“Man is never so
authentically himself as when at play.” Friedrich von
In The Golden Seat, ‘Beauty’ is one of the
three ‘legs’ of the seat: Beauty, Truth & Goodness (Plato’s natural theology). One cannot truly understand one without the
other. We integrate beauty in our worldview to complete the picture: Truth and
Beauty; Goodness and
Beauty’s nature is Self and Self Expression. It is the self
alone what defines pleasure--a reflection of our personality and individuality. It is an individual’s
opinion of beauty that proves how different one is from the rest. How we define beauty illuminates our
style and uniqueness.
Beauty gives one pleasure which is found in various
• Physical: eating, exercise, sports, dancing, singing, sex.
• Social: accomplishment, recognition, service.
• Cultural: classical to modern art
The pleasure of beauty is experienced either externally via the
five senses or internally with the
As an illustration of the senses, let’s consider the sport of
marlin fishing. Through the senses the eyes enjoy the blue--green tones of the sparkling ocean, the
skin feels the warmth of the sun, the body feels the motion of the water, the nose smells the salt of the
water, the hands feel the pull of the fish and its fight, the eyes take pleasure of the marlin dancing on the
The fisherman takes internal pleasure by his pride of his strength and skills; his
resolve and commitment; the seaworthiness of his boat, his knowledge of the Sea: wind, the current, temperature,
birds on the horizon; of the ecology of ‘catch & release’ – to keep game for food and to return game for
sport. A lifetime of experience, skill and dedication is put to test for that big catch—an accomplishment
only the seasoned fisherman knows it’s true beauty.
Another example is cultivating a garden. The eyes take
pleasure in the colors of the flowers and the beautiful garden layout; the gardener takes delight as she
smells the various fragrances; the pleasure of beauty is felt with the hands as they maintain landscape
with watering and soil care. Internally, the mind takes pleasure in the one’s design of the garden—a
beauty truly understood by its maker. Pride of design, scope and imagination.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, a world-traveling memoir
about one’s search for truth from the two extremes of ‘worldly pleasure’ to ‘spiritual devotion’, offers,
possibly, the best explanation on the importance of beauty. In Story 36 Ms. Gilbert has Italian author
Luigi Barzini answering the query, “With having a past of producing the greatest artistic, political and
scientific minds of the ages, why hasn’t Italy become a major world power?” Mr. Barzini replies,
“answers have much to do with a sad Italian history of corruption by local leaders and exploitation by
foreign dominators. Italians concluded that the world cannot be trusted - it is corrupt, misspoken,
unstable, exaggerated and unfair. One should only trust one’s senses. Italians will tolerate
incompetent generals, presidents, tyrants, professors, bureaucrats, captains of industry, however they will
never tolerate incompetent artists, musicians, opera singers, conductors, ballerinas, courtesans,
actors, film directors, cooks, tailors”.
Ms. Gilbert astutely observes that, “Only beauty can be
trusted. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is
real. To devote yourself to the creation and enjoyment
of beauty, then, can be a serious business—not always necessarily a means of escaping reality, but sometimes
a means of holding on to the real when everything else is flaking away into…rhetoric and plot. The
world is unkind and unfair. The best you can do is pride yourself on the fact that you always fillet
your fish with perfection, or make the lightest ricotta in the whole town.”
Life has a way of making you
feel sometimes like a criminal, a dunce, the dodgy one; like you are crazy ('meshuga'). Better not to remember the
awful things - remember the beautiful things. Everything washes away except for your Purpose & your
The whole fantasy realm of beauty, love, romanticism is the key to
spirituality. Maintain beauty in your life, as you sense it, as you create it, for you keep out
degradation — the spoiler of one’s spirit.