As the saying goes, ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. As I have experienced life, the relevance of this has become more and more obvious to me. Yes, when we are talking about superficial things such as the external appearance of a human being, beauty is very subjective, two people will seldom agree on the perfect man or woman because they are always looking for their exact ideal. Each of us is unique and therefore the ideal ‘man or woman’ is unique to us as well. Based on that, the saying holds true, and as I sense that was its original meaning, then who am I to contest an idiom that is so deeply entrenched in literature and general society? However, I do believe that an appreciation of beauty as a concept is more generic, and is shared by every last one of us.
I am actually thinking more about the world in general, and how much pleasure I have taken from the absolute beauty of my surroundings. From the slum dwellings rising up around the Banyan tree habit of a Sadhu in Calcutta against the natural flowing expanse of Richmond Park, to the absolute perfection of a spiders web covered in dew on a Spring morning, with the sunlight picking out the tiny rainbows within. Wherever I have gone I have seen nothing but beauty, because the world that we live in is filled to the brim with nothing else. Even the more unsightly bits such as industrial parks in the evening sun with a mist rising up mysteriously between the buildings, or the grotesque staining of mould on an old brick wall, detailed and unique patterns indelibly etched into the ceramics. They all hold their beauty if you look hard enough, for everything is created by the passing of time by humanity and nature, the world is an endless changing canvas that records the true picture of life.
I know that my opinions are not shared by all which is fine, because in some ways I like the idea that like everyone else I am unique, but the more I have looked and shared my thoughts, the more I realise that most people seem to be noticing this inherent beauty in their own way as well. Sometimes it can be difficult to extract these thoughts and opinions, as there are sociological boundaries that can stop people expressing their true feelings. Given enough time with anyone and you can see that this appreciation for the subtle nuances of the world exists and is just bubbling under the skin, waiting for an opportunity to surface, and for each of them to truly express their feelings. It is a shame that so much is hidden from the rest of us, for we have the opportunity to be truly artistic and creative, not just the few, but us all. Unfortunately it is quite often the negative and the destructive that is exposed instead, which says a lot about how we feel about our lives, but not what we truly want to experience and who we really are inside.
If you really want to get to the core of someone’s aesthetic appreciation of the world you often only need to scroll through their camera roll on their mobile phone. Between all the ‘selfies’ and photos of friends pulling poses, you will find the abstract photos of the sun glinting off a glass building, or the bubbling waters of a small brook stumbled upon on a walk. They are almost always there, and perhaps that is what we should be posting on Facebook, rather than the latest idiotic pose or smile. If you step into the world of ‘Tumblr’ you may get a better idea of what I am talking about, but it is still so hard to weed through the reposts to see what original art exists, however, it is there and a lot of people are finally finding a medium to express themselves.
Beauty is all around. I challenge everyone to find those exquisite moments and record them for the rest of us, then showcase them on the forums that are now so readily available. A world looking for beauty is a world that will grow and evolve out of this largely self-centred egotistical state we exist in, into a happier place for all.