Thursday, July 07, 2005

beauty and nihilism.. animals and people.. trees and vegans.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I discovered Christopher Alexander and the Nature of Order, I don't remember exactly how I found it, but I think it was a link off a blog that had something to do with literature, but definitly not Architecture or aesthetics. Odd thing is, like 3 days later George Grant recommended the same Author/book to me, after I commented on a post at his blog . Odd how connected things are on the internet.

Anyway, I've been reading a very interesting interview with Christopher Alexander, here's a quote:

"That is because there was a nihilistic view of living organisms, earth, and stars. There was really a nihilistic view of all that, of course in the second half of the 20th century...So then, architects living in the 2nd half of the 20th century, by and large, in effect, being educated to believe all that, could not use the word "beauty." Because you cannot use the word beauty without getting actually somewhere close to the idea of God. I mean, you can use it, but not really, because you sort of shake inside when you do it and realize your at the edge of something dangerous "

and a little bit later:
"It was cool, really, to be scientific and nihilistic, to look down your nose at things that mattered, or even at the idea that anything mattered."

I've watched Harry Potter 3 again with my siblings. It's my favorite of the 3 movies. I was just thinking about how much like humans, animals are. Not to spoil anything from harry potter, but it's interesting the animals certain characters turn into, and how like them they tend to be. My sister got to puppies earlier this year, and it's amazing how animal's personalities and looks can be like people's. I've always had a debate with my sister that dogs always seemed masculine and cats feminine. Anyway, if man is the image of God, perhaps animals are images of us in a sense. They, after all, have eyes and ears and hands (or hooves) and faces. There are big birds around the harbor here (rockport) that impeccably remind you of old men. Reminds me of another one of my favorite digital artists, who did a series of portraits of the Bird family, here's two of them:

On the subject of animals, I was thinking about an uncle of mine who lives on a ranch and hunts dear and everything, but he also raises deer. He has lived with them in his house. Now, no animal rights activist truly loves or knows deer the way he does. Yet they see hunting as murder. I love oak trees, our yard (the one I grew up in) has about 13 (all at least 150 year old) Live oak trees. So beautifully shaped by the coastal wind. They make the perfect climbing and treehouse trees. Now, any environmentalist would probably think it wrong to climb trees, let alone 'rape' them by building tree houses in them. Yet, I know and love trees all the more because I have climbed them and build treehouses in them, and cut them down and warmed our house in the winter with them. That it what it means to know a tree and to love a tree. Interesting.

I've been listening to some Renaissance music lately, namely "Renaissance Flemish Polyphonists" (I get most of my music now from, which is apparently legal, and very cheap about 1$ for an entire cd). I've always loved listening to choirs sing in languages I cannot understand. I'm not sure why, maybe it's just the pure beauty of the human voice, without the intellectual content of the words. Makes great music to read by. You here bits and pieces of this sort of thing in a lot of modern film music. LOTR, Starwars, Hans Zimmer.


Blogger John Jackson said...

Stephen, when you say that since we are created in Gods image, animals are arguably created in ours, you remind me of something that my friend Sam, one of the folks that lead me to Christ, said when I asked him as a new believer who was beginning to question evolution, why it was that humans and animals shared many of the same charachteristics. His answer was something to the effect of, "Just as a human artist features many of the same charachteristics in different works of art, so to does God in His." Not a bad answer for why humans and animals are in many ways similar, and it follows completely what you are saying. After God created one thing, being the same God, with the same personality, He expressed Himself in a similar way with all of His creation. What I would add to Sam's comment is that it can also be noted of course that God, like a human artist, brings in different and unique charachteristics as well. I cannot help but be reminded of the hymn that I learned as a child in VBS, "All Things Bright and Beautiful", which exemplifies this, and in particular, the verse that states, "Each little flower that opens,Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings." Each of His creations are different, but each exemplifies His artistic hand at work.

7/12/2005 8:49 PM  

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