“the moral lesson of clouds”

[. The Judgement of Paris. oil painting by Claude Lorrain, 1645-46]

When you look up, it is as if the sky itself is an image of serenity, or self-possession and patience; the sky is what you ought to be. In that particular play of light and space one has found an image of personality; precisely the personality one would like to have… Plotinus would have understood, and approved.

Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful, act as does the creator of a statue that is made to be beautiful: he cuts away here, he smooths there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon the work. So should you do also: cut away all that excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that overcast labour to make it all glow with beauty; never cease chiseling your statue until there shall shine out of you, from you, the god-like splendour of virtue, until you shall see perfect goodness established in the stainless shrine.

(The Enneads, I, 6, 9)

the secret power of beautyjohn armstrong

i don’t believe truth is necessarily beautiful but when i do come into contact with beautiful things, i feel as if the swath of mundanity, built up by the grit of daily living and often becoming so blinding, heavy, distracting- they fall away, and i can be gripped again by light’s clarity.


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