Essay

Truth is Beauty [A Short Story]

Prologue

She and I. Subject compounded, not the objective.

He and she. Myself removed as I am sometimes with a pen. The mirror is another subject; you and I, plurality and singularity, in the mirror is on the glass.

Who am I, who are you? Questions I ask in the mirror.

Similar is not the same, you understand this well enough. Who am I with you? With her? Now the objective is clear.

Names? What’s in a name? Hers or mine, yours in the mirror. My name is whatever I choose it to be when I need a name other than the one I was given–Call me who I am today; I am not my new name tomorrow.

A load of dog shit by the name rose still smells like shit.

I

Do you think she is beautiful? I asked.

Who? She asked.

The Mona Lisa, I said.

I guess, she added.

Do you, really? I asked.

I imagine she must be beautiful to someone, she said.

Who? I asked.

Does it matter? She asked.

Who do you imagine imagining her beautiful? I added.

I imagine that she must be to many, many people. She is to me, she said.

To you? I asked. I didn’t think you thought so.

Maybe you have to be Italian or more largely, Mediterranean. I don’t know. What did we know? What is that supposed to mean? I have always been able to find someone ofsome people attractive, beautiful, handsome, pretty, sexy, what else have we in the primary way we are able to perpetuate the species as we imagine perpetuating our people–how fucking lame. I just know that she is not ugly, she is not hideous, she has something someone might find cute, might even think is pretty, but what’s the problem? She asked. Who is really interested in whether she is beautiful or not?

II

That’s true for everyone, he said. He–not I, said every one of the other farm animals when the little red hen asked for help . . .

Attraction has little to do with aesthetics, she said.

If aesthetics has anything to do with attraction, he said.

Pause.

I’m not talking about having sex with the Mona Lisa, he said.

Actually, you are. Sex is love, sex is attraction; this attraction is then reciprocated, it is love, and this love is in turn expressed through sex, she said.

He remained silent.

I just know that you cannot only be attracted, even very attracted, to someone who fits what you think is the standard or the acceptable or the appropriate aesthetic representation of Beauty here on earth in another person, she said.

I thought aesthetics and attraction do not have anything to do with one another? He asked. They’re not contingent.

Contingent? She asked.

That does not mean there is not some standard of beauty you yourself adhere to, he said.

So then attraction and aethetics do have everything to do with one another, she wondered.

Just because a person has not formulated an aesthetic philosophy or articulated his aesthetics within a standard philosophical view we could call or recognize as aesthetics does not mean the person does not have an aesthetics, at least on the level of response to stimuli, which aesthetics must entertain because this would be true if one were looking at statuary.

III

I was silent.

There is a lot more in the heaven and earth of human beauty and human attraction and human sexual relations, good, healthy sexual relations than could be handled by anyone’s aesthetics, she said.

What we have in the way of an understanding of Beauty is too weak to do anything with but hide when we confront how articulate Romance cultures are in aesthetics, I said.

She said nothing.

In the Roman mind, as in the Greek, beauty was always in form, only in form could beauty exist, I said.

IV

Yes, form is Beauty, Beauty form; if this, then Truth is also Beauty because Truth is in form. To inform would then be a way of bearing of Truth—to inform would then be about all the little ‘t’ truths in our lives. It would be to carry minor fragments of the Truth . . . by the Truth and for the Truth itself the Truth absolute.

There are transcendental realities, but then I still believe metaphysics has something to teach us, something to show us in how to approach reality, understand reality, and represent reality in how many different possible and appropriate ways.

You can’t imagine that biggest problem in dealing with Muslims comes from the fact that we no longer know how to talk metaphysically about anything, nor do we know how to talk about metaphysics, nor do we believe that metaphysics has any veracity, exactly in the same way we have abandoned a commitment to Truth and to Beauty.

To bear the Truth is to carry Beauty; to bear Beauty would be to carry Truth. They are mutual and reciprocal, contingent in ways we are unable to understand, again because we cannot talk metaphysics. Is it any wonder that we have continued to uglify the world, continue to lie our way through our lives as if there were no consequences for our conscience—except for those without any conscience, there is no consequence to their lying and their lying and their lying in every petty way creeping along through their lives until the last syllable of their final lie. We no longer believe in Truth, how could we not fumble Beauty?

To inform in our education has become entirely about indoctrination, itself having a unique form. Information would be a way to put in form, a formation of some kind has an aesthetic value, I imagine. I don’t want to know exactly what military leaders around the world consider beautiful, or how battles can be fought beautifully. Aesthetic considerations cannot be excluded from any talk of form. This, however, is not what we have in the matter of our infotainment whereby news is made to match standards of entertaining and amassing the largest audience irrespective of aesthetic or epistemological or ethical concerns.

