Whisper #370

A: Why is beauty so important?

B: That question is meaningless, but let me try to answer it from the spirit in which you asked it.

Because beauty does not discriminate in its relation to you, in how it affects you.

Beauty uplifts you, irrespective of who you are.

If you are a depressive through and through, beauty will uplift your depression and sharpen that state in you. In beauty, you will find reasons to be depressed and feel justified in doing so.

If you are ambitious through and through, beauty will incite that ambition. In beauty, you will find reasons to be ambitious and feel justified in doing so.

But does beauty care for what you make of it? Certainly, not.

Beauty is a stimulant, spiritual fuel, which asks no questions about the engine which it supplies. And so, throughout the ages, it has inspired the worst and the best of human beings — without asking any questions and without being apportioned any blame.

In a word, beauty is morally neutral — and, perhaps, so it should be…?

Advertisements

Whisper #368

Beauty can have a calming effect, but it is not calming in the narcotic sense. It is calming, yet exciting — it excites as it calms. Beauty can usher in anticipation without making us anxious.

Imagine you are a lion hiding in the field, your gaze is focused on a gazelle.

Your body is electric as your fur stands up on end one hair at a time. Yet, you notice nothing but the warm feeling of shimmering light surrounding the gazelle — as if you mark it with your crosshairs.

Your claws sink into the ground with excitement and you feel every movement around you and the gazelle.

Your breath slows down and disperses out of existence for a second — and then it comes back slow and steady before aligning with the gazelle’s movements.

Your mind is clean and clear — thought comes and goes without sticking because all that matter is, you guessed it, this gazelle.

That is what beauty can feel like — but indeed not to all of us.

Whisper #363

There are four activities during which people show the content of their soul and in many ways their beauty: when they are working, when they are eating, when they are sleeping and the fourth one we may leave to the imagination.

Only lovers have the outrageous courage, the untempered temerity, to observe and savour those activities in others. Yet, most people who might look at us in that way strike us creeps, as though they intrude precisely where they shouldn’t.

Why should that be so? — Because our vulnerability is reserved for those we know and trust, and although others may come across it in our day-to-day activities, they reserve no right to it which we do not give of our own accord.

On Partner Dancing

When we stand before a flag which to us means so much, we do not salute the pole, which keeps the flag from falling or flying away.

The pole holds it in place, ensures its security and gives it the freedom to move with the winds, to be shaped by them and so display its surrender to the currents of life in its complete beauty.

Exactly so in partner dancing: the follower is she towards whom our attention gravitates and whose ultimate surrender and fluidity in bodily form is the reason for dance in the first place. She carries the aesthetic value of the art-form as from the viewer’s perspective.

This responsibility to surrender to the rhythm of the song in a dance can be immensely daunting or uncontrollably exhilarating — often, it is both at the same time! Some crumble into mush before such a responsibility, others stiffen up into a block and the rest — well . . .

Whisper #324

Sometimes, we say and do things with others, which stay with us and play on our minds as we ponder on the hazy reasons for saying what we said, for doing what we did.

We wonder: why did we say or do that and how might it be interpreted? Then, we get cold feet and distract ourselves in all manner of ways, some more pleasurable than others.

Such pondering and exercise of that delightful emotion of wonder and its corresponding thought process are wasteful — for we do not always speak to make a cogent, rational point that falls within a framework of belief through which we may logically evaluate each other’s propositions. Not everything we say is a proposition, is it?

Likewise, we do not always do things in accordance with a goal that falls within a wider, self-reflective and rational plan — we do not always operate ideologically; thank goodness for that!

Rationality, framework of belief, ideology: what self-defensive views of agents and their dealings with one another! What a way to build walls around our souls — mind you that some are more noble and decorative, more aesthetically pleasing, than others!

Sometimes, though, are these views not bitter mistresses of the soul we have to contend with and have to love, as we do with family because, well, who chooses their family? These mistresses are useful, if not essential, but bitter, so bitter in taste. Although, sometimes, we want our social meals to be bitter, don’t we?

