I believe that the recovery of beauty is important as a movement toward healing the wound in the modern psyche caused by the separation of appearance and being. The symptom of this separation, Cartesian doubt of the world, reveals the anxiety of consciousness without a home. Without a sense of dwelling, the modern mind is constantly on a journey, incessantly focused upon the horizon in search of meaning. The purpose of the recovery would be to bring consciousness back to dwelling. When meaning is seen in appearance at hand, then beauty provides a habitat for consciousness. Henri Corbin refers to beauty as the ‘supreme theophany, divine self-revelation.’ The Neoplatonists regard beauty as simply manifestation, the display of phenomena, appearances as such, created as they are, in the forms that they are given. To paraphrase Heidegger, things thing, occurrences occur, worlds world because they are beautiful. James Hillman declares finally that beauty and soul are inherently connected. ‘Soul is born in beauty, and feeds on beauty and requires beauty for its life.’ When psyche appears, then beauty is revealed; where the voluptuous eye is attracted, there is soul…..Ronald Schenk
this crisp, clean perfection we seek does not exist….yet, if we forget who we are for a moment, we find beauty’s perfect expression in the hand we’re holding, in the breathless cheeks of a messy kid, in the dying tree that holds its own soul for all to see……beauty is the beam of love, ugly, raw, persistent, sweet, edgy, present and seeping everywhere….
In pursuing what we mean by beauty we are obstructed by the word beauty itself. It strikes the ear as so effete, so ineffectual, lovely, and etheric, so far removed from the soul’s desperate concerns. We must press beyond our usual ideas of beauty that have held the imagination captive to heavenly notions only, Aphrodite Urania, and away from the world of sense in which Aphrodite was always immanent. As well, these lofty ideas have mystified revelation into an eschatological expectation: revelation comes as an epiphany that must shatter the sensate world only when we cannot sense the revelation in the immediate presentation of things as they are. As the Gods are given with creation so is their beauty in creation, and is the essential condition of ‘creation as manifestation.’ Beauty is the manifest anima mundi- and do notice here it is neither transcendent to the manifest or hiddenly immanent within, but refers to appearances as such, created as they are, in the forms with which they are given, sense data, bare facts, Venus Nudata. Aphrodite’s beauty refers to the luster of each particular event; its clarity, its particular brightness; that particular things appear at all and in the form in which they appear…..James Hillman
When we surrender to beauty, when we let ourselves be dazzled and transported by it, we experience relief, and we grow, since growth occurs only when we have the courage to abandon whatever in us is stale and obsolete. No cause for alarm- we will return to the familiar prison walls- that prison which, paradoxically, we love so much, because it gives us, not only oppression, but security and some degree of comfort as well. Yet at least we will know the world is bigger than we thought. We will feel nourished and renewed and less rigid. We will be a little more open. Or perhaps a lot more open…..Piero Ferrucci