Where did beauty go after the disappearance of the saint?

“Beauty is a kind of visible harmony that gently penetrates human hearts,” he wrote Ugo Foscolo. How could we define it today? This question is broken by all sorts of declensions that are reminiscent of the great poet’s short and sublime formulation. And if it is true that “beauty will save the world”, according to Fedor Dostoevsky, perhaps it is just as true that the Russian author’s assumption should be abolished in the face of the Beauty cases. We are surrounded by modern and ancient ruins and the general context in which we live is marked by a nauseating ugliness, the daughter of the libertarian madness that sacrificed rules and harmonies in the face of the illusion of an evil abomination called rationalism that took place. in a utilitarianism aimed at realizing maximum profit, with a minimum of resources or even without resources.

Human Beauty, as an object of desire; natural beauty, as an object of contemplation; daily beauty, as the object of practical reason; artistic beauty, as a form of meaning and an object of taste; Erotic beauty, as a sublimation of sexual desire – according to the classification of Roger Scruton – on the whole, invite us to bring the very concept back to the sacred because everything derives from it. But if the sacred is rejected, slandered, denied, how is it possible to imagine an idea of ​​beauty that is universal and private at the same time? In fact, in the collective imagination, the idea of ​​beauty has been extinguished almost everywhere: unpolluted oases remain among the brutal attacks of lifestyles and interpretations of art, of erotica that has become pornography, of temples of God modeled according to disgusting interpretations that they refer to secular buildings , in addition disgusting.

Is there no beauty anymore? It’s under fire. And it goes with the mostly big city dirt that is characterized by indecent graffiti that some would like to appear as works of art.

In short, beauty is a withered idea. The conceptual and pedagogical confusion that prevails in our time is exerted on it. One is not even touched by the consideration that Beauty cannot be enclosed in the fence of perceptions, but must fly in the free sky of emotions. In the only room, that is, where intelligence gives way to the soul and this guides and controls human choices. The broken bridges between rationality and spirit have caused Beauty to fall into the void. And today we desperately seek to find it in the shadows of a past that hesitates to become history if we are not willing to recognize in the forms (art, words, gestures) the harmony that comes from an unknown world, the world of God.

I thought of the miracle that happens to a human being when he manages to escape the captivity of reason and approach knowledge through regularity expressed in the natural order that should inspire the human order: he has the opportunity to see creation. in the splendor of the soul that uses intelligence to manifest itself.

A few years ago, the restored masterpiece of Raffaello Sanzio, Golden Finch’s Madonna, on the one hand, he offered a metaphysical vision of the harmony of beauty. And it refers to the evocation of a lost world, a kind of artistic-existential Eden of which Beauty was an integral part. It will be said that the sixteenth century was a “very human” century, in the sense that the artists who characterized it gave it. And therefore the splendor of European metaphysics could be expressed in their work. But even later, before the rationalist catastrophe, something like this manifested itself, albeit to a lesser extent, in figurative art. Staying in the form system will not actually deny the exaltation of the body’s beauty, eroticism, passion. Together, it all became a love song. Heartbreaking, uplifting, even painful, yet a love song like a birth or a death.

The idea of ​​beauty is inherent in the beginning and in the end because it refers to the recomposition of the primary structures of existence which, when transferred from the hand of man to creation, give rise to the religious exaltation of intelligence. Why then is Beauty a withered idea? For the simple reason that, by adjudicating it, it suggests anything, regardless of the deep reason that inspires it.

Beauty is, in fact, in the ordinary and widespread consideration the transgressive vulgarity that is maintained to nullify the recognition of the religiosity inherent in the work of man as emanations of divinity. Beauty is the glorification of the torment of those who seek the ultimate reason for its confirmation in greed. Beauty is the conceptualization of emptiness and the ephemeral in a voluptuous search for the satisfaction of lust. Beauty is the creature’s sunset in the violence against creation; it is the interruption of silence; it is the profanation of piety; it is deaf resentment towards humility; it is sin that is exalted as a virtue. And all this, of course, qualifies modernity.

The obscene showiness actually opens up before us, in a sensational way, with the urge into megalopolis where the aesthetics of dryness celebrate their triumphs and hide the signs of holiness as heresies that can be displayed from time to time to explain. tolerance with the right recognized even for the stranger to be there. Still, beauty can exist in the gulag of dirt where the idea brothel holds together any horror. The problem, if anything, is recognizing it. It’s difficult, no doubt. And of course the educational institutions do not help. On the contrary, they offer the indecent spectacle of a deviation elevated to normality: the ugly is beautiful. Or, at least, everything is legal, nothing must be rejected except what is naturalities “normal” according to the millennial canons of civilizations that have had the ability to recreate after their fall.

The tragedy of our time, so well described by Nietzsche and Benn, and predicted, beyond their own intentions, by Hölderlin, Novalis e Goetheis the unrecognizable path of the spirit in art and thought.

The result, imagined by critics of modernity, sometimes with dazzling accents, beginning with Heidegger, is the inevitability of decadence. In short, nihilism as fate. Can there be beauty in the breakdown of what is born to remain harmonious? These days, the world of forms is being abused by terrible violence. Therefore, the resistance to the dry aesthetics is configured as a creative revolt against the utilitarianism of the way of feeling, the lifestyles, the dominant tastes. And it is the only way that can be recognized, to recreate the conditions for the beauty to re-emerge.

A return to classicism? We must not be afraid of words, nor of ideas. The classical world has given us the forms that modernity has deformed. Doing things right does not mean drowning in memory, but doing it dynamically; look back and acknowledge the paths along which the future could be shaped. It is not an intellectual operation, as it may seem at first glance. It is rather a kind of religious art to restore the truth. As he imagined Wagner To “invent” the total work of art, the work of the future, in short, where aesthetics and transcendence coexist admirably in the description of the highest beauty as it was, for example, in the revival of the myth of Parsifal.

During the denied centuries after the great revolution that swept away the certainties and made the provisional secure, even relativizing existence, the representation of the sacred lived in the dimensions belonging to humanity in such a natural way that it did not need to be made explicit. The figures of antiquity are still eloquent examples where one can find a “divine breath” that does not even stand in contrast to the profane images that are drawn outside the religious enclosure.

By this we mean that beauty cannot be given outside a representational phenomenology that does not have a religious connotation (which of course has nothing to do with faith). Our time, it must be admitted, is stingy with metaphysical impulses. Everything is reduced to materiality to be consumed. And then the art, the music, the poetry, the landscape. And also the eroticism, the language of the body is affected by the absence of a sacred vertigo that reverts them to pleasure as in the songs. Everything must be used, thrown away, broken down. Everything has a price, a market, an immediate end. And nothing can be traced back to eternity, after the barbarians who for our happiness have built, stone by stone, a new Babel that will never touch heaven.

Therefore, if beauty has not disappeared from our horizon, it has at least been hidden from most eyes. And modernity celebrates its greatest triumph: the negation of the beauty behind the disappearance of God.

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