Lately I have been reading Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. Though the main topic of the book is Christ’s resurrection and the implications that it has for how we live and what we believe about what happens when we die, Wright has some very interesting thoughts about beauty and art, which I thought might be relevant to this blog. He notes that a feature of many of the communities that we live in, typically poorer ones, is ugliness.
This rings true in a real way. The only shadow of beauty that people often have in these communities is the glitz and glamor of whatever new-fangled product the television is trying to sell them–or the shallow, sensualized, one-sided version of beauty that is showcased in our culture’s fascination with celebrities. Just drive through your local impoverished neighborhood and you can just feel an overwhelming grayness, often accentuated by some of the run down homes.
This brings us to Wright’s assertion:
“When people cease to be surrounded by beauty, they cease to hope. They internalize the message of their eyes and ears, the message that whispers that they are not worth very much, that they are in effect less than fully human.” (231) Continue Reading