Beauty vs. Making a Statement

There is a very excellent house in my neighborhood. This house sits on a corner lot between two busy-ish streets. Many a house in such a setting goes for privacy, quiet. But not this house, oh no. The house is yellow, with purple trim – and the picket fence around the house is purple too. There are polka dots. There is a “free book” mini library out front. The grass is always manicured, and what one can see of the inside of the house indicates an orderly mind.

I smile every time I pass this house. The colors, the details, the consistency – all are designed to bring a sense of whimsical joy to mind. Could a more beautiful decor be imagined? Yes. There could be a white fence with red roses and a carpet of violets… but so? The owner, instead of making a try for The Most Beautiful has decided to make a different statement, “Smile at My House”. The statement adds to the goodness in the world.

Similarly, cerulean is a very most excellent color of blue. Catch that on a piece of tile, a body of water, the sky at noon and you are absorbed. See the same color in someone’s hair, and you are not transfixed by the infinite – you are considering what the person is saying.

Beauty is a reflection of Creation, even if it’s reflected in the facets of an iridescent wing. Statements on the other hand, need be neither beautiful or un-beautiful, reflections of creation or distortions thereof. They are … statements. Making a statement tells a story without words. Art is a statement, although not all statements are Art.

You could take the most beautiful house imaginable, and if you made 50 of them side by side, you would lose the Art inherent in the first house. The replication would erode the statement entirely, and you would be left with a beautiful, but ordinary, object. Similarly, though each butterfly is a symphony of exquisite detail, a metaphor used in a thousand poems, as an aggregate – or laying eggs on your favorite plant – they lose their poetry and become prose.

You can make beauty, pursuing the facet of Creation that inspires replication and explication to your heart. You can make a statement with anything from barbed wire to black pearls. You can create Art. What you cannot do is say that these are all the same – at least not and live in truth. And what, after all, is Beauty without Truth?

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