“Man is never so authentically himself as when at play.”   Friedrich von Schiller

In The Golden Seat, ‘Beauty’ is one of the three ‘legs’ of the seat: Beauty, Truth & Goodness (Plato’s natural theology).  One cannot truly understand one without the other.  We integrate beauty in our worldview to complete the picture:  Truth and Beauty;  Goodness and Beauty.

Beauty’s nature is Self and Self Expression.  It is the self alone what defines pleasure--a reflection of our personality and individuality.  It is an individual’s opinion of beauty that proves how different one is from the rest.  How we define beauty illuminates our style and uniqueness.

Beauty gives one pleasure which is found in various experiences:
• Physical: eating, exercise, sports, dancing, singing, sex.
• Social: accomplishment, recognition, service.
• Cultural:  classical to modern art

The pleasure of beauty is experienced either externally via the five senses or internally with the mind.

As an illustration of the senses, let’s consider the sport of marlin fishing.  Through the senses the eyes enjoy the blue--green tones of the sparkling ocean, the skin feels the warmth of the sun, the body feels the motion of the water, the nose smells the salt of the water, the hands feel the pull of the fish and its fight, the eyes take pleasure of the marlin dancing on the water.
The fisherman takes internal pleasure by his pride of his strength and skills; his resolve and commitment; the seaworthiness of his boat, his knowledge of the Sea: wind, the current, temperature, birds on the horizon; of the ecology of ‘catch & release’ – to keep game for food and to return game for sport.  A lifetime of experience, skill and dedication is put to test for that big catch—an accomplishment only the seasoned fisherman knows it’s true beauty.

Another example is cultivating a garden.  The eyes take pleasure in the colors of the flowers and the beautiful garden layout; the gardener takes delight as she smells the various fragrances;  the pleasure of beauty is felt with the hands as they maintain landscape with watering and soil care.  Internally, the mind takes pleasure in the one’s design of the garden—a beauty truly understood by its maker.  Pride of design, scope and imagination.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, a world-traveling memoir about one’s search for truth from the two extremes of ‘worldly pleasure’ to ‘spiritual devotion’, offers, possibly, the best explanation on the importance of beauty.  In Story 36 Ms. Gilbert has Italian author Luigi Barzini answering the query, “With having a past of producing the greatest artistic, political and scientific minds of the ages, why hasn’t Italy become a major world power?”  Mr. Barzini replies, “answers have much to do with a sad Italian history of corruption by local leaders and exploitation by foreign dominators.  Italians concluded that the world cannot be trusted - it is corrupt, misspoken, unstable, exaggerated and unfair.  One should only trust one’s senses.  Italians will tolerate incompetent generals, presidents, tyrants, professors, bureaucrats, captains of industry, however they will never tolerate incompetent  artists, musicians, opera singers, conductors, ballerinas, courtesans, actors, film directors, cooks, tailors”.

Ms. Gilbert astutely observes that, “Only beauty can be trusted.  Pleasure cannot be bargained down.  And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.  To devote yourself to the creation and enjoyment of beauty, then, can be a serious business—not always necessarily a means of escaping reality, but sometimes a means of holding on to the real when everything else is flaking away into…rhetoric and plot.  The world is unkind and unfair.  The best you can do is pride yourself on the fact that you always fillet your fish with perfection, or make the lightest ricotta in the whole town.”

Life has a way of making you feel sometimes like a criminal, a dunce, the dodgy one; like you are crazy ('meshuga'). Better not to remember the awful things - remember the beautiful things. Everything washes away except for your Purpose & your Mission.

The whole fantasy realm of beauty, love, romanticism is the key to spirituality.  Maintain beauty in your life, as you sense it, as you create it, for you keep out degradation — the spoiler of one’s spirit.