MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

The Value of Beauty

with 3 comments


In The Wisdom of the Body, Sherwin Nuland writes about the value of beauty that can be found in our own biological makeup as it can be in a poem.

Our lives march to the molecular beat of our tissues. Our spirits sing to the music of our biology.

Perhaps the greatest feat of the humanizing process is the recognition of beauty, both the beauty that we find around us and the beauty we can create. Beauty in and of itself would seem to be of no direct consequence to the DNA’s survival needs (nature has provided other ways of attracting members of the opposite sex), and that alone makes its recognition one of the supreme accomplishments of the human mind: Beauty of image, of sound, and of thought give us the sense of enrichment, even of spirituality, that goes well beyond our constant seeking of mere survival and the most elementary forms of gratification and pleasure. The human spirit and its perpetual search for beauty are the defining characteristics of our humanity at its best.

Think of poetry. Its most fundamental characteristic is in the line, however constructed; the line is the tissue of poetry. Like a tissue, it exhibits repetition and variation. Although any of its words, like any cell, is insignificant when taken by itself, its presence in the line is essential to the cadence and the meaning of the whole; it therefore demands attention in its own right.

Every word is the precise word—every pause is the precise pause, whether indicated by the voice or in the punctuation. Each depends for its significance on the entire poem, and at the same time each gives its own significance to the entire poem. The whole gives meaning to each constituent part and to the specific location of that part within it. Is this not true of every part of the body, perhaps even of every cell? It is precisely the right kind of cell, but standing alone by itself without context, its work has no meaning. The various elements of a poem combined—are organized, are integrated, are unified—into the complex organism we behold. The poetic organism lives because each of its words and pauses and punctuations live. True of a poem, true of a man. We create a poem in our own image.

Sherwin Nuland


Written by MattAndJojang

March 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Blog

Tagged with , , , , ,

3 Responses

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  1. Beauty of our thoughts, ideas and actions gives meaning and beauty to life. Beauty is the essence of all creation. The universe itself is the creation of the beautiful smile of Goddess Durga. Beauty is inherent in our bodies , minds and souls and it reveals itseldf in the most magnificent design of the universe. We live and breathe beauty every second of our lives. All ugliness is an illusion; beauty is the only reality. – Prof. Bhagwat S. Goyal


    March 24, 2010 at 5:28 pm

  2. What a LOVELY couple. I found your picture and went O My, how cute (with all due respect). We have a LOT of common threads. I’m a believer in holistic health and a God who designed the body with the order and intelligence found in the universe. I’ve written on beauty, and am currently in a series on the writing process. I appreciate the quote about the dry seasons and the rain that will always come again to wash and renew.

    I would love to share some thoughts on faith and suffering with you…


    Holistic Wayfarer

    May 31, 2013 at 9:32 am

  3. Thank you for your kind words.

    As a person suffering from chronic illness I can relate to your experiences. I myself have been struggling with physical illness (severe asthma, diabetes, and hypertension) and mental health issues (depression) for the past 11 years. Mostly I’m home bound. I can’t go out of the house because the dust and pollution trigger, among other things, severe asthma attacks for me. I’ve been in and out of the hospital these past years.

    Just like you, however, I’ve experienced God’s provision for our lives. I really don’t know how I and my wife have been able to pay our bills. It may sound like a cliche, but it’s true: God provides!

    I’ve also often meditated on Job 38, especially when I feel down and out and question God. In the end suffering is a mystery and we can only surrender ourselves to God in our lowest and darkest moments. (By the way, here is my own reflection on human suffering: ).

    Thank you for sharing, and God bless!

    ~ Matt


    May 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

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