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Author Topic: Beauty Will Save The World  (Read 944 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: April 28, 2011, 03:45:33 PM »

"Beauty will save the world." -- What does this line by Dostoevsky mean?
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« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 03:52:58 PM »

Sort of reminds me of the Michael Jackson song "we are the world", where "universal love is all we need".

ie.  All we need is love.

And our "savior turns stones into bread", which is what the Devil tempted Jesus with in the desert.

Beauty does not save the world.

Yeshua/Jesus, our savior and God saves the world.
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« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2011, 03:54:37 PM »

Sort of reminds me of the Michael Jackson song "we are the world", where "universal love is all we need".

ie.  All we need is love.

And our "savior turns stones into bread", which is what the Devil tempted Jesus with in the desert.

Beauty does not save the world.

Yeshua/Jesus, our savior and God saves the world.
Have you ever read Dostoevsky?
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 04:00:45 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

I was drinking coffee at the coffee shop last week, reading the paper, when I saw a rather rich person throw an empty coffee cup out their window, to keep the inside of car "clean" while littering an otherwise beautiful little planter full of blooming spring flowers. A few minutes later, by coincidence the gardener was out, and his young son, perhaps 11 or 12 years old, was picking up the trash.  He came by and humbly picked up the litter, making amends for the rich man's mistake.  

This is the beauty of the world, as Jesus Christ said, "Blessed are the poor, for they are rich in the Spirit, and Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth."

The Gardener clearly made much less wages than the rich man (James 5:4) and yet with sincere humility, thought it nothing to simply do his own job without complaining.  This is my interpretation of the real beauty of the world, that human beings out of real love in their hearts, can face each new day and each new task to keep the world a beautiful place, even when so many  others in their carelessness are busy trying to sabotage the effort.  But we know that pure love covers a multitude of sins.

The beauty which saves the world is that human beings, out of their sheer love of life, think it nothing to do the task ahead and in that love make amends for all the otherwise damning wrongs of the other human beings. 

So the humble, the meek, those who bear their labors with an affectionate smile, these are the source of the beauty which saves the world daily from its own destruction.  

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: April 28, 2011, 04:03:33 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 04:01:42 PM »

"Beauty will save the world." -- What does this line by Dostoevsky mean?
He means that God is Beauty.
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« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 05:01:50 PM »

If I'm recalling correctly, this is something Prince Myshkin says in The Idiot, and he proceeds to say something to the effect of "Christianity is that beauty". In essence, for Dostoevsky, real beauty, not just superficial, aesthetic beauty, but real beauty, truth and virtue were inseparable at their core, and hence Christianity, and more specifically, Christ, is the most complete embodiment of beauty and the savior of humanity.

He can be hard to tell with, though. Ask the guy to the left...
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 05:53:38 PM »

Interesting thoughts...
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« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 06:26:35 PM »

"Beauty will save the world." -- What does this line by Dostoevsky mean?
He means that God is Beauty.

I'm no expert, but having read the entire Dostoyevsky canon, I have to agree with Jetavan and Nikolai.

In Dostoyevsky, there is no separating beauty/truth/God.
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2013, 01:34:41 AM »

Does anyone know of a lengthier treatment of this topic? Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2013, 04:23:07 AM »

Should I purchase The Idiot? I was actually at the bookstore an hour or two ago and saw it on sale for only $6.00 but I didn't get it because fiction is boring to my rationalist Scholastic mind.
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2013, 04:28:37 AM »

I just started rereading it recently, and I have to say that I like it more this second time through. I'm sure your local library would have it though, if you aren't sure.
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2013, 05:24:58 AM »

Does anyone know of a lengthier treatment of this topic? Smiley

I'm afraid it will be difficult for me to answer this question in any more of an adequate way than some of the prior posters, who alluded to D's concept of beauty being rooted in the Orthodox understanding of beauty, which is the beauty of the Logos in His creatures. I can't for the life of me recall what context this quote is lifted from? Is it somewhere in The Brothers Karamazov?

If so, I would lean towards the former explanation, though I know D. was early on very much influenced by currents of Romantic thought on these matters (prior to his conversion), which is still to some extent present even in his later works.

I'm sure there is a treatment of the concept of beauty in Dostoevsky somewhere out there which might tackle this question but I do not know of one. Joseph Frank's 'Dostoevsky' is a great way of generally acquainting one with his weltanschauung, but I could not find specific references to this quote. Perhaps in the non-condensed version of Frank's bio?

I still think it's safe to stick with Jetavan and JimC's ideas as a general idea.
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2013, 05:45:47 AM »

Thank you for the further responses Smiley  The quote is from The Idiot, as someone said, and as I mentioned in this post Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2013, 05:51:53 AM »

As Bob Marley said, "Who feels it knows it Lord." In the presence of real beauty, words, logic, reaoning, and rationale are rendered moot. True beauty is the reflection of God. Perhaps more than a mere reflection. Perhaps it is the experience of God Himself. Whether beauty is the essence or the energy of God is for theologians to decide. But I imagine that when one truly experiences beauty, theological distinctions are of little importance.

