Why We Should Look For Beauty
As I mentioned in my book review of A View From The Back Pew, I recently had an opportunity to visit Las Vegas.
This was a work related trip, as Vegas would not exactly be my first choice of places to go.
I am not a great traveller. I don’t mind flying itself, but the whole process of planning, packing, airports, security, customs and acclimatizing to a different climate is for me, a perfect recipe for anxiety. I know that I am not alone in this.
While I tend to relax immediately upon arrival, it is a lot to go through to get to a place I have no interest in being.
Non-the-less, I survived the trip and now I know for certain that I prefer to give Vegas a miss.
I am definitely not a big city person. I am not shopper, nor a gambler. I am also a big fan of peace and quiet, which is pretty much impossible to find anywhere in Las Vegas, unless you lock yourself up in your hotel room. Since my room turned out to be too far from the hotel router to get a wi-fi signal, there wasn’t too much to do there.
Las Vegas, is a nightmare to someone as environmentally conscious as I. The traffic, lights, decadent waste of precious water and complete dis-regard for the health of our Earth could easily be enough make anyone feel as though the situation is hopeless.
However,determined to make the most of the experience, I did have a relatively good time. My travelling companions, my boss, and two of my new co-workers, were excellent company. We laughed a lot, ate some amazing food, but best of all, I saw the most amazing show of my life. Believe me, the irony of seeing such a show two weeks after I leave my theatre career is not lost.
There is always something beautiful to be found, and in this case I found it in 90 minutes of breathtaking spectacle in the form of Cirque Du Soleil’s show; Love.
From the first moment the performers hit the stage, (some of them literally hitting the stage,) I was deeply moved by the beauty of human creation.
Having spent most of the last 16 years working in theatre, I was as blown away by the technicalities of the show as I was the artistry and brilliance of the performers. Stage Managers, who are more like air traffic controllers, costumes that almost made me ache, and technical effects that I could not understand , all set to the incredible music of The Beatles. These were original recordings of the music that has been part of my life since I was born, seamlessly combined with added strings and other effects.
The entire production seemed to defy the limits of imagination.
But of course, this would be because there are no limits to imagination.
I found myself wondering, as I have many times before, why we are not more committed to creating beauty in the world than we are to taking it?
It doesn’t matter if our hearts lead us to art, performance, music, or if we are drawn to science, engineering, law or any of probably thousands of passions that we could be drawn to, there is art and beauty to be found in any job well done. The key, is that the job be done for the benefit of the whole world. That we consider the impact of our choices first, and proceed only when, or in such a way that neither the Earth nor any of its inhabitants has to suffer as a result. This is the missing component in so much of what we are doing and how we are living, and it is the cause of so much suffering both individually and collectively.
As there are no limits to imagination, it must be possible for us to live in a much better way, and in doing so, we would create so much potential for true happiness, peace and joy for more than just our own selves and those we love. The art, and the beauty lie in the process of discovering how. This is something we can only do when we are willing to commit.
Sadly, it seems to me, that even those who are aware of the serious crises that we face today, have resigned themselves to the belief that people will never change, so there is no point in trying to do anything. Besides, we are all very busy.
But the world is changing, constantly, and very, very quickly. Trends begin and take over, and the next thing we know we look back and marvel at what we were thinking in the past.
There was a time when no one had even thought of adding seat belts in cars. Parents smoked while holding their babies and teachers were allowed to physically abuse students in order to make them learn. Women in our own culture didn’t always have the right to acquire even a primary education. In each moment of our entire history you can find examples of how we changed our thinking and in doing so, changed the world. It is happening as I write this.
It is what happens when people stand up and speak out, become the change they want to see and set an example for others. Change, is not only possible it is inevitable. What is not inevitable, is that we will change for the better. That, can only happen when we are consciously determined.
Call me a dreamer, I won’t take it as an insult. I do not see how we will possibly be able to keep stripping this planet of its resources, filling it with garbage and polluting it with toxic chemicals and carbon-monoxide if we hope to survive, but I absolutely know that we have within us the potential to change. In doing so, our lives will become richer and our children will have a much brighter future.
The key, I believe is to turn our attention to what beauty we can find and create and it all starts when we decide to try our best today, love ourselves even when we fail, and strive to do better tomorrow.