I spent the day relaxing. Somewhat. We went snorkeling which was really cool except the face mask was leaking and then I put it on too tight so I got a headache. But the coral was amazing to see.
It occurred to me afterwards that there’s not much interest in the things we see. What’s interesting is the perception behind them. The feelings that we have before, during, afterward.
I spent many years reading about the Romantic poets and their theories about the creative process. Very basically, they believed that the self, the mind and perception were essential for creation. Without the self as a filter of reality, there would be no poetry.
Ok. Not so crazy to think about in today’s world. But in their day, nobody wrote about their own feelings and emotions. There was no way that a poem about sitting in the woods looking at trees would be considered literature. They were radical.
But they were so right! It really struck me as I sat on the beach deck with my head pounding. I was thinking about how crappy I felt, but I was surrounded by beauty and I had just gone snorkeling in the most beautiful ocean I had ever seen.
Each moment is only precious because we are there to witness it. The clouds will always be there, but they are beautiful because I perceive them and add beauty. But if you don’t add the beauty, then it is just an object.
I want more than just seeing beautiful things. I want more raw emotion. Things become less beautiful if you are only focused on them, and not on yourself. Landscapes once breathtaking become ordinary. It’s a problem we have to be careful about; the way that items can lose their majesty if you do not associate them with emotion and filter them through your imagination.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his Biographia Literaria says that all things “are essentially fixed and dead” without the imagination, or “the living power… of all human perception.”
Do you agree? Do objects inherently possess beauty and emotion, or is up to us to first perceive an object and give it beauty and emotion?
My experience on the beach in Indonesia leads me to believe the former, as I sat surrounded by what should have beauty leading to happiness and felt only pain and indifference.