22 April 2010
Contemplated, not possessed.
Earlier I posted clips from the BBC's production of Scruton's essay, Why Beauty Matters.
Part three is particularly enlightening.
All art is absolutely useless.
Put usefulness first and you loose it.
Put beauty first and what you do will be useful forever.
It turns out that nothing is more useful than the useless.
We have more than just practical needs.
We are not just governed by animal appetites, like eating and sleeping.
We have spiritual and moral needs, too. If those needs go unsatisfied, so do we.
We all know what it is like, even in the everyday world, suddenly to be transported by the things we see. From the ordinary world of our appetites to the illuminated sphere of contemplation.
A flash of sunlight.
A remembered melody.
The face of someone loved.
These dawn on us in the most distracted moments and suddenly life is worthwhile. These are timeless moments in which we feel the presence of another and higher world. From the beginning of western civilization poets and philosophers have seen the experience of beauty as calling us to the divine.
Beauty is all around us. We need only the eyes to see it and he hearts to feel. Like as if something not of this world, but indeed of it.
... beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and be immortal, if mortal man may.
The book is here.