I am brought to my knees by beauty sometimes. Simple wonders know no end such as the intensity of emotion, the power of thought and ideas, even the extraordinary act of drawing breath. These miracles surround us constantly. Though a common sight is not someone doubled over from shock at the beauty of a sunset. Nor do I notice strangers in the street embracing, thanking each other for bearing witness to the splendor of being alive. Why are some jaded to these fantastic elements? Are they distracted by the technology and superficial goals popular in our society? Are they consumed by self-obsessed thought until there is not any room left to appreciate beauty? In this fast-paced environment, where technology and progress rule, beauty is over-looked and under-appreciated. This can be observed by interacting with others.
To see the complacent attitude toward beauty more clearly, pay attention to those around you. Next time you talk to someone, notice how often they complain or seem dissatisfied with some element of life. Consumed by their selfish problems, they fail to notice the brilliance all around them. They are capable of seeing beauty, but unable to appreciate it because their vision is clouded by self-centered thoughts. They ramble off endless lists of unsolvable problems, always not getting what they think they want. If they were truly enamoured by life they would be content with reality, accepting and appreciating it completely for what it is. During these conversations I am taken back by the beauty of the sky or the extravagantly crafted cloud floating by their heads as they complain. If this complaining person is you, my advice is to take a step outside yourself and your problems to appreciate the magnificence that exists all around.
Some seem comfortable exploiting nature for profit. They would rather chase progress, success and money rather than enjoy what exists all around. Why would they rather have a parking lot than a park, or a Wal-mart than a family owned business? Corporations are not faceless super entities, but made up of people just like you or me. Somewhere, their vision of beauty was distorted. When they think beauty, they see dollar signs. Corporations have destroyed whole ecosystems instead of taking a financial hit. No profit margin exists in a sunset and that oak tree isn’t going to tell them they are special. There is no ego or gain involved in the true appreciation of beauty and, perhaps, because of this some do not find it appealing.
The solution to the under-appreciation of beauty lies in the way children see the world with innocence. I notice children staring wide-eyed at their beautiful reality. I remember the feeling of wonderment that came along with childhood, making up ballads and drawing elaborate worlds with my crayons to explain things I did not understand. Hold on to childhood wonderment, instead of slowly watching it wash away as we age with criticism, societal standards, false ideals and goals; save the appreciation of beauty.