Monday, December 10, 2012

A Conspiracy Against Beauty

The University of California is changing its logo from an old, ornate design to what can be politely described as an excrescence. Many people have shown their disapproval with the new logo; a few have even started a petition to change the logo back to the old one. (So far, the petition has been unsuccessful.)
This university's replacement of a beautiful logo with a modern, ugly one is emblematic of a trend in society to replace all that is beautiful things with glittery, trendy froth. There is a conspiracy against beauty in modernity – a trend that much of humanity has willingly acquiesced in.
The conspiracy is driven by those who push the the illusion of inevitable progress. In this vision, mankind inevitably progresses upwards: what is old is bad, what is new is good.
And modern man has embraced this vision, headlong pursuing the new, the trendy, the novel. He is constantly sucked into the snark of hastily constructed memes, the mindless adventures of vapid celebrities, and the sophomoric humor of popular YouTube videos. He is rendered thrall to the electronic vortex of Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail.
But the corrosive fixation on the shadow world of electronics comes at a great price - modern man loses awareness of his surroundings. The beauty of the real world is in competition with alluring yet ultimately soulless alternate reality. And in "developed countries," the alternate reality of the shadow world is winning hands-down. 
This detachment from the real world comes with a dreadful price - the loss of interest and even the destruction of what is beautiful. 
The glorious architecture and stained-glass windows of old churches is demolished, replaced with the concrete meeting halls and prisons which pass for churches today. Scenic vistas are carved up by developers seeking room for golf courses and high-rises.
The power of music to provoke emotion in sound is distorted into the psychedelic nightmare of modern "artists" whose screaming passes for music. The realism and beauty of art in paintings and canvas is warped into expressions of twisted despair in canvas and clay.
And the wonder, strength, and life-creating joy of romantic relationships is twisted into animalistic craving for the mindless, quickly-passing pleasure of quick hook-ups and uncommitted relationships (or even the shadow relationships of porn).  
In the name of progress, modernity seeks to improve on human nature and create new things in a shadow world - even declaring war on beauty to make their "changes."

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