The poet does not create beauty,
as in “bring into existence.”
the poet to Itself.
The poet is simply privileged
to partake of It –
to participate with It
in the illumination of some Truth:
that Beauty exists on It’s own.
Collette Kristevski, 3/30/2019
I was inspired to write this poem while thinking about beauty and it’s significance. As someone who writes poetry and does some drawing and painting, I would like to think that I’m the type of person who is able to see beauty in seemingly mundane, everyday things – even things that are obviously imperfect. However, I am also a tidy, clean and perfectionistic person, and often want to “perfect” what does not live up to my ideal. But when I am able to reframe imperfections in my environment as having meaning and beauty somehow, it becomes less burdensome on me, and lessens my intense need to tidy up or perfect things. On further examination though, I’ve come to recognize that beauty is not necessarily created, but that it exists on it’s own, apart from any creating or perfecting on my part. I just don’t always have the eyes to see it. The Greek adjective “kalos” is an interesting word because it can be rendered as “beautiful” or as “good.” In the Orthodox Christian faith, which I am a part of, we elevate beauty sort of as an all-encompassing term to refer to not just what is beautiful, but also what is True and Good. It refers, ultimately, to God Himself and to His will or purpose for His creation. In fact, the most primary text about Orthodox spirituality is called the Philokalia, which means “love of beauty.” And so I was pondering what it means to create art since art is often referenced as a means by which we create beauty. Perhaps art, in the most genuine sense of the word, is not art because someone made something beautiful, but because through the “creating” of the art, the artist was actually participating with the beauty that was already present. They simply illuminated it, or made it more obviously available, for all to see. Now, I definitely don’t claim to create art in this genuine sense. But it is a worthy standard to aspire to. If I can make art that gives a sense of enormity and infinity, of what is God and True and Beautiful – only then can I claim to be an artist or poet.
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An interesting post, which reminded me of certain Platonic ideas.
That makes sense considering that Platonism was the dominant intellectual philosophical worldview at the time that the ancient church father’s were writing their epistles and theology. They used platonic concepts sometimes as a way to explicate doctrine to a society that was immersed in that worldview. Sort of like how many Western Christian philosophers use analytic philosophy or continental philosophy or phenomenology these days. Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comment.
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Thank you, Collette.
Though I wonder if ascending toward perfect forms of the good or beauty (agathon / kalon ) perhaps was easier to believe in such a beautiful place as ancient Greece?
I’m sure you’re probably right. Beauty seems to beget more beauty. That’s probably one of the reasons why the most well-known monastery in the world recides there at Mount Athos. It’s a good environment for spiritual ascent.
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