Oddly, even though the encoding of TruthBeauty through consciousness and creativity seems to drive us from deep within our souls, we don’t really know what it is.
The question we started with was “What is Beauty?”
But that isn’t the right question. The real question is: What is TruthBeauty?
Perhaps it’s God. Perhaps it’s the Tao. Perhaps it’s Plato’s Ideal. Perhaps it’s a universal consciousness. Perhaps it’s a massive supercomputer. Perhaps it’s just part of the vibration of the universe.
Whatever it is, we humans perceive it as Truth and as Beauty and we are motivated, no, we are drawn, with an almost insatiable hunger to know it. To understand it. To explore it. To depict it. To perhaps recreate it and expand its influence in the universe. This manifests inside of each one of us as an intense hunger to create something. To create something beautiful. That is sometimes art, it is sometimes poetry, it is sometimes music, it is sometimes a scientific theory, it is sometimes a child. But, inside, we are all creators.
What is the Soaring Twenties Social Club but an expression of this desire to create? All of the members found their way into the club, driven by a common desire to create beauty, to create meaning, from nothing but arrangements of twenty-six characters on computer screens. It’s speaks volumes about what drives us as humans that the first symposium topic was Beauty. Creating Beauty is what we are made to do. Perhaps there will be a future symposium on Truth, in which case I will resubmit this essay.
Our desire to create beauty is the ultimate and original form of mimetic desire: We mimic this ultimate thing, TruthBeauty, that we can never quite define. We are creators in the same way that Truth/Beauty/Tao/God created us.
What are we evolving into?
The universe, despite all the talk of increasing entropy and chaos, has, on it’s own been the most remarkable creator of truth and beauty: Stars have been created, planets have been created, water has been created, sky has been created, animals have been created, and we, humans, have been created. These things are beautiful. Beauty is the output of creation combined with consciousness. And all of evolution seems to have led to us, to humanity. Sometimes it feels to me like the entire point of nature’s evolution was to get to humans, so that we could then continue evolution’s work with our technology and our art.
Though us, this process of evolution gets faster. It took all of history, 13.1 billion years, for nature to develop human brains and for those brains to create the agrarian revolution. But, once humans had steady food and time to think, it only took human brains just a few thousand more years to encode enough Truth as knowledge and technology to get to the industrial revolution. And, with the enlightenment, building upon the back of that technology and art humans created, just a few hundred more years to get to the information revolution. The theory of evolution was just the first act in my theory of human revolution.
And what are we evolving/revolving toward? Now that we live in the information age, our brains, along with computers and AI can continue the work of applying TruthBeauty to the universe at an exponentially increasing rate. And, as we continue to push that the boundaries of that evolution, we are getting asymptotically closer and closer to that “Ideal” that we can never understand fully.
We might never understand it fully, but we will understand it more than we do today, just as we understand it more today than we did a thousand years ago. And, in the process of creating the knowledge to better understand Truth, and the art to greater understand Beauty, we will see astonishing increases in both.
We will not only increase our understanding of Beauty, but we will also increase the sheer level of Beauty that exists and that can be created by humans. Our current pinnacles of artistic achievement will appear as crude to future humans as the famous cave paintings of Lascaux appear to us today.
Think about this: There are more Michelangelos alive today than when Michelangelo was alive. What can those Michelangelos create when we have perfect virtual reality? I’ve seen people moved to laughter and tears by colored oil paint on canvas. What will happen when a virtuoso artist is able to “paint” a masterpiece directly into your brain?
Technology drives art and art drives technology in a virtuous spiral that, if we don’t blow ourselves to kingdom come in the meantime, will lead humanity to unimaginable heights.
Given enough time, we will be able to do anything that is not prohibited by the laws of physics and, as we’ve just seen, we don’t even fully understand the laws of physics.
Can you imagine the technology of the year 36,542? Can you imagine how much Beauty humans will create in that span of time? Can you imagine the Technology we will utilize to create such Beauty?
So back to the question of the day: What is Beauty? Beauty (along with knowledge) appears to be the substance that the universe evolved humans to create more of. Existence is striving to create Beauty through us even as we are striving to create Beauty through our existence.
And now we humans, the very way the universe became conscious of itself, have picked up the torch to continue the universe’s noble work.
Admittedly, our first attempts, colors on canvas, imitating our own form in stone, making tones with stringed instruments, while enjoyable, are comparatively crude compared to the majesty of the universe. But as with language, science, art and every other thing humanity has done, we will get better.
Our attempts will slowly become less crude. Just as the enlightenment has driven an explosion of knowledge, we will drive an explosion of Beauty across our planet. We will come to a greater and greater understanding of the connections between Truth and Beauty.
Over eons, we will spread Beauty beyond planet earth, to our solar system and, eventually, to the distant stars that we see in the night sky, that inspired us to seek Beauty in the first place.
And so, I say again, look up at the night sky to see our beautiful destiny.