What do I perceive? What do I perceive as beautiful? What is beauty to you? How do you perceive beauty? How do our perceptions differ? How are they similar? What do our perceptions say about us as individuals, as human beings, or as spiritual beings? Can someone change how they perceive beauty?
I have training in political science, in Western political theory, and most specifically, ethical political theory. How do we know what ethical behavior is? How do we create laws and a society that knows the difference between using ovens for humans or for chickens (as my dear advisor Stephen Bronner used to point out; even now, I have advanced my ethical outlook to wonder why we use ovens for chickens, because there certainly is a humane/ethical issue in the food-industry today). Who decides what constitutes ethics? If the powerful make the laws, and the laws say that it’s “right” to remove food supplies and access to health care from those who need it most, are they making an ethical decision? If this is the law, does that mean it’s unethical to break it?
You may see why I have questions to begin each day of this Journey–they are good prompts for a thought process. Unfortunately, if you want hard answers, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a process, not a destination; however, you may see how questions like these can point toward a point of view regarding what is ethical and what is not. After the Holocaust, it became glaringly clear that “ovens” are not for humans (because, apparently, it was not glaringly clear before that); perhaps in 50 or 100 years the culture will see that it is glaringly clear that ovens should not be used for chickens, either. We shall see.
In the same way, I think there are pointers that we can use now to answer questions about beauty. How do we know if what we are doing, perceiving, or being, or cultivating is beautiful?
My current answer (remember: it’s a process), is that in relationships beauty is peace and harmony and warm fuzzies. This means that when I am interacting with someone, there is no strife, no contention, no anger, hostility, or mal-intent. If I do my best to keep my own energy/thoughts in this space of harmony and peace, I will be creating from Beauty.
The same would be true in business. If I operate my business with an attitude of integrity, honesty, for the benefit of all, kindness, with no greed or competition (in the sense of having to “knock someone else down so I can thrive), then I will be doing the best I can to created a business from Beauty.
This idea can even carry over into my household. Chores are never fun, but laundry does not do itself. If I bring an attitude of care to such tasks, without feeling put upon that I need to do them, then I am bringing Beauty to my daily life.
I have not talked much this Journey about remembering, as I have in other Journeys. There’s a lot out there these days about “remembering who you are”. In the current social mindframe, the idea is to remember that you are a spiritual being having a human experience, or some such cliche.
I find it hard enough to remember everything I just noted: to act in and as the Beauty I’ve described above in my relationships, in my business, and in my daily life. But it seems to me, that remembering Beauty in this way– as much as I can– I am remembering “who I am” as a spiritual being, for I am of Beauty and Love, created to create Beauty and Love.
Let’s see where this idea of Beauty takes us in 50 to 100 years.