But, once in a while and in certain contexts, don’t these fine mistresses need — a pause, a demotion, a holiday, a moment to powder their noses and make themselves presentable, once more?

Are these mistresses not prolific in generating reasons for people to use their words and deeds as weapons to break others down; as ladders to climb their walls; as hammers to crack them open and draw out their fruit; as chisels to carve out their image onto their bricked personal presentations; as doors through which they may enter them; as gentle hands with which to touch and soften them. Alas, what would life be without these fine mistresses? Yet, not everything we may need to live (or to live well) do we need to obsess over–do we?

Sometimes, we want to make an impression — in fact, don’t we always just want to make an impression, even when we impress upon others a ‘rational’, ‘virtuous’, ‘ideological’ and ‘truthful’ person?

Most of all, do we not want our words and gestures to be carried home by others — home to that pristine, holy, ‘safe space’ wherein dwells their profound openness and delightful vulnerability? To that place where only God enters as one’s closest companion? A place where people drop their armour, their clothes, their walls, to reveal their beauty in its perfect expression, in its nakedness — body and soul. The place which makes everything about a person not only a work of art — but moves it as its condition for existence. We all sense it, but nobody knows it — we all feel it, but nobody could put a word or three to it.

We speak and do things so we may dwell with others’ beauty even though never fully may we experience, perceive and be witness to it. For such is the fate of the human soul, is it not? We are eternally private as we eternally yearn, we eternally tremble and quiver over the prospect of — being seen.

So, when we utter profound nonsense with the right tone that strikes deliciously wicked impressions, the ones which carry through and dwell in others’ minds, what, really, do we want, what are we doing?

When we make exquisite bodily gestures that ripple through others by means of their senses, leaving them with the feeling of our presence pressed upon their bodies in an uncanny form, what, really, do we wish hope to achieve, what is our intention?

Do we not hope that what they take with them is not our words and their meaning — not what our actions achieve for them — but us? Do we not bestow them with a gift of us for them safely to carry home — a sweet memory in our image for which we use the best of us to engender and seemingly worst of us in retrospect?

Do we not want them to take us with them as they march onward and upward — our voice, our memory, our impression, our beauty as is confound in the mind through our words and as it travels on the flesh through our bodily gestures. Do we not want them to let us join them — through the safety and self-control of their own imagination — in that place where they dwell in their fullest, clearest beauty?

Surely that is what we want, but so often it comes at a cost that only a Shakespeare of the mind could do justice in expressing in its fullest tragic-comic glory!

We make ourselves vulnerable to impress upon others, to enter their minds and bodies, but regret it in retrospect — why is that?

We are the impressing and impressionable beings, are we not? Why are we ashamed of it?

What if communication is — really — about producing impressions, rather than making a point, or three? What if what matters most socially is how we affect each other, not what we try to make each other understand and so nurture the fear that we will fail?

Sometimes, understanding and its products are bitter mistresses who get in the way of our sharing beauty with one another.

That is why, sometimes, it is permissible — no, absolutely essential! — to periodically suspend our understanding and —

Whisper #321

Be of no doubt, love too finds her match — in a person’s ego, in their vanity.

When someone is not there for you at your worst, never will they enjoy you at your best without making some relation to themselves and their interests.

Let the hopeless who pretend to be hopeful — but who feel eternally disappointed by someone or other in their life or incessantly dissatisfied with the fruits of their efforts — pursue the foolhardy idea that love conquers all.

Love does not conquer; it is not her style to conquer. People conquer and love either adds value, lustre or life to their actions — including their conquests — or she takes it away. Love is that which appears subordinate, secondary, an aside, but is, in fact, the zenith of life.

A person who doesn’t love you will recoil at your worst and spoil your best — because what drives them is their vanity.

Vanity, the bilious black pit where love chokes and, in the process, chokes the person and those around them of life’s light.

Sadly, they cannot help it — and neither can she.