Nashville

It Is Not Real, But It Is Beautiful by Louis Holstein

Do I matter? What is the purpose of my existence? Who am I? These questions make us human. These questions separate us from the other species on earth. The human experience is constantly looking for meaning, purpose, and worth.

I’ve been wrestling with virtual reality recently. If you read my last blog post you can see why. I’ve become fed up with searching for truth in the lie that is social media. I use social media, and although I despise certain elements of it, I see it’s nuance to relationships and community. I recently dove head first into some over-thinking, indulge me for a second.

Disney's Magic Kingdom Castle
Parthenon In Nashville Tennissee

Over the holiday break in Puerto Rico, I stumbled across this lit-up tree. It was in the back of the garage and not inherently Christmas decor. I was mesmerized. The randomness of the tree, the lights illuminating from the tree, and the beauty of the tree all captured my attention. It got me thinking, “can something that is not real be beautiful?” Well, “of course,” I quickly respond. There are beautiful things all around us that aren’t real. Fictional stories, fake flowers, and Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, all beautiful things, but none of them real. It was then, in my list of not real, but beautiful things, Makoto Fujimura came to mind. He says this,

Beauty is the quality connected with those things that are in themselves appealing and desirable. Beautiful things are a delight to the senses, a pleasure to the mind, and refreshment for the spirit. Beauty invites us in, capturing our attention and making us want to linger. Beautiful things are worth our scrutiny, rewarding to contemplate, deserving of pursuit. They inspire- or even demand- a response, whether sharing them in community or acting to extend their beauty into the spheres.
— Culture Care, p. 32

What is beauty? According to Fujimura, things that are a “delight to the senses, a pleasure to the mind, and refreshment for the spirit.” In other words, we are talking about more than esthetics. Fujimura goes on to say “beauty is connected with satisfaction, which may point to the way beauty feeds the soul.” So can things that are not real be beautiful? Perhaps, but more importantly, are these not real “beautiful things” feeding my soul? If the answer is, “no,” then maybe they’re not worth my time.

I see so many not real, but beautiful things on Social Media. This twisty trail of thoughts has not only led me to a healthy view of those virtual platforms and art, but also to a practical approach in the way I interact with them. I can admire things that are not real, I just won’t spend much time on them- social media included.