The importance of curiosity, mystery, and frustration in the progression towards beauty.
Theologian and writer Eugene Peterson once said “Beauty is not the absence of meaning, but the presence of more meaning than we can comprehend.”
Frustration, mystery, and curiosity are tools that humanity develops from a young age. These tools allow us to discover beauty as we spend time with people and objects. If curiosity was a potion, it would be the drink of choice. In order to find beauty in the Perceptive Effort, curiosity leads us into a space that is filled with frustration and mystery. It is in this mystery that something beautiful emerges which also captivates us.
Unfortunately, due to defamiliarization or oversimplification, it is difficult to comprehend the true beauty of what is being perceived. Comprehension requires focus, listening, time, and energy. Even then, when frustration arises it is not guaranteed that the desired comprehension of beauty will be obtained.
In order to view beauty, one must consider exploring or focusing on aspects of the world that need attention. Visually appealing art and forms of the world are simply eye candy, but beauty shatters ignorance and occupies space.
If beauty comes from a concoction of mystery, curiosity, and observation, then it is pertinent to break out of the wrongdoings in the Perceptive Effort. In order to further understand beauty one cannot reduce meaning by oversimplifying forms or ideas. Observing mysteries is a tedious and frustrating process.
But it is in this process that beauty is revealed.
Curiosity carries a lot of potential as we might be interested in one thing over another. In the Perceptive Effort, curiosity is whittled down and minimized into a non-existent factor due to oversimplification. It is easier to observe without asking questions and actively engaging 100% with what is being observed. Curiosity allows someone to first view a form with intrigue, follow up with questions, and pause on simplification. Child-like curiosity leads us to wonder and dream into new mysterious spaces.
To simplify mystery in its role in finding beauty, it is easy to think about mystery on a micro and macro level. Macro mysteries relate to wonders on a universal, grand scale that most likely won’t be answered in the existence of humanity where micro mysteries pertain to one individual spanning a finite set of time. Both these types of mysteries are encountered every day. Unsurprisingly, both are ignored. Mysteries strike fear, confusion, and frustration in the hearts and minds of an individual. Mysteries also open up avenues of exploration that would not have been possible before. This works hand in hand with curiosity in order to attempt to reveal beauty.
Eugene Peterson’s quote on beauty reveals that beauty’s complexity cannot be consumed with a quick glance. True beauty needs time, focus, and energy in order to explore it. Thanks to curiosity and mystery, the complexity of beauty can be explored and experienced. Visual appeal is the oversimplified version of beauty. Beauty has the capacity to move hearts, minds, and emotions. Oversimplification and defamiliarization deny someone the opportunity to progress towards beauty.
And without beauty what would the world become?
True beauty will save the world and we are an essential part of the process where we progress towards beauty.
This is where the importance of the artists lays. It is the artist's job to observe, stay curious, work through frustrating mysteries, and arrive at beauty in its array of forms. Beauty reveals grandeur there is more meaning and potential than one individual can ever comprehend. Different forms of art act as glimpses into the vast unknown, yet are able to display a certain level of real humanity that relates to the viewer. With intentional reflection and perseverance, there can be a greater presence of beauty in the world.