Seeking Transcendence in a Materialist World

Fausto Ribeiro at 3 Quarks Daily:

Diadumenos is an idealised Greek representation of a naturalistic male athlete. Image by flickr user ckorangeLet us imagine for a moment the following story: a man is sitting at the edge of a cliff, marveling at the immensity below and all of its beauty – a resplendent lake, enormous mountains, a vast field covered with trees, maybe a small village with a few lovely houses whose chimneys release a white, innocent smoke. There is a notebook on the man’s lap; in it, with a worn-out pencil, he registers in the form of poetry his impressions about that which he has the good fortune of witnessing. A beautiful woman then approaches from a nearby trail and sees him; upon realizing what this stranger is doing, she is immediately overcome with a great emotion, an expectation so ravishing that her hands start to tremble slightly: here is a man who writes poems about nature’s enchantment, about it’s mesmerizing beauty! Instantly the woman conceives in her mind a whole image of who this man is, of his values, of his rich inner universe. She passionately contemplates, above all, the possibility of a real connection between the two of them. Nervous, she walks slowly in his direction and touches him gently on the shoulder, in the hope of initiating a conversation that would confirm her expectations. When he turns to face her, however, she suffers a shocking disappointment: the man is ugly; his features clearly violate the universal principles of beauty neurologists affirm exist.

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