Puritan Board Junior
I don't have highly-organized thoughts to present here, just ponderings for anyone with whom this resonates.
A 10-minute video will likely over-simplify some things, a few things perhaps over-idealized, but it resonated deeply with me. Prior to finding this video last week some things had been changing in me. I started realizing that there is a general drab feel to my life. I've been longing for more lovely things; nature, music, paintings, poetry, wonder. I listen to Andrea Bocelli's "Time to Say Goodbye" performed in duet with Sarah Brightman and tear up each time. I realized: I often bypass beautiful things, because they are not efficient things, maybe reasoning that they are therefore not the best things. I've come to question that. We want beauty.
Thinking of most office environments... Battleship grey cubes, cheap paintings (if any), plastic or unaesthetic plants. Of course an office is for productivity, not contemplation, but still... isn't there a need for beauty in a productive environment? Might beauty be more necessary to our satisfaction in work than we think? Perhaps the decor and aesthetics of cities like Rome are not efficient, but millennia later they're still attracting tourists.
Why spend weeks and months on a painting? Why sweat to perfectly word a few lines of poetry? What if, like Van Gogh, you sold only one painting in your life, but you must create anyway? We can't bill it, but we love it, and once we read it, see it, and appreciate it, we see that we not only want it, but need it. It's not efficient, but nonetheless vital. Its value proves itself. We are humans, we love beauty, therefore we must have it.
Perhaps we should pick up a cue from Christ, who spoke in music (the Psalms), set forth wisdom in the form of catchy one-liners (Proverbs), displayed his own beauty to us in a poetic love story (Song of Solomon), sets forth stern realities in prose and poetry (Ecclesiastes and Lamentations), and preaches the Gospel in prose, poetry, metaphors, imagery, and rich vocabulary (Isaiah).
In keeping with the video, there is also this portrait below, The Fighting Temeraire by JMW Turner, 1838. It's the retirement of an old battleship, a masterwork in itself, both beautiful and useful, portrayed as an elegant ghost, representing the glories of an age which (from the artist's viewpoint) is now fading. This is reinforced by the sunset. In contrast is the industrial ship hauling it to the harbor, representing the coming of a new age. It's a new age where perhaps things are more efficient and productive, but darker, more bare, more soul-less. Likely, no one in the industrial ship thinks they're losing anything. Opposite the setting sun, a crescent moon (probably meaningful in itself) is rising, welcoming the coming of night. Perhaps there is more money to be made in the industrial age, but maybe part of our souls have been killed off to have it.
As I said... scattered thoughts. Interested in insights from anyone with whom this resonates.