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July 28, 2013

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The Dreyfus quote will stay with me forever. It puts a light on my own dim-edged thoughts about technology. And I fret right along with him that we will use our selves as resources to be used and consumed. That door, I fear, is already open with much activity inside. Much to ponder here. Another thoughtful post Leanne. Thank you.

Athena sends these two quotes on beauty (for Ting-Jen):

THE GREEK EXPERIENCE
C.M. Bowra
Chapter 7: Imagination & Reality

"The primary impulse in the arts is to give permanence to the fleeting moment, to bid it stay because we cannot bear to lose it, to defy mortality by creating something which time cannot harm. The Greeks expressed this by comparing poetry to such inanimate objects as pillars or temples or gold or ivory or coral. Beyond this they saw something else which they could express
only in the imagery of fire & light.

Poetry not only warms the heart,but it sheds a special radiance on the subjects it celebrates.The Idea of the Beautiful was a Greek discovery. They knew as well as we do that it cannot
be defined, & Plato reflected that when he said 'BEAUTY SLIPS THROUGH & EVADES US.' [Lysis 216 c].
If we try to analyze what they meant by it, it is clear that it was not a subjective feeling
which varies from person to person, but something PERMANENT IN THE NATURE OF THINGS.
A universal quality which poets and artists interpret & EMBODY & which is in reach of anyone who
has EYES TO SEE & EARS TO HEAR.


They assumed that Beauty~~
so mysterious a power has its own existence & is revealed through sudden illuminations
when something catches and enthralls the attention.
The metaphor of light ~~~Just as light transfigures the whole terrestrial world, so Beauty transfigures, shapes actions, & gives a new significance. It was the task of the poet to catch the beauty which lurks in things both visible & invisible.
To perpetuate in words the moments of rapturous illumination & share them with others."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


ON BEAUTY & BEING JUST
Elaine Scarry
p.46


"Beautiful things have a forward momentum they way they INCITE THE DESIRE
TO BRING NEW THINGS INTO THE WORLD:
INFANTS, epics, sonnets, drawings, dances, laws, philosophical dialogues, theological tracts.
But soon we found ourselves also turning backward for the beautiful faces and songs keep calling out
to us as well, inciting us to rediscover them in whatever gets made.
THE VERY PLIANCY OR ELASTICITY OF BEAUTY HURTLES US FORWARD & BACK,
requiring us to break new ground, but obliging us also to bridge back not only to the ground
we just left, but to still earlier ancient ground..is a model for pliancy of consciousness in education."
~~~~~~~~~

I think the attention to craftsmanship is important, and it's necessary that we not lose completely that kind of pride in our work, but we also shouldn't lose sight that the world of mechanized production has made whole Everests of goods available (or at least reasonable facsimiles thereof, as Chesterton wrote) not just to the princess, but to the maid as well. And I think that is a good thing, definitely not without its drawbacks, but something we should keep in mind, even as we praise the old methods of craftsmanship.

Robert Lennon (Poor Jeremiah)

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