The spirit of our times no longer seems to appreciate beauty.
On the occasion of their 150th anniversary, Prince Charles spoke to the Royal Institute of British Architects about the National Gallery’s expansion project.
“What has presented like a monster but a carbuncle on the face of a beloved and elegant friend.” (Prince of Wales)
He had seen a lot of British architecture as sterile and simply ugly.
Is it still correct? And should we rediscover the beauty that surrounds us?
When we see something beautiful, beauty is felt subjectively. Yet the concept of beauty and ugliness is elusive and difficult to articulate and define. This may be due to individual differences in our appreciation of it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What one person likes, the other finds it purely sentimental. One attractive, the other disgusting.
Beauty would have something to do with the appreciation of harmony, balance, rhythm. It attracts our attention, gives satisfaction, and lifts the spirit.
It is not the art objects that determine whether something is beautiful or ugly. Rather, it is the way the object is treated that makes it potentially inspiring.
Spiritual philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg suggests that what awakens our feeling that a human face is beautiful is not the face itself, but the affection that arises from it. It is the spirit in the natural that fuels our feelings, not the nature in itself.
“The beauty of a woman is not in the shape of a face, but the true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the care that she gives with love; the passion that she manifests. the beauty of a woman grows with age. (Audrey Hepburn)
Beauty can also arise from suffering.
“Even in some of the most painful moments. But I have experienced as a doctor and I find a sense of beauty … That our brain is wired to record someone else’s pain, wanting to be touched by her, and doing something about it is very encouraging. (Doctor poet Rafael Campo)
Roger Scruton, the philosopher, underlines that between 1750 and 1930 the goal of art or music was a beauty. People saw beauty as precious as truth and kindness. It was no longer important in the 20th century. Subsequently, many artists set out to disturb, shock, and break moral taboos. The oldest of them was Marcel Duchamp, e.g. his installation of a urinal. It was not beauty, but originality and irony and other intellectual ideas on which they focused. This is what won the awards regardless of moral expenses.
The art world now believes that those who seek beauty in art simply have no feeling for modern reality. Since the world is troubling, art should also be troubling. However, I would say that what is shocking the first time is not inspiring and hollow when it is repeated.
“If the world so ugly, but what is the use of making it even uglier with a piece of ugly music? … I tried to make it as beautiful as possible. Otherwise, what is the use … So if you want to hear how ugly the modern world is … you can just turn on the tv and listen to the news but I think most people go to concerts because they want to hear nice music is full of melodies that you can hum or sing Music that speaks to the heart Music that makes you want to laugh, cry or dance (Alma Deutscher, 12-year-old concert violinist/pianist)
If there are artists who make beautiful objects, I think that, like all good news in the newspapers, they don’t make the headlines.
The awakening to the spiritual
In addition to much of our contemporary art and our built environment, can we also detect unattractive grids – not to mention self-centeredness and offensive behavior – that are now entering the language and ways displayed in our media? As if beauty no longer really had a place in our lives.
So when we are in the soup of negativity, do we give ourselves time to open up to beauty?
“What is this life, full of care,
We don’t have time to get up and watch …
No time to look at Beauty’s look,
And look at her feet, how she can dance.
No time to wait until his mouth can
Enrich that smile that started his eyes.
A poor life like that, full of care,
We don’t have time to get up and watch. (William Henry Davies)
Effect of cultural change on us
I wonder if we lose something else by losing beauty. Something that I would describe as a deeper perception of what is good and innocent in life.
Maybe we need to rethink the wisdom of the ancients.
According to Plato, beauty, as justice and kindness, is an eternally existing entity.
He said that he exists forever, regardless of changing ideas and social circumstances.
This would mean that beauty exists, even if there was no one around to notice it.
Light needs millions of years to travel long distances to reach our telescopes.
So, now we see the beauty of the stars as they were before the existence of man.
I would say that beauty is what underlies the reality of innocence – the innocence of absolute Love.
You know on the earth and all are you need to know. “