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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

In search of the beautiful: Modern man and the arts

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Our species is different by virtue of the fact that we can recognise meaning and transmit it, and closely linked to the discovery of meaning and its transmission is beauty; for it serve as the vehicle or vessel that contains the heavy properties of what gives life its only worth. Yet at the core of the preservation of beauty, is the promulgation of art that is embedded with the qualities of the primordial disposition of man.

Art as a science is as ancient as the world itself. A science that is at once the cream of all sciences, because it’s one that is linked to the soul and essence of man himself. As migrants from an abode of beauty, the heavens above, we came to this lower world, after falling from grace, which apparently was ascension, because it was according to one of the grounded scholars, the consummation and perfection of the Adamic vicegerency. So as migrants or exiles we amazingly still retain communication with the divine beyond, through the preservation of the celestial spirit which was in constant communion with the holy presence. It was through this preservation that mankind was able to recognise meaning and beauty, because the inherent nature of the spirit which it took from the divine is beauty; for all beauty is but a reflection of that presence. 

Man loving the beautiful is nothing but an affirmation of his transcendent source which is the true source and confirmation of all beauty. So in an effort to preserve that striking and harmonious incorporeal world from beyond with all of its beautiful ramifications, men came out with this path and way simply call: the arts. This became a portal through which man can have a glimpse of what lies beyond the very heart of creation and existence. More than that is the fact that beauty is the truth and vice versa; for no matter how beautiful a thing maybe when it’s not align to the truth, then it’s nothing but ugly and despicable. But what became of that understanding of art as a tool to be in communion with nature and God? To understand this we must look at the defining factor of the human psyche in this time and age. To know at what length the modern man went in revamping the beauty in the art in his pursuit for gratification in the peripheral activities that resonate with only the ego and the lower impulses.

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The ill of the industrial and technological age is the ill of materialism and a choking form of secularism. Material pursuit is the shrine of the earth’s majority. Nothing else matters for them except the hoarding and piling of wealth in mass abundance, thus creating an ever increasing polarization of communities into the abject and affluent, and not only that but worst a polarity of body, mind and spirit. We created a world were only the body or the outer frame of man is important. The divide and gap gradually takes an ugly turn, through forgetting the needs and wants of the mind and spirit. These entities which thrive upon meaning, truth and beauty slowly resort to either a deep sleep or forgetfulness, which when gone too acute renders them into death and oblivion. 

Secularism is nothing but the outcome of a system that is divorced from beauty, because of souls that suffocated to death and darkness. Art becomes another form to advance the cause of the profit making machine. Music, literature, painting and the entire cohort of the arts is consumed in the darkness of a capitalistic jinx mechanism, whose only concern is to make ample wealth at the altar of the death of meaning and whatever is of concern to the human spirit, which is condemned with one sweep as an ancient mythical fantasy. So the spiritual which gives sustenance to the beauty which permeate and perfume art in its expression to exude truth with fragrance, is martyred and in its place is a coarse and corroding form of art that only serve as pollution of the sacred universe.

Nudity and desecration of the feminine is perhaps one of the most patent forms of the profanity of the secularised art of modernity. Wherein it was the purport of art to manifest and celebrate the truth embodied within the female, modernity instead desires the pleasing of the sensory and repulsive aspects of the lower self. The fashion trends and magazines are but the reflection of that worldview which is concerned with only the outward or the world of the forms and nothing else. So the woman becomes nothing but a commodity of men’s desires, which shows paradoxically the ugliness inherent in a system that claims to defend the rights of the woman. 

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The music which was once soul inspiring and produced so much beauty and meaning, became nothing but a perfect pothole for the production of the ugliness in the soul of the modern man. Violent, misogynist and utterly meaningless lyrics, coupled with beats that sound more like clashing metals than harmonious instruments, the music of modernity is a deeply disorienting factor that is inducing all types of evils and dark concepts and thinking patterns within the young people the world over. In times of oppression, music was used for the call to freedom and liberation and when the spiritual ones gathered it was used for invoking the orderliness of heaven to earth, so when it becomes denigrated to an extent it becomes antithetical to what it stood for, then we sadly conclude that music also has become another tool for the propagation of ugliness and evil upon God’s gracious earth.

Humanity is panicking at the onset of so much evil and dryness of soul. Rivers polluted, rain forests razed to the ground, the sacred desacralised etc, we sit at the brink of either an ecological disaster or the precipitation of the impending existential crisis that looms over our head like the mythological sword of Damocles. This sadly is all an indication of the loss of beauty within the soul and art that was produced by it. When the soul and spirit is recognizing beauty then there would be never be the destruction of nature. Because it is the soul that is in communion with nature and it was from that interaction that beauty is created into to art. So the question begs itself as to how can we stem the tide to this rather momentous problem; for we cannot continue on this track any longer. The human spirit is calling and waling ever so loudly for its recognition and to be given its rightful sustenance. 

The solution is in the artist. He is called upon to attain fullness in bringing out the best of what he has to offer. When the sacred civilizations were buoyant, there artists were of the true spirit, through which they produced so much of beauty. The poets, singers and painters of those times, were in tune with the primordial and innate disposition of the soul, which in its truest and pristine essence produce only beauty. The artist as a representative of the beyond and also the overwhelming should once again emerge with that voice. Because modernity has destroyed that in all aspects. Literature reduced to thrillers and blockbusters, the many authors are called upon to set out in bringing back that meaning and beauty which once was the hallmark of all genuine literature.

Aesthetic inclinations are the underlying essence of all art and by design it is the reductionist form and concept to which all truth for the perseveration of existence is reduced to. We must know that beauty is what is been saving the world since the beginning of our story here as creatures. And to finally reclaim the position of being God’s vicegerents on earth, we must stand up and proclaim our roles as leaders of meaning, truth and beauty and not just unorganized brutes who love to spill each other’s blood and loot the earth’s resources leaving it starving for sustenance.

Let it be remembered that any other way that we choose other than the exalted prophetic path will land us in perdition. The noble and well perfumed path of those rare men is one that has always held me in deep fascination, because of the beauty it embodies. Although people have tried over the ages to distort their teachings, which recently manifested in the troubling news of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, who have disturbingly hijacked the good name of the well trodden Muhammadan path of love and mercy , and using it to justify their demented and perverted goals. But it will all eventually crumble for ugliness cannot contest the brilliant light of the beautiful revelation from the Merciful on high, when we are reminded that ”God is beautiful and He loves beauty.”

The prophetic path is relevant only because its followers produced the most beautiful art ever known to man. Its poets wrote some of the best poems known in the history of the human race and many other achievements. Lest we forget that all authentic expression of the human being through the medium of art is sacred and should be treated as such and that qualifies it to be revered and preserved. When we restore that noble path in all of its beauty, then the only thing we can harness from it is the same beauty the ancients and all those who trod it harnessed. 

So the restoration of beauty in the arts, all of them together, is of the essence if we are to hand over a beautiful world to posterity. Secularism has failed in offering to the human soul its most necessary necessity:  its elevation to fine tune with the sacred realm which is its home. For as we tarry and journey home we realise that the materialism matters but a little, and that what matter most at the end of everything was how much beauty our souls accumulated from its communion in the knowledge of God and fellowship with nature.


By Immortal X(Alieu A  Bah)


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