Tim Hinck's thoughts on music and life- There is a lady living across the street from me. She is dying of cancer. I have never seen anyone so full of life and energy. She loves to work outside in the flowers and grass of her yard. I can see her savoring every sunny day... the way she stands up from planting a flower bulb with such satisfaction on her face and claps the dirt from her gloves with resolution. I want to be like that lady.

Location: Schalkwijk, Utrecht, Netherlands

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

on God and Aesthetics (part II)

This is an older post that I have rewritten, as my thoughts have developed a lot on the topic. If you read my last post on this topic, you know that I have this theory that beauty is not just striving for perfection, but rather taking something "perfect" and varying it slightly. It is in those variations that true beauty lies. But since the earlier post on 'beauty' I have also been toying with another angle. Perhaps beauty should not be something for which an artist should strive at all. Or perhaps beauty is just not what most people take it for. Example: I recently had a long discussion with an artist friend of mine. He had concerns about a piece of music I had written... said it left him with a "dark" feeling, and that made it hard for him to enjoy. (He didn't say it but others, I can imagine, would say that it just wasn't "beautiful").

This got me to thinking that maybe we have developed a skewed view of what is beautiful. If by "beautiful" we mean "warm and cozy and light-hearted", then we are definitely off track. I feel that beauty is found in any succesful attempt at true expression. I know this seems a little risky, but bear with me. I don't mean that just having something to say, and saying it as strongly as possible is beautiful, but I believe that true beauty is found less in the thing/idea being portrayed than in the manner in which it is portrayed. My artist friend who esteems Picasso's 'Guernica' as one of his favorite paintings finds that it really sparks his imagination. I think that most people would agree that the war-time horrors depicted in that painting are anything but conventionally beautiful. However, the brilliant way in which the subject matter is depicted is so genius, so effective, and yes, even so beautiful. Think of Michelangelo's 'Battle of Cascina' or 'Martyrdom of Paul'. The incredible beauty of these paintings has very little to do with their subject matter, (if anything, the intensity of the subject strengthens the power of the paintings).

Part 2: "GOD"
The traditional christian view would say that God is equivalent with absolute beauty and that beauty is essentially that which encapsulates the essence of love, peace, joy, etc. ... "whatever is holy, lovely, of good report..." I would challenge any good christian to take a closer look at "God's own masterpieces": his brutal, jagged mountain peaks; his giant sea creatures; the bleak emptiness of deep space... I think that any christian who bases his/her ideals of beauty on the image of a wine-and-roses God not only has a skewed perception of beauty, but perhaps also a misguided view of their god and his artistic tastes. A christian would say that God's greatest masterpiece is man who, although he may bear some atributes of his creator, is still a far cry from a god. Why then would God create a masterpiece that is frail flesh and bones, with the ability and main function of reproducing itself into an endless number of variants of God's image. If this is God's idea of beauty, than most christians have a lot to learn about aesthetics. Beauty wasn't achieved by perfection in copying God's image exactly, but in the endless numbers of variations that will be created as long as the human race continues to populate the Earth. God didn't give his masterpiece the ability to sing as perfectly as the angels, but perhaps there is more beauty to be found in flesh-and-bone trying desperately to emulate the voices of heaven. Maybe all the voices of heaven were just a little too perfect for God's refined sensibilities.


Blogger At night His song is with me said...

yikes... "maybe all the voices of heaven were just a little too perfect for God's refined sensibilities..." that's an interesting thought, tim. makes me wonder what Lucifer strove for? was it something he thought was more beautiful than what God was? or was providing?

1/15/2007 2:57 PM  

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