“Beauty will save the world”

Posted: September 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

I was watching the tennis match between the Serbian Janko Tipsarevic and America’s Andy Roddick at the 2010 U.S. Open Tournament.

One of the commentator’s announced that Tipsarevic arm displayed the tattoo: “Beauty will save the world.”

As we know, Dostoevsky coined the enigmatic phrase.
Here is what the acclaimed Russian novelist, Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote:

“Beauty will save the world.” What does this mean? For a long time it used to seem to me that this was a mere phrase. Just how could such a thing be possible? When had it ever happened in the bloodthirsty course of history that beauty had saved anyone from anything? Beauty had provided embellishment certainly, given uplift—but whom had it ever saved?

…Works (of art) steeped in truth and presenting it to us vividly alive will take hold of us, will attract us to themselves with great power- and no one, ever, even in a later age, will presume to negate them. And so perhaps that old trinity of Truth and Good and Beauty is not just the formal outworn formula it used to seem to us during our heady, materialistic youth. If the crests of these three trees join together, as the investigators and explorers used to affirm, and if the too obvious, too straight branches of Truth and Good are crushed or amputated and cannot reach the light—yet perhaps the whimsical, unpredictable, unexpected branches of Beauty will make their way through and soar up to that very place and in this way perform the work of all three.

“And in that case it was not a slip of the tongue for Dostoyevsky to say that “Beauty will save the world,” but a prophecy. After all, he was given the gift of seeing much, he was extraordinarily illumined.

“And consequently perhaps art, literature, can in actual fact help the world of today.”

Excerpted from Solzhenitsyn’s essay, “Beauty will save the world.”

A cynical friend had this to say: “Ugliness will destroy the world.”

What do YOU say?


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