Saturday, September 13, 2014

Order and beauty

A graduate student, an admirer of Roger Scruton — "author of more than thirty-five books and hundreds of essays, currently visiting professor at both Oxford and St. Andrews" — is dumbfounded when, in an autobiographical essay, he reads “I do the cooking and the housework; she looks after the animals.” The student wonders how he too could manage to do all of that. Writing to Scruton he asks for advice:
.... He, being rather wise, didn’t give me what I asked for. Instead, he wrote to explain how he approached cleaning and cooking. Not a chore for him; they are “aesthetic undertakings.” Beauty and order are intertwined such that one brings about the other. The beautiful is orderly and the orderly is beautiful. Cleaning the house creates order, and therefore creates beauty. No one need undertake the task of rearranging matter as a draining labor to be endured. Cleaning is an art to be cultivated.

.... Every blade of grass cut, every circuit wired, every dish washed, every carpet vacuumed is an ongoing work of the highest art: art that aspires to create beauty rather to mock it. .... [more]