The Greek word for the beautiful is kalon, “which is related to the word kalein, which includes the notion of ‘call.’ Suggesting that there is something about beauty, wherever we find it, that tugs at us, pulls at us, drawing us into” the mystery.
A second Greek word for beauty is hōraios, from hōra, meaning “hour.” Beauty was thus associated with “being of one’s hour”. Thus, a ripe fruit (of its time) was considered beautiful, whereas a young person trying to appear older or an older person trying to appear younger would not be considered beautiful.
The Ancient Greeks also equated beauty with harmony and virtue, which brings together the ideas of “call” and “hour.” Beauty is not a static experience but one of being in the rightness of the moment, an expression of the divine.
Beauty, as a philosophical concept, is rather mysterious – a slippery elf, hard to catch hold of, impossible to define. But let me try anyway: Beauty is that which glistens on the edges of our yearnings and lures us into the depths of things.
~Patricia Adams Farmer
Beauty isn’t all about just nice loveliness, like. Beauty is about more rounded, substantial becoming. So I think beauty, in that sense, is about an emerging fullness.
We can argue about the reason for the universe and the meaning of the universe but not about the beauty of the universe… We all share beauty. It strikes us indiscriminately. It may be when our child was born into this world; or a simple flower; or a song; or a smile on a face; or a great act of courage; or a dance well done; or a child’s laugh; or a loaf of bread baking; or finding a worthy job; or a snowfall; or when drawn to the Source of Life itself. There is no end to beauty for the person who is aware.
~Matthew Fox paraphrasing Ernesto Cardenal
At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough. No record of it needs to be kept and you don’t need someone to share it with or tell it to.
~Toni Morrison in “Tar Baby”
Beauty always has rules. It’s a game. I resent the beauty game when I see it controlled by people who grab fortunes from it and don’t care who they hurt. I hate it when I see it making people so self-dissatisfied that they starve and deform and poison themselves.
~Ursula K. Le Guin
Human beings have a hard time regarding anything beautiful without wanting to devour it.
~Barbara Brown Taylor
That which is striking and beautiful is not always good, but that which is good is always beautiful.
~Ninon de L’Enclos
There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.
In my youth I am aware of it
and in my old age I shall walk quietly
the beautiful trail.
In beauty it is begun
and in beauty it is ended.
Beauty is not caused. It is.
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time, there would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed… I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.
(Curated and adapted for KUF from the 2019 Soul Matters materials for the theme ‘BEAUTY’ by Rev. Beckett Coppola.)