Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say, but the aphorism is not usually understood as it ought to be: how miraculous must be this eye of the beholder, to serve as source for all the beauty in the universe! Beauty is not a physical phenomenon. No "beauty particle" flies through space to strike the retina. A goldfish or a GoPro could look up at the stars, process the visual image just as well as we, and yet remain unmoved by the sight. Only human beings wonder what they are -- and that wonder is such a deep part of our nature that our youngest children sing about it in nursery rhymes. Immeasurably tiny as we are beneath the cosmos, we have the ultimate power over it, that of appreciation. The laws of physics wrought the stars as blind, dead things hanging in emptiness; it is only in our eyes that they become sublime.
And it gets better. We are not merely beholders of stars. When we turn to behold each other, then the magic really begins. Every single human being has their own vision of the universe reflected in their eyes. We all see the same universe, but we all see it differently. Seven billion universes, each one similar enough to our own that communication is possible between them, but utterly unique in its majesty. As if one cosmos were not vast enough to give us endless marvels, we will never run out of new ones to explore. With friends!
We have got to be the luckiest damn creatures in existence.
So don't waste these opportunities. Don't waste this power of appreciation. If you don't see the beauty in stars and rocks and beetles and humans, then nothing else in the universe will.
Don't be so proud as to think that you have nothing to gain from listening to other perspectives. You're missing out on entire universes. And the craziest ones are often the most fascinating.
And don't be so humble as to think that you have nothing to offer others in your perspective. You, too, contain an entire universe, and nobody else can see it unless you let them.
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Vive, vale. Siquid novisti rectius istis,
candidus inperti; si nil, his utere mecum.
Blinking, for being the gold standard of a moderator and a debater, for giving us one of the best places to debate on the planet, and for being so damn smart and capable of saying in a single sentence what I couldn't say in seven pages, thank you. It was great to learn from you.