Thursday, July 2, 2009

Why Beauty?

Some kind person gave a favourable review of my work on her blog -- this is the first time that I've been able to get an impression from someone who doesn't know me, and I was heartened to find that the thing that came across above everything else was the devotion to beauty.
Perhaps I am a little myopic on this point (Keat's "Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty," is the sole philosophic statement that has survived in my psyche throughout all of the various shifts and turns of belief over the years), but I think that this is something that goes beyond me.
The age of Reason is over. By that I don't mean that reason is no longer valid, or that it is no longer able to elucidate new truths. I mean that people, on the whole, are no longer able or willing to receive the truth garbed in the robes of reason. She was twisted and mutilated by modernism; "rational self-interest" has led to deeply exploitative and inhuman forms of commerce; "rational" scientific and technological progress has ushered in a Culture of Death; "rational" men may argue rationally that abortion is good and infanticide justifiable. I suspect that it will be some time before Reason has recovered sufficiently that people will be able to rely on her. For the moment, then, truth, if it is going to be communicated beyond the insular circle of people who still believe in St. Thomas Aquinas, must be framed in different terms. The image, not the argument, will win the day.
This, I think, is the meaning behind Dostoyevski's statement that "Beauty will save the world." It is the meaning behind Solzhenitsyn's Nobel Prize address and it is the current of hope that runs through John Paul II's Letter to Artists.

1 comment:

  1. I just started reading your blog and I absolutely love it! I'm a performing artist and what you write about is so important and pertinent to what I encounter in my daily life! God bless you and your work!

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