“We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.”

Today in class, we consider the claims of several poets regarding beauty.  Kahlil Gibran claims that “we live only to discover beauty” as if to suggest that nothing else–other than the search for beauty– matters more to the soul.  Sara Teasdale argues that you know you have found beauty because “it makes the heart break,” alerting us to the sorrow and longing that accompanies an experience of beauty.

Ken Weber presents that “beauty suspends the desire to be elsewhere.”  You know you have found a truly beautiful object because you don’t want to be anywhere else.

Has this happened for us?  Have we encountered truly beautiful things?

Students write about cathedrals, sunsets, oceans, canyons, stars, snowflakes, community, the intricate design of a watch, a musical score, mathematics.  We talk about design, symmetry, surprise, mystery, rarity.  

The whole world aches with it.  

If I haven’t found beauty yet today, perhaps I am not searching hard enough.

Did you encounter beauty today?  

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  1. I was listening to Performance Today on NPR on my way home from work the other morning – someone was playing the bass stringed instrument (turned out to be a double bass) in a manner which picked up my ears and tired mind; then other stringed instruments joined in and I was completely uplifted. It was a group called the Punch Brothers – they were awesome and utterly beautiful.