Information is handled without respect or integrity; they are used as our caveman fore bearers used rocks. I have betrayed my preferences and my beliefs. Beauty and Truth do require belief, a faith of a kind; they are always in form just as anything in form has matters of Truth and Beauty at its core.

V

There is too much exchange of information today, a thing a little less than kind. There is too much permeation from institutions wanting information about us, on us—always on top of us. How can we think that media in America is not a Capitalist oligarchic flip side of the Soviet Communist Pravda. I’m not so certain today we even know what exchanging information means. Anything kin to a philosophy of beauty would be lost on us. You think we articulate Beauty, we admire Beauty, we know what is and is not Beautiful? And I’m not talking about the women or men you might be attracted to–how we conduct our lives and manage our information should be offensive to us, as offensive as what passes for informing people through most of our media outlets.

Aesthetics has long lost its influence in the academies of learning in America, somewhere now in an intellectual graveyard with philology. We have given up on ever perfecting this special acumen, I said. We have lost the feel for beauty; we may never again have it for truth–they should be Beauty and Truth, but I have succumbed to my culture’s desire to denigrate Beauty and Truth in our minds.

Now, the exchange of our personal facts is too free and too easy. The kind of information exchanged today is the kind we kept close or offered only to our kin. We will spend more time discussing the aesthetics of how the leaking of sensitive State information about us through NSA spying than the degraded sense of Truth we have through our grotesque understanding of Beauty and Form, and how this has led to an ethical relativism that is dangerous and serves only to make power more powerful, the moneyed elite more moneyed and further elite. Do you imagine Zuckerberg serves anyone other than power?

We have made this possible and have allowed this to happen, making acceptable unacceptable negotiations of information and intimacy–they are practically in our beds–no, they are in our beds if you are stupid enough to leave the camera on in your open laptop. Close the lid.

VI

To be bourgeois is to be capitalist, even if you are a worker, and this is one of the hallmarks of American Civilization, the making of bourgeois clones from the organic material of the proletariat.

To be bourgeois capitalist is to be western, even if you are Asian in Asia. In fact, to be western is also to be American, in a way; the American transfiguration of Western Civilization has been ongoing, if not in assault, for a hundred years or more, she said. And yes, there is a Western Civilization, one that precedes 18th century Oxford Professors and British revisions in the name of their hegemony.

The material of our civilization is not a complete fabrication, a mirroring of the emperor’s new clothes, but a wonderful and true fabric of many intricately woven threads—that is so fucking cliché. But you do get the point.

The world is fast becoming one kind. Even if we have yet to raise our ethical consciousness to the level where we can see clearly the oneness of our human kinship. One world–the dream of every fascist, Nazis, Islamic terrorist and communist

The scariest thing I noted in Paris the last time I was there was how much like everywhere else even Paris is becoming. Every city in the world is an island in the American Bourgeois Capitalist Archipelago, a chain of Post-post-Modernist American Islands in a sea of everywhere else.

VII

Do you believe in God? She asked.

In God? I asked.

Yes, in God? God. Do you believe in Him?

Him?

Yes, Him.

Not Her?

Her?

Yes, Her.

How is God Her?

So, God is He but God is not She?

No, God is not Her.

Not Her?

No, not Her. God is He.

He?

Yes, He.

Only He?

Yes, He and only He.

Not She?

Got is not She.

Never She?

Never She. God is He.

I know that God is he, but what is the Holy Ghost?

The Holy Ghost?

Yes, the Holy Ghost; the Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit?

I don’t know. What is the Holy Spirit?

The Holy Spirit is It, isn’t It?

It?

Yes, It. Not He. Not She, just It.

It?

Yes, It.

The Holy Ghost is It?

Yes, It.

So, God is then He and It?

At least He and It.

At least?

Yes, at least.

I don’t see how I am supposed to come to God is She because the Holy Ghost is It.
So, God can be Father Son and Holy Ghost but God cannot be He, She and It?

Father, Son and Holy Ghost is one thing; this He, She and It is another.

I’m not saying they are the same thing. It’s just, if one, why not the possibility of the other?

I don’t know. All I know is that God is he and that now you say God is it.

Why is it I say? The Holy Ghost is it whether I say so or not.

I guess.

You guess?

I don’t know.

You do not know?

He and She and It?

Yes, He, She and It. You have no problem with Father, Son and Holy Ghost. So, why the problem with He, She and It?

He, She and It?

You know what I am talking about, so stop playing fucking hop-scotch. You are always hopping around the truth.

Oh, so now it is the truth.

Yes, capital fucking T, Truth.

 

Epilogue

If you want to understand gravity, you must first understand an ice cube in a glass of water. Space is the water; bodies in space are like the ice cube, they displace space the water, the water outer space. Space is warped by bodies in it. As water in a glass is warped by the ice cube. You can look up the rest.

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