I’m sure a lot has been said about Orwell’s novel “1984”. I’m not going into that now, though. I’m actually only about half way through reading it. It’s pretty interesting.
Among the plethora of parallels in the book there was one in particular which immediately inspired in me the desire to act. I’ve spent much of my life growing up in it, so I didn’t notice:
Modern beauty is VERY rare.
All the latest fashions, architecture, technology et cetera is presented to us as attractive, but in reality looks like someone regurgitated something very colorful on a hideous dress or shirt. The buildings lack all sense of art and uniqueness and largely resemble cardboard boxes. Things lack detail in their design. Color schemes look like they were imagined by a toddler. Everything is either boring or hideous or both and one is never left with the impression that something is too good or beautiful for them to own either because it looks like it deserves to be earned in some extraordinary way or just out of fear of breaking something so lovely and fragile.
Now – on occasion I am a very lucky girl. This time it is because of a particular city I live near enough to walk to (but far enough to escape annoyances, mind you), and this city just happens to be spattered with antique shops in such frequency that I can hardly turn a corner without seeing one.
Of course shortly after I finished reading the chapter I was on I left for one of these shops. The hope was that if modern things were ugly, then maybe they were beautiful some time in the past. I had never been in an antique shop before and didn’t quite know what to expect beyond the promise of old stuff. I wish I’d had expectations so I could honestly say they were blown out of the water.
I walked around for a long time – probably at least an hour – looking at everything I could find. “This,” I thought to myself, “is what beautiful things are supposed to look like.”
It was obvious that an incredible amount of work and attention to detail had been put into what I had only recently dismissed as “old stuff”. There were tiny Greek perfume bottles with three or four pictures of myths painted on each one with such tiny details I could hardly believe someone actually took the time and effort to paint them. There were pieces of jewelery with such fine and delicate tendrils and such that I was honestly afraid they would break if I got within half a centimeter of touching them. There were survival books containing incredibly useful information which, granted, weren’t much to look at, but I was delighted that such information still existed somewhere and the rarity of their existence was beautiful to me.
They were also selling old CDs, records, clothes and so on. I was very interested in a few of the records, but I didn’t buy any. I don’t have anything I can use to play them and I’m afraid of breaking them even after hearing that it’s really very hard to scratch a record (supposedly some minor sound glitches can be caused by tiny bugs getting stuck in the grooves of the record and this can be mistaken for the record getting scratched, but that’s just something I heard online).
I got one of the Greek perfume bottles and a tiny jewelery box. I don’t have much of anything to put in it, but it’s incredibly detailed and I like to have an example of something I find truly beautiful in appearance to show to any guests I might have over. I like to think it’ll inspire thought in them as it did me.
Later I got a ring and a fleur-de-lis pin. I’m actually wearing the latter right now (it was cheap enough that I can have it on me always without worrying about damaging or losing it and so is the ring – the others I’m planning on being heirlooms and they have no business being outside anyway).
Contrary to the way this probably sounds, I’m not mentioning this just to brag. What I’m saying is that beauty has not fully been eradicated by cheap, easily-breakable objects constructed only out of money-lust. If everyone went to an antique shop and bought just one or two truly beautiful things exemplifying hard work and attention to detail and so on, then we would all have enough in storage (collectively, anyway), that the greed of others could never fully crush beauty.
We could pass on these beautiful objects to our descendants when we die so that these things could live on and continue to be protected by our families. And these beautiful things will remind them of all the efforts we either made or should have made to ensure that our descendants will have a beautiful future. It is our responsibility to do so in looking out for them.
P.S. As a final note to anyone willing to take this course of action, whether to help protect beauty, for personal glory or for other reasons: the more you put into getting the best and most beautiful heirlooms for your descendants, the more right they will have to brag to everyone about how loved they are and how much you cared about them and preserving the past and whatnot. It’s something to consider, anyway.