My mind is my shelter


“Through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home, and we come to understand our own nature, as spiritual beings.”

“Beauty is a value, as important as truth and goodness”

„By losing beauty there is the danger that we will lose the meaning of life.”

“Through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home, and we also come to understand our own nature, as spiritual beings.”

“Beauty matters. It’s not just a subjective thing, but a universal need of human beings. If we ignore that need we find ourselves in a spiritual desert. We need to find our path out of that desert, as it is the path that leads to home.”

„The great artists of the past were aware that human life was full of chaos and suffering. Their remedy for this was beauty. The beautiful work of art brings consolation in sorrow and affirmation in joy. It shows human life to be worthwhile.

[Some sacrifice beauty for what is shocking]. “But what is shocking the first time round is boring and vacuous when repeated”

[People my try to be more at ease in the world that they are given, but being at ease with “what is” is not done by wallowing in it, but by approaching it with a new understanding and then moving beyond it. Looking at “what is” is also about, and sometimes it is mainly about, seeing what it is not. This is often how we get to see what the truth is and where it can be found, so that we can move into it. – FL]

[Art needs technique and optics, and it’s true that these are merely a means to an end. Art is the end. In order for technique and optics not to become the end, one is not to deny technique and optics, nor give them up completely, but simply make sure they remain the means – by approaching them the right way and by not allowing them to turn from the means into the end – FL]

Creative art is not achieved simply by having an idea. Of course, ideas can be interesting an amusing, but this does not justify the appropriation of the label art. If a work of art were nothing more than an idea, anybody could be an artist and any object could be a work of art. There would be no longer any need for skill, taste or creativity.”

Art needs creativity. And creativity is about sharing. It is a call to others to see the world as the artist sees it. That is why we find beauty in the naive art of children. Children are not giving us ideas in the place of creative images. Nor are they wallowing in ugliness. They are trying to affirm the world as they see it and to affirm what they feel. Something of the child’s pure delight in creation survives in every true work of art. But creativity is not enough, and the skill of the true artist is to show the real in the light of the ideal, and so transfigure it. This is what Michelangelo achieved in his great portrayal of David.”

There are standards of beauty which have a firm base in human nature, and we need to look for them and build them into our lives.

„Maybe people have lost their faith in beauty because they have lost their faith in ideals. „All there is”, they’re tempted to think, „is the world of appetite”. There are no values, except the utilitarian ones. “Something is of value if it has a use“, they think. “And what’s the use of beauty?” But people need ‘useless’ things just as much as, even more than, things they need for their use. Think of the use of love, of friendship, of worship.
Wordsworth wrote:Getting and spending we lay waste our powers.

„Beauty is assailed from two directions: by the cult of ugliness in (the current) arts and by the cult of utility in everyday life. These two cults come together in the world of modern architecture. At the turn of the twentieth century, architects, like artists, began to be impatient with beauty and to put utility in its place. The greatest crime against beauty that the world has yet seen is the crime of architecture. The results prove clearly that if you consider only utility the things you build will soon be useless.

“Put usefulness first and you lose it. Put beauty first, and what you do will be useful forever.”

“Ornaments liberate us form the tyranny of the useful and satisfy our need for harmony. They make us feel at home. They remind us that we have more that practical needs, we are not just governed by animal needs, we have spiritual and moral needs, too, and if those needs go unsatisfied, so do we.”

“We all know what it is like, even in the everyday world, suddenly to be transported, by the things we see, from the ordinary world of the appetites to the illuminated sphere of contemplation. These are timeless moments, when we feel the presence of another, entire world. The experience of beauty is calling us to the divine.

“Beauty is the sign of another, higher order. Beholding beauty with the eye of the mind you will be able to nourish true virtue and become the friend of God.”Plato

“Lust is about taking. Love is about giving. Lust brings out the ugliness in human relations. To reach the source of beauty we must overcome lust.”

“Longing without lust is what we mean today by ‘platonic love’. When we find beauty in a youthful person it is because we glimpse the light of eternity shining in those features from a heavenly source beyond this world. The beautiful human form is an invitation to unite with it spiritually, not physically. Our feeling for beauty is, therefore, a religious, and not a sensual, emotion.”

