Actually, the ability to create and enjoy beauty is better than the ability to make money. The beauty registers with a deep part of you, it expresses who and what you are, and has to do intimately with life. A person with a deep sense of beauty should be happy and have a good sense of who he is. Thus, the making of beauty is very close, in its own way, to meaning and purpose. Think deeply on this.
Long ago I was an L.A. County Probation Officer and while living in the Griffith Park area had to drive to my office near LAX. There should be some other word than driving to describe what you do when traffic doesn’t move, because each day I had to pass through downtown Los Angeles during “rush” hour.
What I did was drive a different way as many days as I could. I knew the direction and I would just keep making turns, going down different streets, seeing different houses, all of it make a dreary drive an adventurer.
Try and find something beautiful on your drive. Who knows what you might find? There could be an interesting neighborhood you wish to return to. Perhaps you glance a restaurant worth checking out. You might see a marvel of architecture or a landscaping masterpiece that is someone’s life’s work.
This way you start your day as a ronin, you are in charge; seeking. When finally you reach your destination, this will carry over. Live the Journey.
A person’s experience of beauty must be a function of their meaning and purpose. How could it be otherwise? The beauty I am speaking of can come from the eyes of a child, the deep forest, the sea, the faces and laughter of those you care about, and the caring also. There is an ancient saying, “Thou art that.” And so if you perceive the beauty about you, then you are becoming beautiful. Not necessarily to others, though it won’t hurt, but inside, where Meaning and Purpose reside in the realm of silent knowledge.
There are some who are “Beauty-Challenged,” but can’t accept it. Starving people often think of food, and the Beauty-Challenged suffer in much the same manner. If you gave a starving person a menu from which they couldn’t order, they would still read it with rapt attention, and then discuss it. The same is true for those who are Beauty Challenged.
Some might find it difficult to believe, but I have seen blank canvases hanging in several art museums. Can they be insured? If stolen, and hidden in an art supply store, how would you find them?
Beauty does not have to do with words. Talking about Beauty-Meaning is to life, less than a menu is to a starving man. You will get little satisfaction from eating the menu, you will experience no Beauty-Meaning from words. Here is an example: What follows is a discussion of large pieces of paper with holes cut in them, and then hung in an art museum with the following description.
“In the same way that the subcutaneous lies immediately below the skin, it is possible to imagine that the pieces assembled here have just entered into a trance right now. That is to say in a decisive, critical moment, but also meditative about their pictorial and graphic condition [flat, epidermal] and their objective character [spatial, corporal] . Nothing indicates a comfortable way out. It is clear that this quagmire harbors multiple layers of serious questioning.”
I seriously doubt that the author could or has written erotic fiction. What he is talking about is a piece of paper with holes cut in it, such that a child might make with a folded paper and a pair of scissors. What counts, for the empty people, is not the “art-work”, but the dialogue about it. You say much the same about an old gas station bathroom wall. If you have to talk about beauty, it’s not really there.
Thus, there is no computer, AI, or any manufactured device that can create beauty with the way it perceives, This god like ability is yours, and yours in such a manner as to be as individualistic as snow flakes. How horrible to be taught to pursue possessions rather than beauty, to change the happiness of a child into anxious greed so that they waddle through life like a beast of burden. To seek beauty is to seek life, freedom, and a natural type of joy. Such a person will never sit in a smoke filled coffee shop listening to some gutless old fart prattling his dystopic bullshit and imagine that they are intelligent. No matter what our circumstances, we can still create beauty with our perception. It is an antidote to depression, a cure for suicide, the Source of Meaning.
Think deeply and often on that, and all the major questions of life will be answered.
When does beauty become gratitude? I say when you can completely comprehend, “Thou art that”. True, you would have to comprehend at a deep silent level, and this is quite an achievement, but we are after our best version and this has to do with our spirit. Can you see that now we are passing into a realm where there can never be AI [artificial intelligence].
Do you have a problem grasping Gratitude? If so consider how could you talk a man born blind, into seeing, if that were possible? Sure, seeing is truly wonderful, but if you have never experienced it, it has no meaning for you.
My problem is the same with something so nebulous as Gratitude, but it is as powerful a step as any in our mnemonic. In some ways it is a crowning achievement. I know it seems close to beauty, and it is, but it is more also. You could be grateful in an empty room with no windows.
Those who are desperate and greedy, are unsure of who and what they are, and so, seek an identity from their possessions, and meaning from their retirement fund. They are all controllable, like the jackass following the corn cob held a few inches before its face forever. Those who are grateful for what they have enjoy a profound freedom and rich life.
Our movie for Seeking Beauty is Blade Runner, and the scene we use is when the movie is reaching its climax of mortal combat between the dying superhuman android and the Blade Runner. Now, after a desperate chase the Blade Runner is hanging by one hand over an abyss, and then, exhausted, releases his grip, but is saved by the android he was trying to kill. The android, his time run out, is standing there in the rain, over the Blade Runner, and delivers his oh so powerful lines that strike to the heart of seeking Gratitude.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off Shoulder of Orion. I watched Sea Beams glitter in the darkness off the Tannhauser Gate.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
Time to die.”
So did the dying android perceive beauty and in these last moments was he not grateful for its memory? If so, than truly he had become human.
You want to have these sights. And having them is not just a matter of taking banal selfies in exotic settings, rather it is in being able to see the beauty in something as mundane as how a table is set, with the various wine glasses partially full, and the lights flicker, while her hands dance about like two white doves mating. It could be a grouping of trees on your daily drive, and it can be the landscaping by some small house. This is all there for you to create with your desire.
Seek beauty and store these memories so that when it is your time to die, you can relish them all as if you were alone in some vast phantasmagorical art museum, whose works of art are your life’s perceptions. And as you wander alone through that vast collection of experiences and treasures, how can you help but be grateful?
Our exercise for Seeking Beauty is to each day take one picture with your iPhone.
When you consider this exercise, imagine that –
Still may Time hold some golden space
Where I’ll unpack that scented store
Of song and flower and sky and face,
And count, and touch, and turn them o’er,
So that when your heart beats its last, whether on a battlefield or in a hospice, there is a time warp and you enter that phantasmagorical art museum we mentioned earlier. And here all your iPhotos are rendered perfect, some are as large as a two story wall, others are 8×10, and if you photographed an object, say a jewelry box or a suit of armor, it is there on a pedestal. And if you took a shot of an aquarium, it too is there, the gardens and forest you recorded are behind crystal clear windows that are sixteen feet by twenty-four feet and when you stand in front of that window, you will again smell the scent that went with that moment, and hear the sounds as well. If you were there with a loved one, you will almost hear them, you will feel them for a moment, before you move on to the next exhibit.
Mini-exercise: when you recite the mnemonic, and come to beauty, say, “Thank you.”
It may take a time before you can really feel this, but it is worth the effort as you will feel when you achieve it.
Try and grasp that there is a type of immortality for the one who is everlastingly grateful for the beauty of Now!