Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Analogy of Being

The famous Analogy of Being sings that all Being shares four common aspects, characteristics, attributes--Unity, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. This is no merely academic trick of phrase. It is a rich, pregnant reality that our whole lifetime can explore.

Any one of these terms--the One, the True, the Good, and the Beautiful--is a jumping-off place, a moment, and experience of real life that then opens up for us unlimited explorations of the rest.

Take, for example, the experience of the Beauty of a poem. We could enjoy forever beholding that poem, being dazzled by its clarity, being amazed by its structure and stricture, being healed and harmonized by its balance and daring, its symmetry and sublime expression.

But then, we might venture further---how is the Beauty of the poem Good or True? How does the poem give us a glimpse of the way things really are? How does the poem ennoble human action? Does the poem inspire us? Inspire us to what?

And further, how does the poem draw us, almost by a kind of erotic attraction, to the Unity of things?

Try this experiment with any poem! Try a Shakespeare sonnet, chosen at random. Or it Shakespeare doesn't suit you, try the lyric and tune of a favorite song. See where it takes you!

2 comments:

Michael D. Aylesworth said...

I love Poe's Raven. The magic of the words in form and function work to create a truely chilling picture of a man haunted by deamons. There are plenty of academic analysis to get into with the poem, but I just like the image. It may be macabre, but still is entertaining.

Perry Lorenzo said...

Indeed, it was Edgar A. Poe who insisted that beautiful art reminds us of the divine . . .and he intentionally crafted his poetry and short stories to evoke in us just such a "memory" or "pre-memory" or "intimation."