“Beauty is a visitor from another world. We can do nothing with it, save contemplate its pure radiance. Anything else pollutes and desecrates it, destroying its sacred aura.” – Plato

The Birth of Venus_Sandro Botticelli

“The early Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli, illustrates Plato’s theory in his famous panting “The Birth of Venus”, Goddess of erotic love. Venus looks to the world from a place beyond desire. She is inviting us to transcend our earthly appetites and unite with her through the pure love of beauty. Beauty is to be contemplated, and not possessed. Plato and Botticelli are telling us that beauty lies beyond sexual desire, so we can find beauty not only in a desirable young person, but also in a face full of age, grief and wisdom, such as Rembrandt painted.”


“The beauty of a face is a symbol of the life expressed in it. It is flesh become spirit, and in fixing our eyes on it we seem to see right through into the soul. Painters like Rembrandt are important for showing us that beauty is an ordinary, everyday kind of thing. It lies all around us, we need only the eyes to see it and the hearts to feel. The most ordinary thing can be made into something beautiful by a painter [or by the one] who can see into the heart of things.”

“Beauty is the revelation of God in the here and now.”

“At the heart of Newton’s universe is a god-shaped hole, a spiritual vacuum. And one philosopher in particular set out to fill this vacuum – The Third Earl of Shaftesbury: „Science explains things, but its account of the world is in one way incomplete. We can see the world from another perspective, not seeking to use it or explain it, but simply contemplating its appearance.” It does not take a work of art to present us with the beauty of the world. We simply need to look on things with clear eyes and free emotions. Shaftesbury is telling us to „stop using things, stop explaining them and exploiting them, but look at them, instead. Then we will understand what they mean.” The message of the flower is the flower. Zen Buddhists have said similar things: only by leaving our interests and business to one side do we encounter the real truth. Seeing things that way will discover their beauty.”

Kant argued that the experience of beauty comes when we put our interests to one side, when we look on things not in order to use them for our purposes, or to explain how they work, or to satisfy some need or appetite, but simply to absorb them and to endorse what they are. Consider the joy you might feel when you hold a friend’s baby in your arms. You do not want to do anything with the baby: you don’t want to eat it, put it to any use or conduct scientific experiments on the baby. You want simply to look at it and feel the great surge of delight that comes when you focus all your thoughts on this baby and none at all on yourself. This is a disinterested attitude. And it is attitude that underlies our experience of beauty.”

“Everybody, listening to a beautiful piece of music, looking at a sublime landscape, reading a poem which seems to contain the essence of the thing it describes, says: “Yes, this is enough”.

“The encounter with beauty is so vivid, so immediate, so personal that it seems hardly to belong to the ordinary world. Yet, beauty shines on us from ordinary things. Is it a feature of the world, or a figment of the imagination? Most of the times our lives are organized by our everyday concerns. But every now and then we find ourselves jolted out of our complacency, in the presence of something vastly more important than our immediate desires and interests, something not of this world. Philosophers have tried to capture the peculiar way in which beauty dawns on us, like a sudden ray of sunlight or a surge of love. For Plato, the only explanation of such an experience was its transcendental origin: “Beauty speaks to us like the voice of God.” Kant believed that “the experience of beauty connects us to the ultimate mystery of being. Through beauty we are brought into the presence of the sacred.”

“Philosophers and artists have had good reasons to connect the beautiful and the sacred and to see our need for beauty as something deep in our nature, part of our longing for consolation in a world of danger, sorrow and distress. Today, many artists look on the idea of beauty with disdain, a leftover from a vanished way of living, which has no real connection with the world which now surrounds us. So there has been a desire to desecrate the experiences of sex and death by displaying them in trivial and impersonal ways, to destroy all sense of their spiritual significance. Just as those who lose their religion have the urge to mock the faith they have lost, so do artists today feel an urge to treat human life in demeaning ways and to mock the pursuit of beauty. This willful desecration is also a denial of love, an attempt to remake the world as though love were no longer a part of it – and this seems to be the most important feature of our postmodern culture: it is a loveless culture, determined to portray the human world as unlovable.”

