One does not see anything until one sees its beauty.” Oscar Wilde
There’s nothing like being forced to make a public choice about a sensitive subject, but that’s what women faced in the recent Dove campaign, “Choose Beautiful.” As women approached the entrance to a public building, they were faced with the choice of which door to walk through — and which label to apply to themselves, “beautiful” or “average.”
Which door would you walk through? Upon what would your choice be based? How you see yourself? How you think others see you? Each of us would choose a door based on:
1) What we believe about beauty
2) What we believe about ourselves
Let’s start with what we believe about beauty. How would you define beauty?
Is it really “in the eye of the beholder”?
In his thought provoking book, “Imagine That,” aerospace engineer and Creative Arts Pastor, Manuel Luz explores beauty from both an artist’s and a scientist’s perspective. In the book, he explores the scientific possibility that form is the foundation for beauty.
I know, sounds technical, but stick with me, it’ll be worth it, I promise!
My son is studying aerospace engineering. In a recent call home, he shared what he’s learning in astrophysics and higher math. “At first it looks confusing and chaotic,” he said, “but the deeper [into the math and science and space] you go, clear forms emerge. There are shapes and symmetry. It’s so cool! Design underlays everything and there are patterns everywhere. The handprint of a Designer is all over it. You can see God so clearly . . . “
As an artist I was captivated by the picture he painted for me as he described what he had seen, but I was just as hooked by the science behind it.
If form is the foundation for beauty, then
God has embedded beauty in the design of our universe.
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Luz goes on to quote B. Fuller, an award winning architect and engineer, “When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I am finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”¹ (Emphasis mine)
How exciting that beauty is real, tangible, and transcends cultural trends and personal preferences. There’s so much more to beauty than we think and more beauty around us than we realize. Beauty is a gift God wants us to grasp —
— and be immensely blessed by.[Tweet “Beauty is a gift God intends us to grasp and be immensely blessed by.”]
When my son saw the artistic design behind all the math and physics it resonated because . . .
God has embedded beauty in the rhythms of our heart.
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Beauty is more than something we can look at, we can experience it. In Luz’s book, he talks about “sympathetic resonance” and uses the example of a guitar to demonstrate its meaning in the context of beauty. Here’s a simplified version: when a string on a guitar is plucked, the string on the guitar harmonically in sync to it hums and responds.
As an engineer, when my son saw the palette of patterns in math and science, there was an answering hum in his heart to the beauty etched in the cosmos.
Photo courtesy of Crestock.com
God has tuned your heart and mine to the design and rhythm of beauty, too.
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Think of a time when you saw or experienced something beautiful. A vacation spot, a work of art, music, the birth of a baby. Do you remember how you felt? That rushing swell inside you? The breathless wonder? Did you feel a “harmonic resonance” humming in your heart?
“Interesting,” you may be thinking, but what does all this sciency stuff have to do with Dove’s, “Choose beautiful” campaign?
Because if God has embedded beauty in our universe —
If He has embedded it in our heart —
Then it only makes sense that God, the Master Designer has embedded beauty in the crown jewel of His creation:
Want to know more? Join me next week to discover how God’s custom, creative, cosmic design is embedded in you and me.
Inside AND out.
(Click here to read part 2 of Beautiful Design.)
When was the last time you saw or experienced something beautiful? What affect did it have on you?
Note: I am deeply indebted to Manuel Luz for the source material and the insights I gained through his book, “Imagine That.” It is a fascinating read that I highly recommend.
¹ Excerpted from “Imagine That” end notes. “Buckminster Fuller” ThinkExist.com, http://www.thinkexist.com
Awesome post Bethany!
I love that your quote, God has embedded beauty in the design of our Universe, and that your son sees it so clearly in His studies.
Hope all is well with you.
Thanks for the encouragement, Sarah! Its timely. This was part of a message I gave at a Spring Tea and was tough to get down clearly on paper, without waving my hands around a lot. 😉