At least once in our lives, who has not been overwhelmed by the beauty of a landscape, of a bird’s song, of a work of art, or even of a gesture or a look? Let us remember these moments. Fugitive experiences of unusual lightness, suspended moments of inner fullness, when - for an instant - worries, fears and heaviness leave us. Have we not then felt connected to the world as to ourselves? Have we given these moments of beauty the attention they deserve? Have we let them resonate inside us, or have we simply considered them an accidental parenthesis in our chaotic lives?
Yet in that instant, we have experienced being, a window open to infinity, to our innermost recesses: two expressions of a unique reality.
All of our lives, we are on a quest for inner unity and we are looking for a way to express what we are in our deepest selves. This is probably why each of us carries a thirst for beauty. This aspiration is an existential calling, a cry deep down in our souls. To be, is the great field of incarnation, the true goal of human effort, a task which each of us is called to participate in, in a specific and unique way. Beauty, opening a path connecting meaning and form, internal and external, is a powerful driver to everyone who seeks perspective and meaning to life. This quest is a demanding path that calls for openness of heart and self abandonment, attitudes we are no longer used to. Whoever realises this becomes a creator, and an active agent in history.
Each one of us, without exception, has a shared responsibility for the shaping of humanity, and therefore for the society in which we live. Our quest for beauty is a quest for harmony and is part of a great movement towards unification and amorisation, transformation through love. This is the goal towards which humanity and indeed the whole cosmos are being drawn.
Artists show the way. They reveal what we cannot normally see. They glimpse the poetry in life and teach us that in every true oeuvre, every work and accomplishment, nothing is irrelevant or superfluous. They symbolize life, and help us to welcome everything that constitutes reality and humanity, allowing us to persevere so that life is transformed.
Beyond art, every aspect of life—cultural, social, economic—should be viewed as a canvas for an oeuvre, or work, of beauty. Beauty gives meaning, it offers to contemporary society a source of transcendence and of liberating hope.
Getting involved, no matter what our professions, in actions that will open up new dimensions for humanity, that will restore humanity to the centre of social life, reinvent the shape of our schools, businesses, communication, science, economy, intercultural cooperation…, these are just some of the tasks at hand. It is not about inventing a new ideology or starting a revolution. It is really just about doing what our consciences inspire us to do within our sphere of influence, working to unify our aspirations and our actions, to exercise our creative freedom wherever we are by progressively extricating ourselves from the conditioning that often binds us.
Dostoevsky’s prophecy is finding fulfillment today. When materialism, the absence of meaning, the negation of being, show their devastating effects on a planetary scale, beauty’s small path gives us a reason to smile, and what if this smile was the answer?
Claire Fabre, cultural animator