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…?
On that first wink of daybreak, my Sun turned to me and She said:
I am bursting with energy – if I don’t fly away, then I will explode. I must be channeled, but first I must be absorbed — I must have a conductor, don’t you understand?
Please absorb me and then channel me — but beware, because you cannot hide from me.
I know the difference between the conductor who absorbs and channels and the insulator who pretends to do so by absorbing enough before splurging out the best of me.
Can you absorb and gently guide me towards something meaningful, or are you squandering me — are you forcing me to fly away, to explode with ferocious force…?
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.
Some of us raise the floor because we do not recognise a ceiling, while others strive to break right through the ceiling.
Some of us raise the ceiling and not turning back to see the floor, while others pull the floor from under us.
Do you see the pattern?
— A word about doing things without taking into account others’ interests.
A failed man is as good as his humility — and that humility is as beautiful as its appearance as a calm repose in the face of his failure, not as a pain in whose presence he crumbles, or goes in on himself, or looks away in disgust or anger or hatred or fear . . .
Who would have thought that from humility can grow a towering, oak-like strength with shimmering branches of calm, which we associate with wisdom and maturity — we find its most beautiful appearance in men, generally irrespective of age.
But it is common in older men, in whom ambition is tempered by the enlightenment and foresight which the paradoxical marriage of death with long life ushers in.
Men who age badly carry a wounded humility or, its sibling, a defensive vanity — and nobody sees or knows it better and more deeply, nobody feels it more fully and is more affected by it than the women who love them.
Don’t believe me — get out of your shell and start connecting deeply with people, start speaking to people about something other than superficial, political and ideological categories and concepts which dominate our common discourse.
Start to feel people and look past their words and propositions, observe their emotions, their reactions, their behaviours, their choices . . . Feel people.
Beware of a delicious, self-righteous temptation — to justify your malice by the paranoid assumption that another’s intention is malicious.
Sometimes, we justify malicious deeds by construing them as self-defensive, as reactions to others, as though we are the victims who must protect themselves.
At that moment, we become the malicious individual(s) from whose intentions we try to protect ourselves.
How do we overcome this temptation? Admit that you can be malicious and, finally, that secretly you enjoy it —
Temptations are never overcome by means of psychological denial, but by acceptance, by psychological and emotional subsumption — by affirmation.
A: What would you say is love in practice?
B: To be so open to and trusting of someone, and often when you least want to be, as to enable them to judge you on their own terms — and for you to receive their judgment as though it came from someone you can be open and trusting towards, and often when they least appear so to you.
It is for this reason that, for many, love has the whiff of self-denial and self-negation about it. Its natural opposite is not hatred or fear, but the pride which mingles in both.