Thursday, 18 June 2020

Highly Responsive to Prayers

Everyone has people that they respect so much that they wish to emulate that person. Real, fictional, historical; when we see someone we respect it is an instinctual response to want to become like them in some way. This is how children (and adults, but less so) learn moral codes: by emulating a senior's actions and thoughts whenever that person does or says something that catches their heart. What will catch their heart in such a way has some amount of randomness to it, but there is an underlying and objective pool of "good" that they will natural recognise as so, even if they could not come to the same conclusion independently.

The primary way in which we will emulate the good we see in the world is aesthetically driven: we do not and could not describe lexically the essence of the good that we see, but we understand it inherently. This causes us to emulate others wholesale, unable to carve out the pure good and understanding the surrounding decoration of the message as integral to the whole. An example of this is the young boy's obsession with warfare and weaponry. The vision of heroic soldiers and warriors as the epitome of masculine goodness is an inventory of both the moral and personal ideas (the important part) and the aesthetic baggage of swords and steel that are tied to them. This is by no means a bad thing, and as one grows up he will be able to whittle these ideas into purer forms, removing the aesthetic chaff to grasp at the inner core. This process, of course, must then be reversed in order for him to relay these ideas along to others.

I understand this aesthetic resonance by giving it the name "beauty". The beautiful is something that captivates in a way that will always prevail over both logic and animal emotion. It is almost never immediately obvious the cause of beauty, and that lack of understanding may be the very cause of it in the first place. Through beauty is how we respect, and without respect there is no passage to learn. This is why we do not respect or even consider the words of a madman or a layman, for their message is not beautiful. But once that same message is enshrined in the beautiful, it become at once obvious. We don't pay ear to the proselytiser on the street, for common consensus has branded them as unclean, but have that same message be relayed from the pulpit of a grand cathedral and many more heads would be swayed. This effect, of course is countered by the higher beauties. Many today see upmost beauty in science, which, in its diametric opposition to modern Christianity, has neutered the beauty that was once under sole purvey of the church.

Some may argue that this high resonance with beauty is something that is lost in the hyper-logical minds of the modern adult, and is now surely the domain of children and the hopeless romantics. I would say that this is narrow-minded in the definition of beauty. My idea of beauty stands as the very definition of personal taste and of opinion and respect. None may exist without the spark of the beautiful. The word "beauty" is usually used in an old-fashioned sense, most commonly linked with the ideas of the Enlightenment and especially of Romanticism (in Britain). But that same feeling, that same spark we get from these sources can be tagged to many a mundane sensation. The beauty of political rhetoric and narrative, the beauty of scientific propaganda or the beauty of carnally sexual advertisement. All of these things grab our attention and our soul, and if they truly capture it, can give us new outlooks on the world.

Beauty as a weapon is a topic for another time, but sufficed to say that beauty has been a weapon since time immemorial, and it is the only weapon at our disposal we can use to change others' hearts. To seek out beauty is too seek out wisdom, and to deny beauty is to deny the meaning of life.

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