On ‘Getting Your Life in Order’

Image property of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

Some people try so hard to control every little aspect and every little detail and every little event of their lives. They value structure, and order, and they want everything to be in its right place – as if life is some kind of puzzle that can be put together with a little effort. But when you build a puzzle you’re putting together another persons work of art. Someone else designed the puzzle, and you’re just trying to put it together in a way that the designer wanted you to. This analogy can be applied to life. Everyone tries to get their lives ‘in order’ because they want to please others – because they want to please their parents, or their friends, or because they want to fit in or make something of themselves. The problem is that your life will never be in order – it will always be chaotic, or chaotic to some degree. Even if it was perfectly in order you’d find it extremely boring and not worth the effort. Everyone’s life is like a puzzle, and they’re all trying to put the pieces together hoping that, in the end, it’ll be this beautiful, coherent picture. I, on the other hand, say fuck it, throw the pieces in the air and let them fall where they may.

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Aesthetic Environmentalism

I consider myself an aesthetic environmentalist? What is that? Well, essentially it is an environmentalist who is an environmentalist only because they want to preserve the beauty found in nature.

There are many environmentalists who, when asked why they became environmentalists, may respond with answers such as ‘I want to make the world a better place,’ or ‘I want to improve the world for future generations,’ or the moralistic, pompous response ‘because I have a duty to protect mother nature!’

However, I could care less for any of these reasons. I really don’t care about what happens to the environment after I am gone, after all I will be dead – and it wont effect me. I also could care less about making the world ‘a better place’ – I have no desire to do this because it almost always ends in failure or disappointment. And of course, the whole notion that, since I am a member of the human race, I somehow have some ‘obligation’ to protect nature – well that is perhaps the most ridiculous claim there is. After all, in all honestly, mother nature is constantly trying to kill us. If anything, I shouldn’t have an obligation to mother nature – I should be an enemy of mother nature, since it is nature with all its viruses, and wild animals, and natural disasters that could seriously hurt me.

So why am I an environmentalist then? The answer is quite simple – it’s because I enjoy the beauty found in nature and I want to preserve it. To see a thing of beauty, especially a natural beauty, being destroyed is quite atrocious. To think that stunning forests, tranquil oceans, and lush jungles will be destroyed and replaced with hideous, modern cities – well this is quite unsettling.

The idea, for example, that the sublime rain-forest of Brazil is being deforested in order to make room for more of those disgusting slums or useless attractions – ugh, such a thought is nauseating. To think that the beautiful and frightening ocean will be polluted with the waste of careless, ignorant humans. To think that the ancient and refreshing aura of tranquil forests will be totally destroyed  just to provide material to build some plain, unattractive cookie-cutter houses – ugh, such terrible thoughts!

So yes, I am an environmentalist simply because I find nature to be very beautiful and I do not want to see such beauty destroyed. Likewise, I hate the idea of such natural beauty being destroyed just to make more disgusting or plain artificial creations like modern houses, apartments, cities and so on. There is a certain beauty in cities, I wont deny that, but to tear down nature in order to make more room for these cities is not a suggestion that I would be supportive of. Leave nature as it is.

I am an aesthetic environmentalist. I support environmental causes and conservation only because I want nature to be preserved with all its beauty and tranquility. If I found nature to be ugly, or unattractive – then I could care less what mankind did to it. But since nature pleases me with its sublimity, I must take a stand to protect its beauty.

(Also, I could not find any other posts or people who claim to be ‘aesthetic environmentalists’. Therefore I am also content that perhaps I have created a new term for a new movement. My ego is satisfied fam) 🙂

Flesh and Skin

‘Flesh’ is a much more aesthetically pleasing word than ‘skin’.

The word ‘skin’ just sounds childish – innocent almost.
The word ‘flesh’ on the other hand has a very sensual pull to it. Flesh. When the tongue hits the alveolar ridge to make the “L” sound in ‘flesh’ – that has very sexual feel to it . The ‘L’ phoneme reminds one of words such as ‘lust’, ‘lick’, ‘licentious’, ‘libido’, ‘love’.
Fl-e-sh. The “sh” sound also has a sort of sensuous feel to it. Skin on the other hand is rather boring, not to mention it has the word (kin) in it (kin as in family)- which by no means has an erotic pulse to it (at least, hopefully it shouldn’t).
Yes, flesh is much more sensual than skin. When describing the body of a person one ought to use the word ‘flesh’ rather than skin – at least in moments of sensual beauty.

Inner Beauty

In terms of both art and people, I think that an inner, unseeable beauty is essential to aesthetics.

There must be an inner, invisible beauty that resides inside the subject. A beauty that cannot be seen but can be felt. This kind of beauty, the beauty of symbolism I would say – is what I truly appreciate. A work of art that has a powerful soul deep inside it – a soul that can be felt but not seen. This kind of inner beauty makes me feel almost complete inside – as if, by inferring the symbolism in the art, a part of my own soul is connecting with the soul of the artist – or the soul of the painting, or both.

Same goes with people I suppose. To be with a person and to feel that deep inside that persons heart there is another form of beauty that is not physical or material but symbolic. A beauty beyond language or vision – a beauty that captures and makes one feel complete. The beauty of a kind heart – or the beauty of a tortured soul. Things that cannot be seen but can be felt – and when one feels them they feel as if a part of their own being is intertwining with another. When you notice the inner beauty in some individual, you feel as if a special connection has been established between you two.

Pain, Suffering and Beauty

One must live in pain, and yet they must also learn to see the beauty in their suffering.

Imagine a marble statue for example. The marble statue is beautiful – but it wasn’t always like this. At one point in time this marble statue was merely a block of marble – indistinguishable from any other block of marble. But over time this block of marble was chiseled, sculptured, torn apart, broken, hit and damaged until it formed a shape – a particular identity.

pietrasanta-sculpture-marble-block      1-earth-touch-marble-buddha-sculpture

Likewise, your identity is largely formed through the struggles in your life and how you overcome them. Struggle is what defines you – its what motivates you. If you can learn to see the beauty in this struggle then the pain becomes bearable – to some extent it can even become desirable.

And of course, I am sure the realists will mention ‘But a block of marble has no consciousness – it cannot feel pain, unlike us humans’. They are right, a marble statue does not feel the pain and force being pressured against it. However, a marble statue is also not able to appreciate its own beauty. Consciousness of pleasure and peace requires a consciousness of pain and suffering. A person must have both – not one or the other.