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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

If love depends on beauty, then beauty comes first

August 10th, 2010

‘We want the world because it is beautiful, its sounds and smells and textures, the sensate presence of the world as body. In short, below the ecological crisis lies the deeper crisis of love, that our love has left the world; that the world is loveless results directly from the repression of beauty, its beauty and our sensitivity to beauty. For love to return to the world, beauty must first return, else we love the world only as a moral duty: clean it up, preserve its nature, exploit it less. If love depends on beauty, then beauty comes first.’

James Hillman

4 Responses to “If love depends on beauty, then beauty comes first”

  1. A very interesting quote indeed. I would venture to add that the repression of beauty in the world, and our love for it, directly follows from a certain kind of socio-religious cultural background: one that on the one hand holds a deep distrust for beauty and sensuality, seeing such things as ‘carnal’ or ‘wicked’; and on the other hand proclaims that this earth is not our true home, and we are just passing through on our way to eternity.

    Such an attitude doubtless creates a view of the earth as unimportant, and as a tool to be used rather than a living being to be honoured and loved. I dare not even begin to mention the disasterous consequences of theologies that view the world as ‘broken’, ‘fallen’ or ‘sinful’.

    I agree that what we need to love our world more is to regain a true understanding and appreciation of its beauty and interconnected complexity, without over-romanticizing it. Indeed, we should not care for our planet merely out of a sense of duty (for all talk of ‘duty’ invokes notions of ‘commandments’ and is merely the flip-side of the same puritanical attitude that distrusts beauty and exploits the earth’s resources) but instead with an attitude of appreciation and love.

    Thanks for posting such a thought-provoking piece.

  2. If you have never been sad to dead and overjoyed to tears at the same instance by the beauty of let’s say a sunrise, you have never known Love.

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