|Subject: Beauty, a key to development - MUST READ
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Date Posted: Thu, Feb 22 2007, 11:10:43am
Assess yourselves. What level of beauty are we adorning?
With such a beauty as being espoused here, I am sure the many ills that our province is synonymous for will fade. That includes tribal warfare, destruction of other peoples'/government properties and lives.
I read the article and thought it was an insightful analysis of what development really is.
by Dr MICHAEL UNAGE
Beauty, a key to development
ALL development processes aim at achieving quality of life. Nonetheless, quality of life cannot be desired unless people develop within them the sense of appreciating beauty. In fact, only the beauty radiating from within the human person can account for authentic development. This inner radiance helps people to appreciate the beauty in the natural environment, the cultural and artistic creations, and including technological transformation.
To initiate authentic development, a basic education in appreciating beauty is necessary. Even Plato, an ancient Greek philosopher, says that the aim of all education is to teach us to love beauty. If we, for the moment agree with Plato that the aim of all education is to love beauty, we can now concur that any education towards development should teach us to love beauty.
If education is given to love beauty, it will, of course, bring enrichment to the human soul.
There are many aspects regarding our development as human persons, our community and our physical environment.
We normally speak in terms of economic, social, physical, moral, spiritual and personal development. When we think of all these developments holistically, we usually use the term integral human development.
Without going into details of each aspects of development, we can simply divide development into two general and complementary aspects. We call them interior and exterior developments of the human person.
The exterior development refers to all the external and physical developments that have taken place around us.
When we speak of interior development, we normally talk of the developments that have taken place in our characters and in our attitudes, such as moral, spiritual and personal development.
Lately, we are informed that interior developments are as necessary as physical and economic developments for the appreciation and sustainability of any developmental projects all around the world. We would contend that the development of the interior person is prior and prerequisite for any exterior form of physical and material development.
Indeed, an unknown author claimed that “if there is right in the soul, there will be beauty in the person; there will be harmony in the home; and, if there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation and if there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world”.
The one necessary question in our minds now is how we can enhance this interior development that is prior and conducive to any socio-economic development.
To be more practical in that ideal, I would like to use a recent example in the Simbu province.
There was a group of young people from Wara-Tamba, a notorious section on the Simbu highway best know for holdups, who decided to convert the place into a scene of beauty.
The youths cleared the drains and planted flowers some metres away from the highway that gave a sight of beauty to those who travelled on the highway. This transformation of the physical environment did have a deeper psychological and emotional change within the travelling public. From what was seen as elephant grass and overgrowth, delightful flowers and colourful vines sprung up; from what used to cause fear and apprehension, joy and a new breath of freedom was induced.
If we can transform what is ugly and bad in us and in our environment to what is good and beautiful, we are in for the enrichment of the interior person. The interior enrichment of the individual will then be the agent for all aspect of genuine growth.
Aesthetic sensitivity simply speaks of how we appreciate beauty in ourselves, in other people, in all the things in our environment, in the different forms of cultural arts, and in technological creativity.
The appreciation of beauty in us and in others around us will be the foundation for the idea of development.
Beauty, after all, is not a concept, but something that we meet in real experience.
We are fascinated by the very harmony, proportion and organisational integrity of the things we see around us. Thus, beauty has the power to fascinate and convince us, because the joy it arouses in us is based on something of the ultimate truth and goodness of nature, which becomes visible and communicates itself to us.
The absence of aesthetic sensitivity will result in the impoverishment of the soul. Thus, we see the degradation of the urban landscape, the ruthless destruction of nature, the spread of obscenity, the increase in boredom, the industry of bad taste, and the idolisation of the superficial.
However, the deeper consequences within us are more difficult to pinpoint. If we are blind to beauty or find that we lack developing an aesthetic sensitivity, it will be detrimental to our own possibilities for survival, or at least for decent human living.
As we have seen all over the world, technological development does enhance people’s lives; it makes life more convenient. But at the same time technology has destroyed and impoverished people’s lives, creating boredom and impoverishment to the interior person.
The mystery of beauty should be the union of outward form and inner, mysterious radiance and should be guarded against all false impressions of beauty that springs from an impoverished soul. Without a deep sense of aestheticism, natural and eternal beauty would be substituted for temporal and superficial beauty. Without this basic education in beauty, ugliness will be endemic.
Aesthetic sensitivity and the enrichment of the interior person would lead to a healthy self-esteem. It will remove the bus kanaka syndrome. It will overcome laziness and will help people to do something to beautify themselves. They will clean their houses, weed their gardens, keep their coffee gardens clean, repair their roads and beautify their villages. It will enhance the idea of hygiene and health, in which toilets are kept clean, plates and cups are washed regularly, new clothes are bought, and money would be well used to enhance the living conditions.
With the development of aesthetic sensitivity, some activities would necessarily cease, such as abuse of alcohol and marijuana, laziness, vandalism of public property and exploitation of the physical environment.
Aesthetic sensitivity guards exploitation in development and directs the way for true development.
A day will come when our people will develop aesthetic sensitivity. It will be the time when this country will be on the true track for development. Governments wishing to develop Papua New Guinea would have to undertake an extensive educational programme in aesthetic sensitivity.
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