The quest for beauty


SERGE NICOLAI explores beauty and its source, the beauty unfolding within.

Who is not after beauty?
What is real beauty?
And why are we looking for it?

Beauty gives pleasure to our senses, be it a beautiful landscape, a beautiful face, a beautiful artifact, or a beautiful piece of music.
One may argue that as a community or a civilization frees itself from the struggle to cater to its basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, there is more effort and resources given to fulfilling this search for beauty.

A poet said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
But is it?
Experience shows us that the possession of one thing never satisfies us and, as soon as we get it, we embark upon the next pursuit, ad infinitum. So what are we really after?

I would say that we are attracted to beauty because it reminds us of a lost harmony, of a subtle balance of forms. We would not recognize it outside if it were not already imprinted in us.

We are really looking for our own lost beauty, a beauty not of this world, a light that alone makes everything resplendent.

When we find it, whether in a child, a sage, or a pure person, we stand in awe. Something from another dimension beckons us. For a moment we are transported out of this mundane existence. And that is what we are looking for in this pursuit.

Alas, this self-forgetfulness doesn’t last and we are back where we were. What is the solution?

The only way is to turn our pursuit inwards, turn our efforts to our own making, so that we cultivate inner beauty. As this grows, our dependence for outer beauty will diminish.

Finally, sages say that a time comes when the beauty unfolding inside is an unceasing wonder, making one forget everything else.

That, this mystery, is what we are all really yearning for.


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