Thursday, February 18, 2016

Impermanent beauty and the preservation of things.

I read the Goldfinch a couple of years ago. Its major theme is that preservation of beauty is, if not as important as creation of beauty, at least a worthy passion in itself.   That's pretty self-evident, on some level, but I easily get lost in the details when I try to think too hard about some aspects of it.

For example, when the characters in the book seek to "preserve" the stolen painting, the first thing they do is protect it from the elements in every possible way.  This makes sense.  But, to put it mildly, not everything can or should be preserved in the way that a painting can be preserved. 

A flower, for example, can be preserved in glass, or photographed, but really the best thing we can do is grow another flower.  I've made a good friend who is a baker, and truly an artist with bread.  Nothing teaches you about the impermanence of perfection like that.  Her bread, on the night it's baked is the most amazing stuff ever.  A few days later, still very good.  A few days like that, bird food.  So, goodness, eat it while you can.

I talk a good game about being able to let things go, and to be better able to let beauty and other good things go, accepting their impermanence, is something I'm really working on philosophically at the moment, but I think everyone's a preserver on some level.  We think "this thing is awesome and I don't want it to change and try to fight for the status quo."  I'm trying not to be this person, but I'm human and I tend to cling to things and people in a way I feel like a smarter, more self-sufficient, person wouldn't. 

Indeed, on some level I think keeping things at arm's length is the best way to truly enjoy their beauty.  One of the ironies of The Goldfinch was that the main character kept his painting so carefully locked away, for many years he didn't look at it himself. 

who is aware that her posts here wander around to whatever I'm thinking about at the time I sit down to write.  At the same time, I figure that as long as I'm keeping the focus loosely on "that which is greater than myself" I'm doing something of spiritual value.

Also just saw Deadpool last night.  It kicked ass. 

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