Form, Beauty, Truth

The word ‘form’ is from the Latin forma. Forma also translates, beauty. In the Roman mind, as in the Greek, beauty was always in form. It had to be in form. Only in form could beauty exist. So, form is beauty? Beauty form? I know where this is going; I suspect you do as well. If this Form is Beauty, Beauty form, then we could say that Truth–that Truth that Keats spoke eloquently of, is also in form; yes, if Truth is Beauty, then Truth is Form. If Beauty Truth is the result of Truth is Beauty, then Beauty Form is also inferred. Yes, without form, Truth cannot take shape. What then does this mean for us in the maintenance of Beauty, the maintenance of Truth?

It is my responsibility to bear Truth; yes, to carry this idea, Truth, to help the idea accrete in the minds of successive generations after me. It is an irony supreme, that a culture so lacking in dexterity when it comes to carrying Truth, bearing its pursuit to whatever term necessary, can persist in making abortion the issue it is in America, and insist that women must carry a fetus to term. We have aborted Truth and jettisoned every notion of how form plays and interplays with beauty, the creation of beauty.

The link between beauty and form and beauty and truth links form to truth. To inform then becomes a kind of bearing of truth; the idea behind the act of informing is to place in form, thus, at least residually in our traditional semantics it has something to do with maintaining beauty, what is beautiful. The aesthetics of Keats aside, whereby the pursuit of Beauty is a pursuit of Truth, there is too much exchange of information today, a thing a little less than beautiful, or so we could have assumed if we were awake, eyes wide opened. We are subject to much permeation from institutions wanting information about us, on us–always on top of us.

What we call information and the act of informing, what we mean when we say we want to inform, is quite separate from making or maintaining the beautiful. There is no beauty in the superstate’s obsession with information. The process of information is to put things in form, to have all things subjected to a kind of formation that resembles those in the military, whereby we find ourselves in rows and columns and other kinds of formations. We know of this from our experience with American football, not so unlike those of warfare. When the guardians of the prison told Patrick McGoohan, in the TV show, The Prisoner they wanted information, it was quite simply–they wanted him in . . . formation.

I’m not so certain today we even know what exchanging information means. Anything akin to a philosophy of beauty would be lost on us. The idea of Truth is lost on us. Aesthetics has long lost its influence in the academies of learning in America, somewhere now in an intellectual graveyard with philology and metaphysics. We have given up on ever perfecting this special acumen; even if the possibility of perfecting them in our lifetime or all of our lifetimes did not exist, the pursuit was what was important. It was the realization that Truth was perhaps a construct that misguided us. But it was not the transcendental Truth that was a construct, but the forms that Truth took or could take that were constructed, were things made. We lost our ability to speak metaphysically. We convince ourselves that metaphysics was bullshit and a power game played by men who were white and thus naturally determined to be racist oppressors.

We no longer believe in Truth, yes; but we have in turn lost our ability to build any truths rooted in an ideal Truth, or set against the ideal. Where has this left us but at the mercy of the Elite: Monied, Power, Media, whatever have we in terms to modify the Elite. We are like the character in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons who would cut down all the trees of law in the forest to get at the Devil, but when the Devil turns to face him, he is asked, what have you to hide behind, what is left to come between you and the Devil. Like ourselves in the wasteland that was once the forest of truth, nothing.


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