Beauty, what is it, that draws us to the beautiful?
For my part I’m inclined to believe it is because it is a window through we see a little glimpse of Heaven, and that all beauty finds its source ultimately, in God himself. Where else would we get such a concept. Words, as far as I can tell, are but representatives of things, but every word must have something real at its root. There cannot be a word that has nothing behind it, a meaningless word. Words are very useful, but in and of themselves, they are nothing. They are only representatives of something more, something real. Beauty, the idea of it? Where does it come from?
The only place it can, something that is not just a concept or an idea, but something that is the thing itself. There can only ever be one possibility, and that is that beauty is found, the very root of beauty, that is to say beauty itself, is found in God. It is from him that we draw the idea from, whether or not we recognize him, we recognize his attributes. True beauty will always reflect the nature of God, because God is the source of true beauty. It is his nature to be beautiful, it is what he is. I suspect that there is an infinite number of attributes that God possesses, and every one of them that we have encountered has transformed us when we have found it, one can not explore an attribute of God without it leading one to the source. Him.
Perhaps we live in a world that is but a shadow of a greater reality, a world that is but an illusion, a word, something that is part of something more. I have questions, lots of questions, and among them: Can we actually exist? Can anything, does anything, exist? I mean, really, exist. How can it? It shouldn’t be possible that we even exist, but here we are. Or are we something far more abstract then we imagine ourselves to be. Almost more accurately described as an idea then a reality? What is it that we are? I do not know, or understand these things, but I do have questions, and above all I ask, what is it that we are? Are we real, or ideas? Can something be an idea and real? Is something less real if it is an idea? I suspect that the answer is something of an idea being not a lesser, but a greater reality then it being the opposite that is true.
By the speaking of words God created the realm, that is reality as we know it. Words. But it seems words are ideas that have a source. But clearly there is a distinction between God and his creation, they are not one and the same. This puzzles me, how can an infinite, eternal, God exist separately from his creation? Unless, unless, unless, creation is the manifestation of an idea made reality, but still remains fundamentally an idea.
It’s like an author who writes worlds into being in their own works. In some ways those worlds do not exist, apart from the mind of the author, but for the author, and for inhabitants of that world it is the reality they have, yet still only a reality in the mind of the author. From the perspective of the inhabitants, there is no reason to suspect they are only an idea in the mind of their creator, for they are real, their world is real, and the author is real. Just because they are an idea, doesn’t mean they are not real. The author is separate from the creation, but at the same time, the creation cannot exist without him being the source of it, the idea-reality of it, is the idea that is the reality, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
Oh, I don’t know, yet, how else can God be everywhere, and infinite, and yet remain separate from his creation, unless God himself is the greater reality that houses the lesser reality that we find ourselves in. That is the only thing I can think of, but that is by no means the final say in the matter. There may be fifty billion other possible explanations that I remain ignorant of to the dilemma, and my own guesses are laughable in light of the fullness of the truth. I don’t know, still, for my part I do not believe it is wrong to seek the knowledge of the truth of what it is that we are. To seek to discover how it is that that which shouldn’t exist, but does, is even possible. To ask questions.
I do not believe there is any question that will leave God stumped looking for an answer, even if it was the kind of question that even if you were to take all the humans from all of human history and combine them into a single entity with all the knowledge of humanity compiled together, would be absolutely stumped by. Unable to solve, even with all human knowledge at its disposal. The questions that seem to have impossible answers. Perhaps there are no impossible questions and impossible answers.
Also, questions that really puzzle us now, might seem so simple when we finally understand them. Even here in this world, I’ve had that happen, lots of times, I’ll have a real difficult question, and then one day, after I’d even forgotten about the question, the answer will present itself, so obvious, so simple, and completely overlooked, despite the hundreds of hours I might have put into the asking of the question, sometimes the answer is a word, sometimes even a simple word.
One of the questions that I keep pondering is that I keep searching for a word, but I don’t know what the word is that I am looking for, only a vague and ever expanding concept of the meaning of it. You could almost say that part of it is something to describe the innocent, platonic, passionate, desire for the well being for another, a word that binds, like an oath or covenant, a word that is a promise to seek the best of another at any cost to oneself. The love of a brother or sister, a word that describes both passion and restraint, peace, joy, goodness, truth, a love, but not a love of feeling, but something deeper then feelings, and yet part of the definition is a feeling of love as well, something that both transcends and is the root of love, all summed up in a single word, and ascribable to another person. Among other things, the word needs to sum up all of that. There are words that might cover one or two, but I know of no word that brings them all together. Yet, it feels as though the word is right on the tip of my tongue, but I can’t figure it out. For years it has been there, but I get the sense I could easily spend a lifetime trying to discover it, that in the asking of the question, I have started an endless quest to find an answer. Yet if a question is asked, surely an answer must be there or there is no point in asking the question. So I keep searching, and searching. But find it not.
So I continue to seek to define it in hopes of finding it, so I ask myself questions with bizarre, and seemingly unrelated answers, like: You ask me why I care about another? I respond that it is like how I care about this one, or even it is like how I care about that one, or even fictional people, such as Avalon, Winter, and Alex. It is something I don’t have a word for. It is important to find it, and the failure to have the word required has already dragged me to the edge of my sanity on occasion.
Ignorance of the proper word nearly destroyed me six years ago, words are unbelievably powerful and dangerous. Both in the words we use, but also in the words we do not. If I could turn back time and speak the words I know now, I would, and all that followed would have been altered. However, I also believe that I am a better person for facing the darkness and overcoming it then if I had never faced it at all, so perhaps it is a good thing in the end that I lacked the word. Still, the point is that words are our inheritance, and we must use or not use them wisely.
