I’ve been thinking a lot lately about aesthetics. What is beautiful, and why? What is grand? Why do sights and sounds of epic nature inspire me so? As long as we are talking about awe inspiring beauty, this image is, for me, my highest creative achievement to date. This image possesses a quality that is transcendent. I cannot view it without being deeply moved.
In C.S. Lewis’s great discourse, “The Weight Of Glory”, he discusses the phonemon of experiencing beauty, of longing. I think of the things in life that are truly transcendent… the things that cause your soul to quake…
“In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you – the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers and the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter.
These things – the beauty, the memory of our own past… they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”
I feel to side with Lewis and reverberate my personal feeling that those things of the most profound beauty – wether it be the magical music of the laugh of your own child, the envigorating scent of spring, the cosmic event of meeting and falling in love with your soul mate, the poetic female form, the majestic roar of the guitar, a photograph that captures a rare glimpse into the windows of the soul, the life giving art of a perfectly orchestrated flavors… all these are to me, the “scent”, the “echo”, the “news” of a place I have not been, yet seem to understand.