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Humanity's innate love of beauty has very commonly...
The Christian Science Monitor
Humanity's innate love of beauty has very commonly failed of satisfaction, for the reason that the human mind entertains a wholly material conception of beauty. You are told, if you seek definitions, that beauty is a quality of objects which appeals to and gratifies the æsthetic sense; that one of its constituents is perfection of form, resulting from the harmonious combination of diverse elements in unity; that, although form is the essence which makes a thing what it is, there can be no form without matter; that since beauty is distinguished from the good and the true, a thing may be beautiful without necessarily possessing either of these qualities, which are apprehended by the logical and moral, rather than by the æsthetic powers. These analyses may all be very interesting, from the materialistic standpoint, but they do not satisfy the longing for the beautiful, nor have they the power to remove the antithesis of beauty, the imperfections and uglinesses of mortal experience.
Detached from its material conceptions and analyzed in the light of divine metaphysics, beauty is still recognized as perfection of form and unity in variety; but form and unity are themselves shown to be modes of divine Mind, not of the mortal, and are therefore as truly and wholly spiritual, in reality and expression, as are patience, joy, humility, and other qualities of Mind. Material sense cannot conceive of the unity of good; and its attempted division of the good, the true, and the beautiful into different categories, results in the loss of the true conception of and capacity for perfection. Considered from the spiritual standpoint "beauty," Mrs. Eddy writes (Science and Health, p. 247), "as well as truth, is eternal; but the beauty of material things passes away, fading and fleeting as mortal belief." And a little lower on the same page she says: "Comeliness and grace are independent of matter. Being possesses its qualities before they are perceived humanly. Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color." When it is understood that nothing can be wholly beautiful that is not also good, and that truth is always beautiful, something of the beauty of holiness begins to dawn upon consciousness, for out of this foundation, or, as the psalmist expresses it, "out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined."
The human being is willing enough to part with the material conditions which are odious to him; but if in parting with them he must also give up his belief in beautiful matter, which he thinks he craves, he is likely to resent the metaphysical interpretation of beauty as spiritual, seeing in this teaching a more profound deprivation of sensuous beauty than in his former beliefs of mere limitation. Aggrieved, he asks about the glories and harmonies of the material universe. Are they merely material and unreal, and are they to be repudiated and no longer enjoyed? Answering this question, which has perplexed many, Mrs. Eddy writes on page 6 of "Rudimental Divine Science": "As Mind they are real, but not as matter. All beauty and goodness are in and of Mind, emanating from God; but when we change the nature of beauty and goodness from Mind to matter, the beauty is marred, through a false conception, and, to the material senses, evil takes the place of good."
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