Writing For The Soul Conference
February 16-19, 2012
What is beauty?
That’s the question Barbara Nicolosi asked in her class, “A Beautiful Story: Why Aristotle Matters?” It reminded me of an argument that I had with a friend.
My friend disagreed that something was beautiful. It blew up into a fearsome argument where voices were raised and an uncomfortable silence took the place of camaraderie. She didn’t agree with my description of something made of wood and metal. I said it was beautiful. She thought it atrocious, even tacky.
Barbara said to see the beautiful a person has to have the “sensitivity (somewhat free of prejudice and fear),” “intelligence” (and my friend IS intelligent), and “imagination (to allow one’s history to combine with the artists’ communication).”
Then, Barbara showed slides of Mother Theresa, Christ on the cross, and other posts of creased, care-worn faces. All of us agreed that what was beautiful was not the appearance, but the heart or idea behind it—salvation, love, kindness, and generosity. Wood and tin by itself doesn’t mean it’s beautiful. Wood and tin put together to serve a greater purpose—God’s purpose—IS beautiful.
So I was correct in saying the thing was beautiful. Beauty, Barbara also said, is NOT in the eye of the beholder.
How do you consider beauty?