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Announcement : A Life of Virtue Podcast

I decided to start recording some of my poems on A Live of Virtue and uploading them in podcast format via the Anchor platform.

So far I have the poem ‘Hope‘ up with more to come shortly.

A link to the site can be found below. Of note, Anchor allows you to stream on most podcast platforms.


A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life • A podcast on Anchor

The Ignorance of the Modern Man A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life

An audio version of my poem the Ignorance of the Modern Man
  1. The Ignorance of the Modern Man
  2. The Mysteries of Nature
  3. Lessons from Nature
  4. A Meditation on Silence
  5. To Be Human

Stay tuned for more,

Andrew

Hope : A Poem

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There is a crack in everything , that’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen
Beyond the tides of cynicism and depths of despair 
Past the grim ramblings of the evening news 
Therin lies a possibility, an opportunity for hope 

It comes to you like waves passing by 
Like clouds parting, making way for the crisp blue sky

Illusive and temporary, a light shines forth from above 
It arrives in many forms, an invitation, a sign which gently awaits 

Hope - the spontaneous ecstatic laughter of a child 
Hope - the wonder and awe evoked from gazing into the seemingly infinte cosmos 
Hope - the beauty of the morning sun radiating through the blossoming trees in the spring 

Subtle glimpses of transcendance  
Hints of the sublime
Unveiling the divine 
All point towards new paths and emergent possibilities 

As new horizons dawn upon us 
Hope arises 

It is through the gaps, that light shines through 
Light shines through                         



I am going to start recording some of my poetry to accompany the text with audio. Here is the audio version of this poem on Spotify.

A Life of Virtue: Philosophy as a Way of Life | Podcast on Spotify


Photo by Luis Dalvan on Pexels.com

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The Power of Art: How Beauty Can Save the World

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Beauty will save the world

Fydor Dostoevsky

It seems awfully naïve, and perhaps a bit idealistic to ponder such a question – but in this article I want to explore if art and beauty save the world.  What did the existentialist writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky mean by such an ambiguous statement, and how can art make a difference in a world divided by conflict, strife and division?

It was when I was travelling in Europe, and sitting in one of the many breathtaking cathedrals, that I was filled with inner calm – a sense of peace and solitude swept over me. External events and the frivolous pursuits of the everyday world felt insignificant, so trivial. Existential worry and anxiety became drowned out by the beauty and wonder that was revealed to me in that moment. Nothing else mattered.

Great art, that which has been able to stand the test of time, points to the transcendent, the infinite, and the absolute.

 Art inflames even a frozen, darkened soul to a high spiritual experience. Through art we are sometimes visited – dimly, briefly – by revelations such as cannot be produced by rational thinking.

Like that little looking-glass from the fairy-tales: look into it and you will see – not yourself – but for one second, the Inaccessible, whither no man can ride, no man fly. And only the soul gives a groan

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Lecture

Throughout history, religions understood that the communal experience of the arts in practices of worship provided us with a glimpse of the sacred. Rituals of worship including art, music, and dance lured people to cherish the spiritual side of human existence. It drew us towards altered states of consciousness and higher truths, unveiling the illusive nature of material things and earthly pursuits. Connecting to something greater than ourselves, awe and beauty signal to us that there was something beyond the limited constructs of the human mind – a reality which words and language cannot fully describe.  

Beauty presents us with an ideal to strive towards. Further, it provides us with meaning, our ‘why’ and purpose to help us conquer the many uncertainties in life.  Coming to us through flashes of insight or intuition, beauty acts as a signpost which reveals the path towards the good life.

In the final analysis, it is the gift of aspiration as well as of hope.  

Photo by Julia Volk on Pexels.com

It is said that Dostoyevsky’s idea of beauty is characterized by the love of God. Jesus’ death and resurrection is one of the many reminders for humanity that redemption, joy and bliss can be found on the other side of suffering. The cross presents us with a symbol of hope, representing the idea that good will always transcend over evil. Our suffering is not in vain, but is a guide towards a higher purpose.  

This experience of awe, reverence and beauty in art and in life is of course is not exclusively limited to the domain of religion. Nietzsche, an atheist, was particularly fond of the idea that life itself can be treated as a work of art. Nietzsche thought of humans as inherently creative beings, who wish to assert their individuality by bringing something original and authentic into existence.

Art presents us with the opportunity us to rise above hardship by using difficult experiences as inspiration and raw materials in working towards a more wholesome meaningful life. We turn chaos into order and the apparent randomness of our existence into wonderful harmony. Think of the many great songs that reflect on the common experiences of sorrow, heartbreak or grief.  

Through this catharsis we realize we are connected through a common bond with the rest of humanity as we share those same feelings and emotions with others. We hear the same story over and over again just with different words. 

Through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home, and in doing so we both amplify our joys and find consolation for our sorrows.

Roger Scruton

Within this enduring beauty and truth that is illuminated in great art, we can arrive at a better understanding of citizens from different cultures and traditions. Art offers us portals into the worlds of those who are seemingly different from us. Rather than acting in hesitancy or suspicion, we can come towards greater empathy and compassion.

For we all have the same drives to experience beauty, moments of awe and wonder in which our consciousness transforms from ‘me’ to ‘we’ or from ‘I’ to ‘us’. For a brief period, selfish egotism all but vanishes, and new possibilities arrive. A new door opens for us all.

In beauty, and through beauty we are united as one.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness

John Keats, Endymion
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