When the world was still in its infancy, a ball of rock, fire and poisonous gasses, Rationality didn’t exist, Justice didn’t exist, but Beauty could still be found everywhere. In the lakes and rivers of lava spewing their clouds of sulfur and methane, on the black frozen rock, unformed, free from any definition. Beauty was there from the beginning.
Then rain came. Water. The foundation of Life. Water nourished matter, molecules were energized by its power, they drew “breath” for the first time, they multiplied.
Still, there was no Justice, no Rationality, nothing could be defined and spoiled by narrowness of imagination or feeling. There was no Rationality in the raindrops, they just fell. There was no Justice in the formation of the first multi-cellular organism, specs of matter simply acted and reacted with each other, unknowing of their existence. It was energy, pure energy combining by primeval forces that had no meaning or clear purpose, it just was. Water didn’t chose who it benefited, or why. It fed all. It gave all, freely and without judgement.
Justice came later, much later. Justice was a product or rational thought. It was an invention of early man, who realized that we were stronger together, stronger as a group. Justice was a tool for survival. People needed assurance that those who seek to divide the group, to interrupt their fragile union by thinking only of themselves and putting their personal needs and desires above those of the group, would be taught a lesson. They needed to know that their part, however small, in the survival of the group, would be equaled with a share of the spoils of their combined labor, that no one would be left out. Rationality paved the way for Justice and Justice made sure that the group would endure, that their unity would remain unbroken, that they would survive.
Seeing how valuable rational thought had been in the formation of the group, in setting the framework for organized societies to exist, for civilization to be born, man misunderstood its usefulness. The Wise Man thought that he can define everything with it, even Beauty. The necessity for definition confined it. What was once pure and unrestrained, was now carefully put into boxes of the mind. Slowly, the definition became narrower and narrower, setting rules, scales, measurements, reason, even imagination, as the arbitrary confines of Beauty. The definition of Beauty became more important than Beauty itself. To create the “artist”, the Wise Man ended up killing “Art” itself.
But Beauty was already there, unbound, abundant. An expression of the Sun’s energy into form, texture and color.
One would say “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. But were there no Beauty before the beholder? Is a Hura tree not beautiful without any explorer to observe it? This pompous idea that the Universe is bound to man’s consciousness is preposterous. Its more of a testament to man’s illusion of grandeur, than an absolute truth. No, Beauty was there way before man was ever able to perceive it. It was there when the primal forces exploded into space-time, it was there on the gas clouds of nebulas, on the formation of stars, on the flight of asteroids, it was there when the first plants fed from our sun and the sky turned blue. Beauty was already there before there was anyone to observe it. Beauty is not bound to the subjective, because the subjects are Beauty’s manifestations, its consequence. Beauty is not bound by the objective either, because Beauty cannot be defined, it has no structure, follows no rules, it pre-exists all and therefore cannot be either defined by mere subjective half-truths or by narrow objective descriptions, divisions and categorizations.
Its clear that Beauty pre-exists the beholder. A beautiful painting IS still beautiful, before you see it subjectively. Because seeing “subjectively”, one uses experience and personality in order too define anything , which is an arbitrary way of “seeing” since it can only infer on preference, which in turn relates closer to the person, than the object he/she wishes to define. These preferences are created by past experiences, and everyone’s past experiences depend on geography, where one is, the historical period when the person is alive, when one is, and environmental factors throughout one’s life. One who is clueless of Art, in the sense that he has had no significant previous stimuli to artistic expression, might not see Beauty in a painting, but that says more about the person’s lack of experiences, than the painting itself.
Our idea of subjective reality stems from our inability to connect with each others experiences beyond what words can describe. Our inability to see from each others eyes. One can only view the world from his/her eyes, and the judgement of what he/she sees is defined by previous experience, therefore any other person who wishes to understand what another means by Beauty, is limited to his own experiences, unable to derive the same meaning or ideal of Beauty, thus creating his own different idea of what Beauty is, based on his experiences which differ entirely from any others. Then he comes to the false conclusion that Beauty is subjective. But that does not mean that Beauty is subjective, it is just proof of man’s inability to connect with his fellow men beyond language, beyond description of what he or she sees. His efforts to do so have led to the creation of Art, forms of expression beyond the limitations of words, but still unable to connect men at a level that surpasses their individuality and celebrates their oneness.
The gift of vision is not enough to define Reality, or Beauty for that matter, but without it it would be impossible to even try. For without vision, even Reality can come to be questioned.
Aesthetics and Beauty are not the same, and it is a mistake of the mind to think that one can be defined by the other. Vision works in a peculiar manner. The inverted images of one’s vision, that enter the brain through our eyes, creating bursts of electricity that go surging from one synapse to the next, awakening feelings which themselves are derived by experiences, cannot be limited by narrow definitions of Beauty. It is absurd. Feeling cannot be judged, it can be studied but not understood, not really, not in its entirety. Like water, its essence remains unique to the person who experiences it, its benefits also and everything feeds from it separately. One can describe it, but not share it, not really, not in its entirety.
Wise Plato said that “What is Reasonable is also Just”. In this way, Beauty is unfair, Unjust. For Beauty, does not follow Reason, or can be defined by it, it just is, and therefore, if Beauty cannot be reasoned, it can never be Just.
Our tools of the mind, the ones that helped us survive, thrive and strengthen our bonds, cannot be used to measure Infinity. Look around you, Beauty is everywhere, infinite, overwhelming. Maybe we are rushing too fast, maybe our minds are trapped in multitudes of thought, but once we are calm we can see it. When reasoning and our need to justify what we see in terms of quality fades, when we stop measuring, comparing and scaling what is all around us, we can see it unravel perfectly in its true form. What our eyes see bounces back as an intense feeling of longing, and belonging, of oneness and humbleness. Only then we realize, it was always there.