It’s really important to fill your life with beauty. Particularly because we live in such a cynical, hard-edged era.
Beauty matters. And it can take on many forms.
Art can be beautiful. It’s often trash or mediocre, but the classics will always be there, and there are contemporary artists who appreciate beauty. Pay a visit to a fine art gallery the next time you’re in a major city, or even in your local town. Art has a way of uplifting that’s almost magical, and too many of us have forgotten it.
Find the beautiful in movies and even television. Beauty will be the exception, and not the norm, but it’s always there, and production quality is better than ever before. Hunt down the exceptions.
Find beauty in novels, short stories and even poetry. Do NOT limit your reading to news or social media … please! Find beauty in biographies of beautiful people – beautiful souls. Reading biographies is one of my favorite activities. I recently finished one about Ben Franklin. Right now I’m reading one of Leonardo da Vinci. There’s no better way to access beauty than reading about the lives of people like these.
When possible, find beauty in relationships or friendships. It’s hard. We live in a cynical era where integrity doesn’t seem to matter. Integrity is crucial in a relationship or friendship – it’s the psychological and moral equivalent of the ground you walk on. People without integrity are like bridges that collapse or elevators that shoot straight to the ground. Not good! We all know people who talk about the integrity they claim to have and then proceed to display little or none of it. Those are the worst. But if you’re fortunate enough to find one or two people of high and real integrity, then you have struck gold. Treat them as such.
Find beauty in nature. But also find it in man’s creations. I enjoy nature – the ocean, the mountains, the sunset – because I realize the whole reason I’m enjoying nature is that man-made arts and sciences have made life comfortable enough for me to do so. If it weren’t for materialism and capitalism, nature would be my enemy rather than my friend. I likewise enjoy the stimulation of a place like New York, London, Las Vegas or Miami – for the amazing contrast such places have provided to the nature surrounding them. Such cities are monuments to human achievement on earth, despite nature and the threats it can pose.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in the Western, civilized world, then you are – materially speaking – living in the best era ever. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Aristotle would all rightly envy you for your comforts in the twenty-first century. Intellectually and psychologically, however, it’s SO not the Renaissance, and so not the Enlightenment. But by appreciating and enjoying the material comforts you have, and making sure you bring beauty into your life every day, you will live the greatest life imaginable.
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