The sense of the beautiful

I enjoyed the stunning portraiture of Annie Leibovitz at a show in San Francisco, November 2003

I enjoyed the stunning portraiture of Annie Leibovitz in San Francisco, November 2003

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In the centuries since Goethe penned this sound advice, it has become infinitely easier to do the things he suggests.  In fact, one can do all of them in a short session at the computer.  The problem we face today is sorting through all the wholesome and unwholesome distractions that threaten to derail our attention to the beautiful.  Besides which, though the computer is definitely the most convenient way to enjoy great works, it can never replace the joy of physically strolling through a gallery, sitting in the audience at an orchestra or theater performance, or relaxing with a book of poetry in bed or in an outdoor setting.

In an age where people are given to neglecting the health of the body, it’s not surprising that nourishment of the mind and soul also languish.  Just as our stomach sends us unmistakable messages that tell us when it’s time to eat, so the agitation and conflict we often feel tell us that we need to take time to feed our minds and our souls.  I hope you will make time, today and every day, to heed your sense of the beautiful calling you to a higher awareness.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. mike c.

    Have you heard the phrase, curiosity cured the ,”Yankee.” Heard this for the first time with one of my patient visitors. I guess it has the same connotation as a carpetbagger?
    Did i tell you about our hike to Lake Zweller out of Dahlonega? Beautiful site. I was kind of surprised the town was so empty, quiet and basically, “shut down.” I guess Governor Kemp’s edicts are working as there have been no flareups the last week. He and our home governor in Washington- Governor Insley are about as opposite as North and South poles could be. I went to Wallmart last week and about half the folks were wearing masks- scary.

    • Actually, I’ve never heard that phrase. But it could well have come out of the carpetbagger era. Re: masks– I wear one whenever I go out, but I’m not convinced it’s totally effective. I saw a funny meme that showed a chain link fence and said “A mask looks to a virus like a chain link fence looks to a mosquito.” I still have Jeff’s old military gas mask. Maybe I should drag that out and wear it to the grocery store just for fun.

  2. mike c.

    I have not read any poetry for a time, but do enjoy music on the laptop. Mostly gospel. My little book is coming along- “Biggest Booger in the World.” I thought booger was spelled bugger but i think that is an English obscenity.
    Did you ever visit the Marietta art museum?
    Oh– I got laid off yesterday at Wellstar. I can’t really talk about it yet as i am still in kind of a shock mode,

    • You’re right about the British obscenity. Not only have I never been to the Marietta art museum; I didn’t even know there was one. I grew up in East Point and most of my ventures into northwest or northeast Atlanta and environs were confined to shopping centers.

      I’m sorry to hear about your getting laid off. It’s probably cold comfort to know that you are among millions of others. Although I think it would be much more demoralizing to be let go from a job when unemployment was at record lows as it was so recently. Hopefully you will find something better, or be able to return, sometime relatively soon.

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