The Truth in Beauty
Ben Malik & Blasto
The question of beauty has always veered through the clouds of destiny, a tremendous consumer of time. Beauty has been invoked, reinvented and described since antiquity as the fleeting source of happiness and fulfillment, an inexhaustible source of life, but doomed from the start to a redemption that was always fit but for a tragic end.
Real beauty is an event, a watershed event, unassailable, and one which needs no explanation because it simply is. John Keats recognized this maxim in his famous chiasmus “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” In a world where reality is in perennial revision -re-designed, re-filtered, augmented, edited and deformed – our experiences with the sublime acquire a new value. To understand the authentic ecstasy, we find silence in the face of truth.
That nature (the natural) is true beauty is simply unquestionable, unexpected, overwhelming. This doesn’t need attention, willingness or agency. The invitation is implicit in its observation, and makes us desire it and sometimes we dream of possessing it. We need to become vulnerable and sensitive to its breath. We need to sharpen our aesthetic intuition. This is the original meaning of the word “aesthetic”: breathe, inhale the world of the perceptions we face. Only thus can we find beauty in these most improbable places; only thus can we enter into contact with the illuminated immensity of the ecstasy of revelation and with the patterns that reveal an obvious truth – one that wasn’t there before – and with emotions that imply the fascinating and fleeting epiphany of that immensity.
Art stems from our need to imitate nature. Thus, human ability has been distorted in the deluded belief that we surround ourselves with beauty, and that we’re thus able to absorb and express their value. We must understand that true beauty is there only to expand our admiration. It’s an expression that reflects the deepest feelings of the body and a manifestation of the spirit. It’s here where the intimate encounter with a spectator arises, in the desire to feel, and not to possess. The end of beauty reminds us what is love, and what is fear and hate. It’s a visceral encounter with faith, because it adapts to the demands of the soul. The impermanent beauty of nature is only an image of eternal beauty, a fractal that is finally but a vehicle of contemplation for the scaling back.
It’s said that we find beauty in our desire to idealize and transform the world. Because this aesthetic quality is circumstantial (and subjective), its perception is only possible in the moments when our attention is available. The real beauty is the technology of inspiration. It’s one of those few tools that can immerse us in an ecstasy that surpasses rationality and that sometimes can even cause pain in its assimilation. The perceptual vastness forces us to reconfigure and upgrade our mental schemes, just to accommodate that level of experience into our own ontological awakening.
Inevitably, we covet what we can see at a distance that ensures us we can’t have it. It’s necessary to separate the desire for admiration from the disappointment at this impossible possession, a desire born of our own desire for transcendence. True beauty is a reminiscence of all of these longings in us because at the moment when we stand before it, stunned by the sublime, we feel that we absorb it in such a way that we actually want to commune with it, merge with it and become one with it. It’s in true beauty where we feed our desire to be infinite in a finite world, and fuel our desire to capture a moment and make it last forever, because, although that beauty is nothing without the knowledge of the speed with which It vanishes, in its presence we can be immortal at least for that one moment.
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