Today I was reading Rothko’s “The Artist’s Reality”, and in the chapter “Subject and Subject Matter”, he discusses an idea of a still life and a portrait, how one painter’s still life is more like his or her portrait than say one still life by one artist is to the other artist’s still life and one artist’s portait is to the other’s portrait, even if they are of the same still life and of the same figure. This thought was very powerful to me, how different people could see things differently, and really helped me to get to understanding what Rothko has been saying in his book so far. (I had at times gotten a little lost, but this seemed to really bring many threads together for me.)
It’s a bit of a challenge then, if we all live in the same world and see the same things, how is it some saw it so beautifully and others not?
I was reminded of an old question that I once contemplated many times and now contemplate again: what does it mean to live beautifully? I thought back to all those times I meditated on this subject, back to times when I could let time flow freely and move about with ease, a quieter, more observant time…
To live beautifully, to imagine a daily life filled with curiosity and appreciation, a life where one’s senses are fresh, where one moves freely in this existence full with a joy in simple pleasures, a satisfaction with every breathe…
Rothko’s book sounds too deep for me, but it’s good post about life. You are much more philosophical than I am, however. Your description of living beautifully seems Buddhist: being harmony with life around you and being aware of your existence in the world.
I have read some books on Buddhism as well as Buddhist texts and they have most definitely shaped my world view, but I’ve also spent a good amount of time with text on Taoism, Confucious, Mencius, and others. I find a great deal of value in reading texts from and on Eastern Philosophy. I also find a great deal of value in reading Western philsophical texts, though I am not as familiar with them(the little bits of Kierkegaard were really fascinating, and that is someone’s texts I very much want to explore).
I like to write these ideas down to remind myself of these thoughts, which seem easeier to remember while I am here in Krakow on my time off. Perhaps when I am back in San Francisco and back at work these toughts won’t be so present, but hopefully I can look back through this blog’s archives and remember a bit about this time here and keep the big picture in view, as well as keep myself a bit more “harmonious with life”.
I am presently reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, which I have found though provoking and humbling. He is an aspiring stoic and struggles constantly between his ideal and his weakness. Perhaps living beautifully is to live in accordance with an aesthetic which is most appealing, both to your character and to your ideals.
Thanks very much for mentioning the Meditations; I was recommended these some time ago and had forgotten about them, but with your comments I have downloaded them now and will plan to read soon.
I think your idea of living in accordance with an aesthetic that is in harmony with ones ideals is a lovely way to think about it.