Beauty Will Save the World. — Fyodor Dostoevsky
Do you believe that? Or do you believe Dostoevsky was full it and his phrase is sentimental nonsense?
I know beauty won’t solve everything, but more and more I believe it has saving power. I lost faith in it about nine years ago. I stopped writing poetry and didn’t write for approximately six years. I couldn’t see what my poetry was adding to the world. I felt despair about the Iraq War, the arrogant actions of the Bush Administration, and our culture’s narrow and revolting focus on reducing everything to utilitarian and economic ends.
But then I woke up. I needed to write. I needed poetry in my life. I felt less of a human and less of who I am without it in my life on a daily basis.
And I need to share beauty with other humans.
And I think this is true for all humans. We need the mysterious and profound in our lives. We need art and beauty as antidotes to the relentless pragmatism, efficiency, and results-focus that is prevalent in our culture.
And we need to share beauty in community.
We aren’t just about getting things done. We are better than that. We need beauty to be the imaginative, compassionate, and caring people we can be.
Beauty isn’t just about poetry and art. It can have many looks. Redemption is beautiful. Forgiveness is beautiful, and the acts of these in public is incredibly beautiful.
The world desperately needs beauty. We need places where people can stand together and be uplifted in its presence.
A task of leadership is to bring beauty into the room.