Crucifixion (Crocifissione) Andrea Mantegna

“This habit of dwelling on the distress of human life isn’t new. From the beginning of the civilization it has been one of the tasks of art to take what is most painful in the human condition and to redeem it in a work of beauty. Art has the ability to redeem life by finding beauty even in the worst aspect of things. Mantegna’s crucifixion, displaying the cruelest and ugliest of deaths, achieves a kind of majesty and serenity, it redeems the horror that it shows. In the face of death, human beings can still feel compassion, nobility and dignity. And art helps us to accept death by presenting it in such a light.”


“What about things which are not tragic, but merely sordid or depraved? Can art find beauty even here? This painting by Delacroix shows us the artist’s bed, in all its sordid disorder. He, too, is bringing beauty to a thing that lacks it, and is bestowing a kind of blessing on his own emotional chaos. Delacroix is inviting us to “see how these sweat stained sheets record the troubled dreams, the tormented energy of the person who has left them, and how the light picks them out, as though they were still animated by the sleeper.” The bed is transformed by the creative act, to become something else: a vivid symbol of the human condition, and one which makes a bond between us and the artist.”

“There is all the difference in the world between the real work of art, which makes ugliness beautiful, and the fake work of art, which shares the ugliness that it shows – such as modern life, presented in all its randomness and disorder. How can something be a beautiful work of art if it makes no attempt to transform the raw material of an idea? It is just one sordid reality among others.”
“If you saw Tracey Emin’s bed you would just walk on, but if you saw even just the Torso of Apollo Belvedere you would be arrested by it” – Alexander Stoddart

Torso_Apollo Belvedere

“The standardized desecration that passes for art these days is a kind of immorality, because it is an attempt to obliterate meaning from the human form”Roger Scruton

“…and it is also an attempt to obliterate knowledge” – Alexander Stoddart

“The art establishment has turned away from the old curriculum, which put beauty and craft at the top of the agenda. Those like Alexander Stoddart, who try to restore the age-old connection between the beautiful and the sacred, are seen as old-fashioned and absurd. The same kind of criticism is aimed at traditionalists in architecture. One target is Leon Krier, architect of the Prince of Wales model town of Poundbury. Designing modest streets, laid out in traditional ways, using the well-tried and much loved details that have served us down the centuries, Leo Krier has created a genuine settlement. The proportions are human proportions and the details are restful to the eye. It is not great or original architecture, nor does it try to be. It is a modest attempt to get things right. It is not nostalgia, but knowledge, passed on from age to age. Architecture that does not respect the past is not respecting the present, because it is not respecting people’s primary need from architecture: to build a long standing home.”

“By following the call of beauty, artists and architects give our world meaning. The masters of the past recognized we have spiritual needs, as well as animal appetites. For Plato beauty was a path to God, while thinkers of the enlightenment saw art and beauty as ways in which we save ourselves from meaningless routines and rise to a higher level.”

“But art turned its back to beauty. It became a slave to the consumer culture, feeding our pleasures and addictions and wallowing in self-disgust. That is the lesson of the ugliest forms of modern art and architecture: they do not show reality but take revenge on it, spoiling what might have been a home and leaving us to wander, unconsoled and alienated, in a spiritual desert.”

Of course it is true that there is much in the world today that distracts and troubles us. Our lives are full with leftovers, we battle through noise and distractions, and nothing resolves. The right response, however, is not to endorse this alienation, it is to look for the path back from the desert, to a place where the real and the ideal may still exist in harmony.”

“Art shows us that suffering is the destiny of all of us, but it is not the end.”

“Beauty is an essential resource. Through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home and, in doing so, we both amplify our joys and find consolation for our sorrows. Art shines a light of meaning on ordinary life and through art we are able to confront the things that trouble us and find consolation and peace in their presence.”

“The sacred and the beautiful stand side by side: two doors that open onto a single space, and in that space we find our home”

Why Beauty Matters – Roger Scruton

De ce contează frumusețea – Roger Scruton – Vimeo – subtitrare în limba română

Roger ScrutonRoger Scruton – Wikipedia



This entry was posted on 06/02/2016 by in Art, Inspiring views, Spirituality, Various.
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