Friday, July 15, 2011

Beauty and the Soul: The Extraordinary Power of Everyday Beauty to Heal Your Life by Piero Ferrucci

The author, an Italian  psychotherapist and philosopher, tells us that beauty is essential for a fully human and satisfying life.  It is not an "extra," as many people think, but it is a genuine human need.  Different people find beauty in different things, and not only in  such universal appeals as a sunrise, a sunset, lovely music, good art, a newborn baby and the smile of a child.  A man who is attracted to old cars might find beauty in an old wrecked automobile.  A woman found beauty in the vegetable peels that others simply throw away. She sees the delicate lines of an onion peel, the rich color of a ripe tomato and other remains of such beauty that she displays them in water to better admire them.
Ferrucci says that beauty is all around us, but we need to look for it and to take time to allow it to enrich our life. The aesthetic appreciation of beauty can be overpowering, and it can come to us through any of our senses, not only sight or hearing. It is not always easy to find, as immigrants experience in a new land, where the music, the food, the people, the art and architecture and even the natural landscapes are unfamiliar and do not appear to them as beautiful.  With time and greater exposure, the unfamiliar may become familiar and beautiful.  Beauty expands intelligence, breaks down stereotypes, helps us understand other cultures, and gives joy.
In the final chapter, entitled "Beauty Is The Opposite of War", the author says that beauty cannot stop a war, but that it is incompatible with aggression, violence, hatred, killing, nuclear threat, and all the horrors of warfare, that it has the power to dispel or reduce violence and fear, and that a society based on the enjoyment of beauty would not likely be a warrior society…a thought worth pondering.