Any Idiot Can Pulverize a Statue, but It Takes a Real Genius to Create Ugly Art
That is, the objects of the world both illuminate, and are illuminated by, the soul. That's a very weird way to run a cosmos, but I wouldn't want to have it any other way, because I am convinced that this is an echo of the Trinity. You are free to call it something other than trinitarian if you like, but you must face the fact that knowledge is an endless perichoretic samba.
Perichoresis is pretty much my new favorite word -- lots of provocative stuff in the wiki article. Through a spontaneous series of clicks, I was just now led to an observation by theologian David Schindler:
"If you would understand yourself, open your mind to the Creator whose first gift to you is your existence. Then testify to what you see." That would be the ultimate instance -- or the very ground -- of recognizing the swirling harmony between being, existence, and knowledge.
Beauty can never be separated from this process. Taylor cites the example of a medieval village, which does not conform "to an imposed grid planned by a city engineer," but rather, to the "spontaneous impulse of builders in relation to the different sizes of the shops and houses.... along the rising and falling rural roads that yielded to the contours of the countryside..."
That brings back memories of Christopher Alexander. A memoir of the future to go along with Alexander's vertical recollection.
Such vertical re-cognition is "the genesis of aesthetic pleasure" (Eco). Moreover, it is "the connection between sense and intellect that precedes scientific knowledge." It is where we start our journey into world and self.
Both science and poetry begin in aesthetic arrest. Which can be taken in two ways, because some aesthetic sensibilities are more developmentally arrested than others, e.g., atheistic materialism, an ugly metaphysic to complement an unattractive soul. Beautiful souls -- expansive, open, fluid, grateful, bewondered -- spontaneously enquire elsewhy for their idiom.
But no matter how complicated you try to make things, It's always in the first place you look!
This is why, as Eco says, art may "simultaneously instruct and delight" -- except that I would say "must," since this is the sufficient reason of art. Unless you are one of those people who think the purpose of art is to produce things that are ugly and make us more stupid, e.g., a college dean or TV executive.
When I say that it's always in the first place we look, I think I mean this: that the cosmos is "a whole and living reality, significant and mysterious" (Taylor).
Note that this is the basis, the fundamental mindset, of the scientific attitude, for if the world weren't both significant and mysterious, why bother? And if the soul weren't equally significant and mysterious, why bother²?
If you really want to get to the bottamuvital, just say Creation: what is it, and how is it possible?
Again, who wants to create ugly? Doesn't ugly happen by itself? No, it takes a great deal of effort -- it's not as easy as pulverizing statues, for Modern man destroys more when he constructs than when he destroys (Don Colacho's aphorisms). It's much harder to be a performance artist than an Islamist barbarian. That's the work of an instant, whereas Madonna is the work of a lifetime.
It's orthoparadoxicality², in that so much beauty just happens by itself. Man has always recognized this: the moment there was a man, there was a soul noticing the beauty of the sky, the mountains, the sea, that cute girl over there. And The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion the beauty of a face (Don Colacho). But the wife can try to capture it with her delicate new camera:
Here's another one I like. The laws of biology alone do not have fingers delicate enough to fashion another Johnny Bench, but at least he can try: