The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. When we experience the Beautiful, there is a wonderful sense of homecoming; we feel fully alive. Our lives become illuminated, and behind the shudder of appearances we come to glimpse the sure form of things. On Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, Irish poet and philosopher John O'Donohue invites us to remember and to awaken the Beautiful; it is always secretly there, awaiting but our attention and reverence in order to come alive. Beauty is the true priestess of individuation. But our times are dominated by anxiety and by what is vulgar, coarse, and artificial. Were Beauty to awaken in the fields of politics, religion, planning, discourse, and seeing, our world would heal, and fresh wells of hope would refresh us. Kathleen Raine, the English poet says: "Strangest of all is the ease with which the vision is lost, consciousness contracts, we forget over and over again, until recollection is stirred by some icon of that beauty. Then we remember and wonder why we ever forgot."
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