Beauty is a whore. Ten years I pursued beauty and gave no thought to money. I listened to the lovely tunes of Mahler and felt a sickness in my very soul. Now I pursue money and on the whole feel better.
I kind of understand what old Binx is getting at. Like anything visible, beauty is not enough to satisfy me and sometimes I ask too much of it and it nauseates me. At these times I feel like doing something supremely concrete and practical, like fixing up an old lawnmower or building a house. But some things almost make me believe that beauty is enough. Exhibit A: This Cassini photograph of Saturn — the Blatantly Superior Planet — and its moon Tethys. Click on it to get a larger version. Can you believe this? Did it have to be so beautiful? Sometimes I think that it did, that we can perceive beauty in things because they match, somehow, the contours of our minds, the way we think, or something like that. But maybe it didn’t have to be this way, and the beauty of the world is a kind of divine gift. And perhaps these two perspectives are not mutually exclusive. But that’s not important. What’s important and real and wonderful is Saturn itself, lighter than water, unimaginably large, encircled by graceful rings of ice, appearing for all the world as if it came off a great cosmic lathe. I am grateful for Saturn and Tethys and for the good folks at NASA and elsewhere that continually bring us these priceless works of art.