Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Beauty and Victory

I am sorry to see that my friend Alt doesn’t appreciate my philosophical repose in the midst of an election I am deeply interested in (this means, among other things, that he confuses theory with philosophy; dangerous, that). I know the game’s afoot. Therefore, to things beautiful. Beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder. Human beings recognize it by a sort of natural intuition and a natural pleasure. There are many forms, from the antiphonal birdsong, to the color and shapes of flowers, to the Mona Lisa and David; and then the stars. This is not to deny that man-made things cannot be beautiful; even the words that they use in their attempt to pierce the object they behold. So Romeo says (upon seeing Juliet for the first time): "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright." Never mind what Enobarbus says about Cleopatra when she appears on the wharf; you might be too young to handle it. The point is that all beautiful things are good for you and, sometimes (perhaps always?) a participation in, yes, even a look at, will swell the soul with joy. Then, you may to turn to other lovely sights (such as the slaying of political opponents in battle) with a deeper appreciation of those human qualities that both allow you to see the beautiful, and sometimes even to make it. There, beauty and victory become one. That is not theory, it is philosophy, and "There is nothing ill that can dwell in such a temple."

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