I would offer this humble rhetorical question: Is there anything truly beautiful that is not born of struggle?

I recently read these words from Dorothy Day, one of my spiritual heroes. She mentions Dostoevsky's quote, and I think her words give a glimpse into their meaning:

In 1924 I started a "live-in" relationship with Forster Batterham, an atheist and an anarchist. He believed in nothing except personal freedom to do as you please. We took up residence in a beach bungalow on Staten Island, New York. We foreshadowed the hippies of the sixties and lived a carefree lifestyle living off the land and sea — gardening, fishing and claming. I thought that we would be contributing to the misery of the world if we failed to rejoice in the sun, the moon, and the stars, in the rivers which surrounded the island on which we lived and in the cool breezes of the bay. Like Dostoevsky, I began to believe that the world would be saved by beauty. It was this beautiful, natural world that slowly led me back to God. "How can there be no God," I asked Forster, "when there are all these beautiful things?"
 
However, I felt that my home was not a home without a child. For a long time I had thought that I could not have a child. No matter how much one is loved or one loves, that love is lonely without a child. It is incomplete. Soon I became pregnant again. I saw this as a miracle from God because I thought that He had left me barren after the abortion. I wrote in a letter to a friend, “I always rather expected an ugly grotesque thing which only I could love; expecting perhaps to see my sins in the child.”

On the contrary, I gave birth to a beautiful daughter, Tamar Teresa, on March 4, 1926. I remembered that the labor pains swept over me like waves in the beautiful rhythm of the sea. When I became bored and impatient with the steady restlessness of those waves of pain, I thought of all the other and more futile kinds of pain I would rather not have had. Toothaches, earaches, and broken arms. I had had them all. And this was a much more satisfactory and accomplishing pain, I comforted myself.





Selam
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« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2013, 05:55:12 AM »

What I don't get is why we should have to struggle in the first place to attain beauty. Saying that something good comes from it just doesn't cut it for me. That's like saying that getting sick is good because you get to go to the hospital. Why should we need to be sick or have to struggle in the first place? I find it unsettling. It gives evilness too much power.
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2013, 06:17:22 AM »

If I'm recalling correctly, this is something Prince Myshkin says in The Idiot, and he proceeds to say something to the effect of "Christianity is that beauty". In essence, for Dostoevsky, real beauty, not just superficial, aesthetic beauty, but real beauty, truth and virtue were inseparable at their core, and hence Christianity, and more specifically, Christ, is the most complete embodiment of beauty and the savior of humanity.

He can be hard to tell with, though. Ask the guy to the left...

Thank you for the further responses Smiley  The quote is from The Idiot, as someone said, and as I mentioned in this post Smiley

Oops! How did I miss that?   Roll Eyes

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« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2013, 06:27:50 AM »

What I don't get is why we should have to struggle in the first place to attain beauty. Saying that something good comes from it just doesn't cut it for me. That's like saying that getting sick is good because you get to go to the hospital. Why should we need to be sick or have to struggle in the first place? I find it unsettling. It gives evilness too much power.


It's a matter of perspective brother. I don't think anyone likes to struggle. But it's a law of life. Flowers don't magically appear, they grow. Caterpillars struggle to become butterflies. We struggle to emerge from the womb, and we struggle throughout our lives. In fact, if we seek not to stuggle, we usually only bring more suffering upon ourselves. I don't know if struggle is the result of the fall, or if it was divinely ordained from the beginning. It seems that even in their pre-fallen perfection, Adam and Eve still struggled. They had to struggle against temptation.

We can curse sin, we can curse evil, we can curse struggle. But these things are with us. Therefore, instead of asking "why," I guess we should ask "what," and "how." In other words, we will drive ourselves nuts trying to understand why we are faced with sin and struggle. But if we focus on what our response to sin is and how we should properly struggle against injustice and evil, then we will grow like flowers that gloriously rise above the weeds.

Now, please understand, I am speaking to myself first and foremost. I still find myself wallowing in the "why" instead of taking up my cross and struggling to live out the "what" and "how." 


Selam
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2013, 07:39:42 AM »

What I don't get is why we should have to struggle in the first place to attain beauty. Saying that something good comes from it just doesn't cut it for me. That's like saying that getting sick is good because you get to go to the hospital. Why should we need to be sick or have to struggle in the first place? I find it unsettling. It gives evilness too much power.

Your rationalistic mind may appreciate an analogy I was offered many years ago: The mind is a muscle, like the thigh. If you don't work it out, it gets cellulite. (I know that strikes much closer to home for us women.)

I'm a dancer. Nowhere near performance level, but I know enough of the background to a performance. The effortless grace one gets to see on stage is achieved only with hours after hours of practice, aches and pains galore, deprivations and sacrifices that non-dancers may not even imagine. Dancers put up with all that suffering because they keep their eyes on the beauty at the end. Perfection doesn't come easy, especially when it transcends (some of) the limitations of the human body.

Now substitute spiritual effort for physical, and there you have it.
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