In many ways I still need to find the word I seek, somehow. But what is the word you would use when encountering a friend, a stranger, an enemy even, and you feel as though you would bend Heaven and Earth for them, as though they are the center of the world, as though the reality of their presence in the world changes the fundamental reality of humanity as a whole. If they did not exist, if they never were even a thought in the mind of God, that all humanity would be forever altered from what it is by their existing as part of it. In other words, to see them changes what it is to be human. That’s the kind of word I need to ascribe the reality of them. You could almost use the name itself to describe it. Or what have you. Whoever it is that alters the whole of reality itself by their existence.
All of that is to ask, what is the word? I do not know, I can only go on filling notebooks with descriptions of what the word is, but never the word itself. And so the search continues for a word I do not know, I have no idea what it looks like, what language it is in, how many letters, how it sounds. I do not know what letters it is built with, or whether it has ever been uttered upon this Earth before is a truly unknown word in this world. I think I’d know if I heard it, or saw it. But, in my 27 years I’ve not encountered it, though everything I’ve ever learned and known seems to define it.
What is the word?
It’s like beauty, you think you have an understanding of it, then you encounter something new, and everything you ever thought you knew about beauty changes, every thought, every feeling, even what it is to be human, can change in a moment by the encounter of something beautiful. Nothing seems to change the human soul so effectively as the encountering of the beautiful. Beauty is fire, it consumes, reforms, and defines you. Beauty is water, it cleanses and purifies you. It is earth, it grows you and nourishes you. It is the air you breathe, it gives and sustains life. Beauty is around us, within us, is us. But what is it? Is it in the eye, or the soul? Is it seen or felt? Known or it the mystery of a thing that makes it beautiful? Can we ever know beauty without destroying the mystery of it? I do not know.
I am human. I still am on my journey, and I have not learned the answers to my questions, nor discovered the fulfillment of the longings of my heart and soul.
So we ask about what it is that we are? We ask who we are, who God is, and how it is that we are, how it can be. Beauty tells us that God exist, the darkness tells us we exist. We know these things. We long for knowing more of the beautiful, and sometimes we forget that it is in darkness that beauty meets us most potently.
Beauty is the transformation of the soul, the refining of the mind, it isn’t merely the cause of these things, but it is the thing that does the great work within us, and it is the thing itself that makes it so beautiful.
Beauty, I find it in so many places, and it is hard to ignore it when one tries. We are to wired to seek it, even above all other things, including our own survival, our soul thirst for beauty, unquenchably, powerfully, unable to be content until it finds the source of it.
The beauty we know what is seen in the mirror, but we long to know not the reflection, but the thing reflected, and we cannot find contentment in the reflection, even though it changes us, refines us, and makes us more alike to it. Giving us beauty as well, the longer we look into the eyes of beauty, the more beauty works within us, changing us, making us beautiful.
We cannot escape beauty, not in this world. Only if we are to succeed in escaping the source of beauty will it finally cease to be. Needless to say, a world without beauty would be a bleak world. Even now we see hints of what a world without beauty looks like, it is why we see tragedies, evils, and so forth. This is what takes place when beauty is forsaken, forgotten, and fought. There is nothing left but ugliness. It is but a picture of the loss of beauty made complete. One must consider it well whether or not they wish to cut themselves off forever from the source of beauty, because the loss of beauty leaves one empty, cold, and without hope. You cannot even remain a human being, a human being is too beautiful, and without beauty you cannot be human. It is crucial to what it is that you are, that you know what it is that beauty is. It is part of what defines us, fundamentally, as a human being, is our being an image, a symbol, of God, the one who I believe to be the source of beauty. Succeed in running from him and all that remains to you are all the worst things in the world, the uglier things. Sometimes we see what running from beauty looks like, and we ask why bad things happen. It is the running from beauty, and all that remains is ugliness. Bad things are very ugly indeed, and the natural result of forsaking the beautiful.
For my part, I desire to chase after the beautiful, longing with all my heart, to know the source of it, and as I journey on that road, I will find myself changed in ways I did not expect, until when that journey nears its end, I become so transformed by the beautiful that looking back from where I started, I do not even recognize myself for the man I once was.
Either way, you will change, whether by the hand of beauty, or by running from it. Change is inevitable, a choice between the true and the evil must be made. Will we let beauty transform us, or run from it?
These are things I do not have the particular word for perhaps, but I keep searching, seeking, hoping, looking, desiring to find the words I seek. In the end it is words that I long for, I need the right word, and I have it not, though I long with all my heart, and all my soul, to know the word.
But, for all that, perhaps beauty, from our perspective, is what happens when Heaven invades Earth to reclaim that which was taken by Hell.
Things may seem dark indeed, but in light of the greater picture, we are both at the center of, and for the most part, completely ignorant of, war, the great war, the war on beauty itself. But beauty always wins. Darkness cannot win against the beautiful, it isn’t in the nature of the darkness to overcome the light, but to be overcome by even the smallest lights.
In the telling of the whole story, we shall see that everything that seems so bleak and dire to us now is but a small and passing thing, like a few words on the end of a page, hardly to be noticed among the splendor. But, that does not mean that they are without meaning. It is where we now dwell, and this is our fate, to dwell in the shadow-world for a time, and it is perhaps having seen the darkness, that causes us to appreciate the beautiful all the more when the page is turned to greater things.
Though we see the darkness, in our hearts we know that the entirety of the story is a beautiful story, and though we might not understand it, even these ashes are part of the story.
What is the word? I do not know, but like beauty, I desire to keep seeking it.