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Updated: January 19, 2014 16:05 IST

Life is beautiful

Malini Seshadri
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We only have to open our minds and our senses to take in beauty and spread it around.

When you hear a catchy tune, do your feet tap out the rhythm? When you see a beautiful natural scene or a splendid piece of architecture, do your spirits soar? Of course! Because our brains can recognise and enjoy beauty in all its forms. We all have the potential to recognise beauty, but we have to develop the skill. We must learn to look for it not only in galleries and museums and from mountain tops but in the streets around us. We must interpret the word beyond the narrow sense of beauty contests! Otherwise we will forever be condemned to what the poets like to call a “brutish existence.”

Unfortunately, we get caught up in rushing from college to home to tuition classes. We forget to develop this sense of beauty that nature has gifted us. We soon get used to being in the midst of disorder and ugliness. We walk by a pile of garbage in the street without even noticing the smell. After a while, it does not offend our senses any more. But if we develop our ‘beauty skill’ early in life, shoddy clumsy things will offend our sense of aesthetics, just as a false note in a song makes us shut our ears in protest. If everyone makes an effort to develop a sense of beauty, the world would be a more beautiful and orderly place to live in, and our lives would be enriched. Surely our senses were designed for more than just ensuring survival? Surely our brains were wired for more than just “getting ahead” in life?”

Beauty in ideas

Ideas and thoughts can be beautiful too. Though you cannot touch, taste, hear or smell them, you can still “sense” their beauty.

To add beauty to our lives, we don’t have to open our bags or purses and take out money to buy it. We only have to open our minds and our senses to take in beauty and spread it around.

Beauty is not just in what we see or hear. It lives in the most unexpected places, waiting to be discovered and admired. Look at this elementary example of the beauty of numbers.

1 x 9 + 2 = 11

12 x 9 + 3 = 111

123 x 9 + 4 = 1111

1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111

12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111

123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111

1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111

12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111

123456789 x 9 +10 = 1111111111

So, now that we are talking of the beauty of numbers, look at this: If a pair of rabbits is placed in an enclosed area, how many rabbits will be born if we assume that every month a pair of rabbits produces another pair, and that rabbits begin to bear young two months after their birth?

This seemingly simple question leads to a profoundly elegant and truly beautiful revelation. It is the Fibonacci sequence, made familiar to general readers in Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. Okay, it doesn’t sound like much…till you find out that Nature loves it. Why? And why is it associated with spirals? Why is it….? (Go and look it up…you will be enthralled).

Yes, there’s beauty in numbers. And there’s beauty in ideas.

There’s beauty in designs…of things from industrial products to cathedrals. There is beauty in an enigma, even such as one framed by Arthur Conan Doyle, and there is beauty in a solution to the problem.

Can we develop our sense of beauty? Yes, and we can make a beginning in very simple ways. For instance, close your eyes and listen carefully. How many sounds can you hear? Just what are these sounds? Which ones do you find pleasant? Do you remember hearing those sounds before you closed your eyes? Why?

By becoming more aware, we can all learn to make every day a beautiful day.

Malini Seshadri is a freelance writer.

Email her at malini1seshadri@gmail.com

Keywords: life skillsadvice

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