the race to the top.
Why are tribal bands of primates the top competitor in the race to conquer the world? Why are there 6+ billion hairless monkeys running the Earth’s show? Is it a sociopathic devil-take-the-hindmost race to the top that’s made us the top competitor, or something else?
My contention is that it’s beauty. Which, in my mind, is a function of a group of people who have a higher goal. Who don’t just live to live, but live to aspire to something greater than themselves.
But beauty, like fun, is in the eye of the beholder. My beauty is no more your beauty than my fun is your fun. And I’m wary of relativistic measures. I know murder in cold blood is bad, and no matter what cultural or scientific or whatever justifications you may have for it, I think it’s bad.
But beauty and fun are necessarily relativistic. Or, more accurately, are humanocentric. My point is that you need to pay some fucking attention to them. They’re evanescent, deliquescent, evanescent – they’re like a butterfly’s wing: beautiful on inspection, delicate upon investigation. Touch it, and it’s ruined.
Believe in beauty. I’m no religionist, I espouse no path to redemption, but I believe that everyone should look at the world through the lens of beauty. Perhaps burning every erg of hydrocarbons we pump up from the depths or scrape up from the earth is the proper way for our economy to prosper . . . but is it beautiful?
Is it beautiful? Yes, this seems to be a bit flowery, or unrealistic, but . . . why not? What do you want to leave to your children? Ugly?
To me, fun is about beauty. I want beautiful people around me (and that has little to do with their appearance) that are fun and making beauty. Why not? Why not make beauty? What’s holding you back?
My auto mechanic makes beauty. He is there for me, and shakes hands with me, and tells me the truth, and tries to be a part of my life in a way that I accept and honor.
That’s beauty. Let’s be beautiful.
I love you,