Philosophy Works (Class Six)


Beauty is within and without. Find it!

Class Notes:

What is beauty itself? Is it a different beauty appearing in separate objects, actions or ideas, or it is the same universal beauty shining in a million different forms? Plato taught that there is only one beauty absolute. Wherever we see or know beauty, it is this single absolute beauty that is being experienced in a particular form.

Beauty is everywhere, inside and out. “If there were no beauty in the observer then he would not find beauty outside. The mere fact that beauty is seen proves that there is beauty already present in the being of the observer. Nowhere in creation does beauty stand by itself. The physical or sensory beauty has its foundations in the mental or subtle realm. The physical forms look beautiful because the mind is beautiful.”

Shantanand Saraswati

When we say “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, we must also consider what else is in or behind the eye that will determine our receptivity and appreciation of beauty.

Principles and Practices

-Look for beauty. If you don’t’ see it, look again – and again.

-Practice attention open and attention centered.

Passages for study:

The highest praise for a good theory was not that it was correct, nor that it was exact, but that it was beautiful.

Albert Einstein

He who has been instructed in the things of love, and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he reaches the goal of his journey , will suddenly perceive a wondrous beauty – a beauty which … is everlasting, knowing not birth or death, growth or decay; not beautiful from one point of view or ugly from another… but beauty absolute, existing by and of itself, simple, and everlasting, which is the source of the ever growing and perishing beauty of all other beautiful things, without itself suffering diminution or increase, or any change.

Diotima, Prophetess of Mantinea, teacher of Socrates, Plato, Symposium 212

Years ago there used to be a comedian and he always introduced his act with the words: “Oh, you beautiful people!” In fact, he was quite right, and it was also a rather popular statement, and the audience would shine back with beauty on being reminded… And this beauty, which shines from people when it is allowed out, is the beauty of the Self; all beauty, whatever it shines from, is the beauty of the Self. A thing is never beautiful; It is the Self that is beautiful, and it shines from different things according to their qualities.

Leon MacLaren

Beauty doesn’t change, we can perceive it through physical objects, through our mind or through conduct (Plato). Being on the journey, soul itself partakes in the internal discern of becoming from being.

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