One of the most beautiful, honest and loving ways you will ever hear anyone speak of nature. Sigh! Goethe speaks to my heart and soul! I wish more people could see the world the way he did.
Today I watched a very interesting BBC documentary on a painting that has always fascinated me. It is beautiful and eerie, yet there is something peaceful and hopeful about it. A kind of acceptance of the dance of life in humans and nature. It pleases me to see human beings living so closely with the creatures of nature since it is the habit of the modern world to put them in such great opposition. I understand it is so close it could make someone uncomfortable to even look at it. It seems unorderly and uncivilized. I see there is something of the sensual pushed to its extreme in this painting, a kind of decadence run wild, while there is a kind of child-like innocence to it all. All of the people in it are adults, there are no children yet all these adults seem so child-like to me. It may have an element of something creepy in the garden but the creepiness is defused by the playfulness of it. What a happy thought, adults finding themselves in touch with nature and their child-like playfulness is this garden of delights. There is a balance to the middle painting despite its chaotic nature. I would even venture to say it is a chaos filled with intelligent design. The people in the middle all seem to be throbbing together in a dance of celebration, of life…a desire for excess perhaps, a desire to party and be party animals…so much so that it is hard to tell who is the animal and who is the human but all the same their desire for this joy, this bliss, this ecstasy is a renewal of their child-like sensual power…it is a desire for something to free itself. A desire for all they have been told is ugly and wrong about them to feel calm and at ease. When I look at the middle scene of this painting there is something cathartic and healing about it. In some way the painting seems to give one permission to live…to know their desire for that renewal is innocent but to also realize you are no longer a child playing, you are an adult so when you set your shadow free again it may be a little creepy, it may be a bit unacceptable, it may even have a little element of something sinister but the intention is innocent, the desire for sensual freedom at heart is innocent. These are my thoughts for the moment on the Garden of Earthly Delights. Though I know it is a painting I could look at time and time again and see so much more in what it is telling us. If you would like to hear more amazing thoughts on this painting check out the video I am posting from the BBC, it is very insightful! Then feel free to share your own thoughts about it. Like the scholar on the video tells us we really know so little about what Bosch himself was thinking while he painted it so in that lack of knowing there is a freedom for our imaginations, feelings and reason to play with the images. I would love to know where it takes you.
I would part ways to a small degree with some of the philosophical ideas, however, in the end I fully agree with his thesis on the importance of Beauty in the lives of human beings and how the modern era lost touch with it. I would want to add more about what is sexy, sexual, can be sacred and beautiful as well. Also, I would want to include the love of people of the same sex and other queer folks to be included in the beautiful, not just love of a man and woman. I would also like to attempt to show the importance of earthly things as beautiful. I feel like Plato’s concepts of beauty are too limited in scope. He comes across as using beauty as an escape from reality, the ideal takes you away from this world. Which is all fine and good sometimes, it can be good medicine in times of suffering, however, there is so much beauty in earthy things…I like the painter he discusses that finds beauty in the every day world of things, even in the face of the elderly. I’m just glad to know there are people out there who still understand how important beauty is to the human condition and want to do what they can to reinvent that idea.
“The human soul needs beauty more than bread.” -D.H.Lawrence
I love Emily Dickinson’s poetry and had to share this poem! She had such a strong connection with nature and a profound love of all things beautiful. She loved Beauty with such passion that she would die for it, as she expresses in this poem. She also addresses the philosophical idea of the interconnection between Beauty and Truth. Keats once said “Truth is Beauty, Beauty is Truth”. Enjoy the reading. It is a brilliant masterpiece! Emily deserves all the immortality she ever gained for the prose she shared with us.
I have to share this video of Jason Silva as well! This is the first one I watched by him today. I love the philosophical concept of Awe or in some circles it is known as The Sublime. Jason has some wonderful thoughts on how the brain, consciousness, is affected by experiences of Awe. I have to say a lot of it is pretty right on. Speaking from personal experience those moments which leave you with your mouth gaping open and your heart skips a beat really do change you forever. I would agree those incredible glimpses of Beauty really do have the ability to create more empathy and compassion in a human being. As an artist, poet and philosopher I have found Beauty to be something I desire to express with an incredible amount of passion. Beauty is right up there with Truth and Love. D.H. Lawrence, once said “The human soul needs Beauty more than bread”. Indeed, without Beauty we would be no where as a human species. It is one of the greatest driving forces of human kind, in all of its forms. Right up there with desire and love. If you have never read any of Darwin’s ideas on the significance of Beauty connected to survival and evolution I suggest checking them out as well.
I want to be Jason’s friend! I would love to hear any ideas this video brings up for you readers out there!
How does a person know something to be true? What does it take to call something a truth? Does this philosophical question even matter to you? Are all claims of knowledge as truth a way to create security in the human mind? Are claims of truth really a form of control? What does it mean to say something is true? Are all truths really beliefs? Do all the things we call truth come down to faith in the end? Are the truths of science any more valid/ valuable then someones feelings, intuitions or instincts? Are ‘facts’ more valuable then wisdom? Does ancestral knowledge have any place in our modern perception of truth? Do claims have to be proven by reason or logic to be true?