Why is everything at war with everything else?
And a slapshod defense for the pursuit of beauty
For every man in every life, there are two pursuits: the pursuit of power and the pursuit of beauty. Everything else is a waste of time.
But those who pursue power think the pursuit of beauty a waste of time. That antipathy is not mutual because those in pursuit of beauty are too busy to think of any thing else.
Everyone from the eighteen year old preparing for his IIT JEE exam to the priest teaching catechism is pursuing power. The pursuit of beauty, on the other hand, seems accidental, like a small island in the middle of an infinite turbulent lake, like something we arrived at too early in our evolution. If we were even half as utilitarian as we claim to be, our civilization would have shunned art, and pursued power over it surroundings until we had spread our DNA(and maybe our hydrogen bombs too) over every corner of the universe. And then and only then, after we thought ourselves safe from annihilation, should we have produced our Ravi Varmas and our Da Vincis, our Keats and Mozarts, our Bolanos and our Rushdies.
But maybe beauty leads inevitably to power and then power leads to a way out of beauty. Maybe even power leads, through backdoors, to beauty. Maybe Caesar glimpsed, for a fraction of a moment, great beauty in Gallic courage before extinguishing it in the service of Rome.
But a little beauty for a little time is such a shameful thing. Like a hack job that took billions of work-years and trillions of life forms.
We want eons of beauty, like a virgin continent of rare flowers blossoming every moment.
And we want it forever and ever.
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