The Way of Beauty Variations on the Selfie

The rise of a therapeutic culture in America emphasizes self-importance, self-awareness, and self-expression—Me. If you want the social media to know who you are, the Internet will do nicely. Just take a Selfie.  What does it say?  “Look, here I am!” Trivial pursuit!

The Search for Self

There is a more certain way to solidify your identity, although this less-traveled road is steep; the climb asks for self-discipline. Nothing is more exhilarating or more fulfilling than to discover your very own self so that you no longer crave or cling to outside approval.  Consider two little words:  “Know thyself,” surely the pithiest axiom spoken by the Ancient Greeks.  It still follows the human spirit. 

“I Gotta Be Me” according to Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven

Just an aside to glimpse what three famous composers wrote about themselves. In a few words, they captured the essence of who they were.
Once Mozart was asked what differentiated his music from all others. Without  artifice, he replied:  “Why my productions take from my hand that particular form and style that makes them Mozartish, and different from the works of other composers, is probably owing to the same cause which renders my nose so large and aquiline, or, in short, makes it Mozart’s, and different from those of other people.  For I really do not study or aim at any originality.”

Once Joseph Haydn noted:  “Often when I was struggling against obstacles of all kinds, often when strength of mind and body failed me and it was difficult to persevere in the course on which I had set out, an inner voice whispered to me, ‘There are so few happy and contented people here below.  Everywhere men and women are burdened with sorrow.  Perhaps your work may be a source from which those oppressed by care may draw a moment of relief and relaxation.’  Here was a powerful reason for going on.”

A rude prince was talking during Beethoven’s piano performance.  The composer stopped playing, glared at him, declaring:  “For such pigs, I do not play! Prince!  What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by my own efforts.  There have been many princes, and there will be thousands more, but there is only one Beethoven!”

Modesty of Chinese Wisdom

Then we have wisdom from China.

“Truth sometimes like stab of cruel knife.”

“Favorite pastime of man is fooling himself.”

“Silence big sister to wisdom.”

“Silence best answer when uncertain.”

“Sharp wit sometimes much better than deadly weapon.”

“Patience lead to knowledge.”

“Politeness golden key that open many doors.”

One of the many Chinese proverbs ensconced within fortune cookies reads:  “There is nothing that costs so little nor goes so far as courtesy.”   And then there is: "You can never never say thank you enough.’ Courtesy will get you everywhere, and so will 'thank you.'"

More in The Way of Beauty

Wisdom from the Judeo-Christian Treasury

Finally, here are only a few words of wisdom capable of inspiring a person’s entire life. They can set one’s thoughts in motion for a lifetime.  Consider the following:

1.  “I have called you by your name; you are mine.”  --Is 43:1

2. “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”  --Jn 6:67

3. “I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not know what I want, but I do the very things I hate.” –Rom 7:15

4. “Without me, you can do nothing.”  –Jn 15:5

5.  “I can do all things in him who strengthens me.  –Phil 4:14

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6.  “I do always the things that please my Father.”   –Jn  8:29

7. “You have made and woman a little less than God
             With glory and honor you praised them.”  --Ps  8: 5

8. “I praise and thank you, for I am wonderfully made.” –Ps 139:14

Who needs a Selfie?

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