Maybe our Passion is the nexus of our Truth and Beauty.
Let me define some terms. By Passion, I mean that rising sun of our horizon. The difference between existing and living. Our purpose, our goal, our calling. The torch that drives us forward despite (and maybe perhaps of) the dark. That which is worth fighting for, dying for. That indefinable something that lights Prometheus’s fire inside us.
Truth and Beauty, well, they are the embodiment of humanity’s pursuit of perfection.
By Truth, I mean Plato’s Truth: the true reality, in its ideal form, as it is abstracted from our oft chaotic world. In Truth, there is implied simplicity. Truth is lifting the veil that traps us in our material world; illusions and shadows fade, diffraction and scattering focus. Truth is the Euclidean plane, two perpendicular lines. Truth is Euler’s formula: e^(iπ)+1 = 0 (where e and π are irrational numbers with decimals extending beyond the limit of our recording capabilities, and i the imaginary unit); the apotheosis of simplicity from chaos.
Beauty is our perfect. In Truth, there is Beauty. In my mind I have always believed that science is the pursuit of Truth and art, the pursuit of Beauty. Two sides of the same coin.
And Truth and Beauty are personal.
Be at peace – I am not claiming (especially after those two definitions) that Truth and Beauty are idiosyncratic. Quite the opposite: Truth and Beauty are beyond our influence; they exist and are there to be discovered. What I am suggesting is that Truth and Beauty are beyond the influence of society. The masses cannot define perfection in their True Forms. So Truth and Beauty are personal; they belong to each of us. It is our providence as individuals to discover our own Beautiful Truth. And in that discovery, where we find that the Truth is Beautiful, we find Passion.
There seems to be a glitch in my premise. If our Passion is idiosyncratic, then how can it be found at the nexus of a universal Truth and Beauty? How can something personal arise from two immutable Perfections? Implicit in our understanding of passion is that passion is imperfect. Icarus’s passion drove him to don waxed wings. Paris’s passion for Helen felled the walls of Troy. Galois, mathematical prodigy, died in name of passion before he could unleash his full potential.
But this is precisely the point. Passion is to adulate perfect imperfections because they are our perfect form. Passion is not defined by a prescriptive reality (that we “should” pursue what we “should” see as perfect). We cannot delimit Truth and Beauty. There are Truths. Freedom and Knowledge drove Icarus. Love drove Paris. Honour drove Galois. These are fundamental. Passion is where they found these Truths. There is Beauty. And Beauty is ourperfect. Ultimately, we alone can understand our passion.
To illustrate: maybe this is some people study law. Take Student A, for example.
Law makes Student A both a scientist and an artist. In law, Student A scientifically uncovers Truth in the manner of an artist.
Student A sees Truth in the law. Law is an attempt to abstract simple fundamental Truths of who we are. In the chaos that is our material world, the law is an exercise in revealing simple order. The pursuit of our human Truth.
And there is such Beauty in law, in constructing an argument that flows inescapably to one irrefutable conclusion. A proof crafted with words. Think Cicero arguing in the Senate of Rome. Revealing the Truth is an art form.
Of course, not everyone studies law. And that is because we are different. Our passions are different (and –though this is for another day- many). Because we all unearth the simple strings that build the cosmos in different ways. We all strive for Truth and Beauty. And in that pursuit, it is what uses the whole of us –the scientist and the artist- that, that is our Passion.
Our history is the story of mankind’s quest for perfection, Beauty and Truth. And where we find the two together, that is our fire. Be consumed.
keywords: Truth, Beauty, Passion, perfection, Plato