October 06, 2002

Eye of the Beholder

Lucretius, disciple of Epicurus in the last century BC, suggests that the highest good is to fully use the senses to know that which is beautiful, that which is wondrous and brings true inner joy.

There are probably higher goods to be attained, but the joy that the senses bring when in presence of beauty is a deep root in this fragmented undertaking of a country journal.

And reading this, it seems we ain't changed much in 2000 years:

It's sweet, when winds blow wild on open seas, to watch from land your neightbor's vast travail, not that men's miseries bring us dear delight but that to see what ills we're spared is sweet; sweet, too, to watch the cruel contest of war ranging in the field when you need share no danger.

But nothing is sweeter than to dwell in peace
high in the well-walled temples of the wise,
whence looking down we may see other men
wavering, wandering, seeking a way of life,
with wit against wit, line against noble line,
contending, stiving, straining night and day,
to rise to the top of the heap, High Lord of Things.

O wretched minds of men, O poor blind hearts!
How great the perils, how dark the night of life
Where our brief hour is spent, O not to see
that nature demands no favor but that pain
be sundered from the flesh, that in the mind
be a sense of joy, ummixed with care and fear!

Posted by fred1st at October 6, 2002 05:50 PM

I guess it's the difference between "schadenfreude" (taking perverse joy in the suffering of another) and the healthy thankfulness of a grateful heart that knows "there but for the grace of God go I." It's a blessed soul that can see beauty in the world around even in the midst of trouble and suffering. It's there, if one has the grace to look for it.

Posted by: Curt at October 7, 2002 09:01 AM

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