I once believed beauty was in the eye of the beholder. Which I could rewrite to actually say, “beauty is in the eye of your opinion.” And I don’t believe beauty is an opinion. My belief that something is beautiful doesn’t qualify something as beautiful. It’s beautiful in and of itself.

Is a sunset beautiful because I think so, or is it beautiful because I’m glimpsing the world in its ordered state?

It took me months to change my mind about this. I was a firm believer that beauty was in the eye of the beholder and I knew it because some people called things beautiful that I saw no beauty in.

My professor told me, “beauty is not subjective in the way that truth is not subjective.” And that’s when it clicked.

Before, I wasn’t a big fan of poetry. I didn’t think it was beautiful, I thought it was pointless. But poetry is beauty because of the way it’s written.

(What is “beauty” is another discussion, so I’m going to leave it at that)

I began to want to see the true beauty of the world and to understand it. So I began to read more and more and more poetry. It was kind of awful to my brain because I was use to a lower style of language. In Samuel Coleridge’s (paraphrased) words, “poetry is the best language, in the best order.” Or- the most elevated language you can reach for.

If you hadn’t guessed this change in my thinking also is the reason I’m always saying there are things that are ultimately better. It’s also why I caution reading too many “guilty pleasure” books. So blame my professor for making me a bit of a snob.

And all this is to say thank you to that professor who will never read this.

Because to elevate your mind to true beauty, goodness, and even truth is to be happier. I say this from personal experience. I mean, who doesn’t feel like a potato after watching some dumb television show for hours or reading something that only pulls at your base emotions?

Can you tell I went to a private liberal arts college?

I’m not here to change your mind, I’m here to cause you to think. If you agree with me, why? If you don’t, why?

Also, here’s to my professor and his poetry.
Viewed From the Keel of a Canoe
by J Matthew Boyleston