Saturday, August 28, 2010

My tattoo. At last we can load photos again!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Like all dreamers, I confused disenchantment with Truth."
~John-Paul Sartre

Moving has thrown me out of my easy circle of friends, those who know me deeply and share, in some way, my passions. It has forced me to see beyond myself in many ways. Here, our aquaintances are mostly of a different sort and the adjustment has been somewhat trying for me. I realize I've been traveling in a world of my own creation, always amongst those who pursue answers to the same questions. Even those whose answers differ, believe in the importance of those questions. I have never needed to defend my devotion to Beauty before, and I am doing so on two sides now. It's difficult, and lonely, to swim against a sea of ideas that are so opposite my own.

For moj brat the dismissal of Beauty, I think, is a part of an assumed disenchantment. It is a rejection of objectivity more than of Beauty, and a desire to seperate himself from those things: Beauty, Truth, and Goodness in their objective expressions which may draw him out of easy speculation and into the demands of understanding. Beause of this, I don't think I can answer him in such a way as to make him truly consider my position - "where the mind is perhaps rather unwilling to be convinced, it will always find something to support its doubts." (Jane Austen). I'm not a philosopher, I don't argue well, I'm too easily distracted by other thoughts. I would rather pass joy around to all, like cups of vodka; how can one not see Beauty if one has joy?

Friday, August 20, 2010

"Beauty is to enthuse us for work, and work is to raise us up."
~Cyprian Norwid

I've been putting off writing my promised articles on Beauty and Art because I've been having trouble putting my thoughts together, and I'd much rather put out a delayed response to moj brat than a bad response. I'm realizing as I try to write that I really have no common ground with the point of view which places Beauty outside the realm of Truth, and because he often speaks from this point of view, I find myself at a loss. It's interesting, and sobering to recognize that the same childhood that nourished in me a passionate attachment to Beauty and to Art, has not done the same for him. At the same time, it is comforting to see in him, at least a notion of the importance of Art, and that notion is what allows us to have conversation. Too many people will easily discount Art as "stupid," "over-rated," or even "boring," and with those people there can be no conversation, because there is no shared language and no shared understanding. When this happens within the Church, or within the family, it can be devestating.

Fortunately, moj brat and I are not so utterly severed in our language. As I understand him, he does recognize in Beauty a means of introduction to truth, though, as I understand him, it is truth rather than Truth, as he disapproves of objectivity in general. Because of this similarity of opinion, and because there is a family connection as well, which unites us not only in shared memories, but also in shared blood, our conversation, I hope, will be worthwhile.

What is Beauty?
We began our discussion because this blog is devoted to Beauty, my brother wanted my definition of Beauty, and wanted to know why it was worth so much attention. I answered him as well as a late night, surprise, and a few drinks can answer; here I hope to answer more fully. Beauty is "the visible form of the Good, just as the Good is the metaphysical condition of Beauty" (John Paul II, Letter to Artists). This makes Beauty much more meaningful than mere attractiveness, and much more objective, as Goodness is not a subjective state. Obviously, there are different levels of Beauty, just as there are different levels of Goodness, but they all aspire to the ultimate: Pure Beauty, or Pure Goodness. The Greek word kalokagathia (beauty-goodness) expresses this understanding of Beauty as the natural home of Goodness.

These articles are going to take me longer than I'd expected. I am trying to understand, trying to relate to a way of thinking that is unnatural to me. I'm not speaking simply of the "post-modern" mindset decried by the majority in the Church, but to a more unpleasant and wide-ranging loss of mystery, which destroys the aethetic sense both within the Church and outside of it. I'm wondering where this mindset comes from, and why is thrives in some, and cannot abide in others.

Many Blessings.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelieveable shrieking into the heart of the night."
~Rainer Maria Rilke

This August is already in early autumn. The trees in the watery places are bright red, the fields are gold and green, the sky is opening up today in a cool autumn rain. There is such a wholesome naturalness in the world around us. I am begining to feel that the more we connect with our land, the more natural our lives become. My dreams have been alive, and I can't help but take them seriously. There is something about candlelight that brings dreams to life.

My parents came up, with my brothers recently, and one of them attempted a discussion on art. The discussion itself progressed badly, with a tendency on his side to monologue, and on my part to snippancy. In atonement, and in hope that he will read and consider, I am planning this week to post a few articles defining and defending Art and Beauty. I hope they will be worth reading for more than just moj brat.