O for God’s sake
they are connected
They look at each other
across the glittering sea
some keep a low profile
Some are cliffs
The Bathers think
islands are separate like them
Fine, Thank Youlonely, taken out of context clippings. significant or simply reminders
Beauty is part of the history of idealizing, which is itself part of the history of consolation. But beauty may not always console. The beauty of face and figure torments, subjugates; that beauty is imperious. The beauty that is human, and the beauty that is made (art)–both raise the fantasy of possession. Our model of the disinterested comes from the beauty of nature–a nature that is distant, overarching, unpossessable.
From a letter written by a German soldier standing guard in the Russian winter in late December of 1942: “The most beautiful Christmas I had ever seen, made entirely of disinterested emotions and stripped of all tawdry trimmings. I was all alone beneath an enormous starred sky, and I can remember a tear running down my frozen cheek, a tear neither of pain nor of joy but of emotion created by intense experience… .”
Unlike beauty, often fragile and impermanent, the capacity to be overwhelmed by the beautiful is astonishingly sturdy and survives amidst the harshest distractions. Even war, even the prospect of certain death, cannot expunge it.
What is beautiful reminds us of nature as such–of what lies beyond the human and the made–and thereby stimulates and deepens our sense of the sheer spread and fullness of reality, inanimate as well as pulsing, that surrounds us all.
A happy by-product of this insight, if insight it is: beauty regains its solidity, its inevitability, as a judgment needed to make sense of a large portion of one’s energies, affinities, and admirations; and the usurping notions appear ludicrous.
Imagine saying, “That sunset is interesting.”"