[ by Charles Cameron — a question in aesthetics-as-morality ]
Symmetry retains its beauty..
even when humans are to be found in the fireball?
Note as appropriate — this was last year.
I am reminded of my most cherished passage from Plotinus, Enneads III.ii.15 — so very Shakespearean!
Murders, death in all its guises, the reduction and sacking of cities, all must be to us just such a spectacle as the changing scenes of a play; all is but the varied incident of a plot, costume on and off, acted grief and lament. For on earth, in all the succession of life, it is not the Soul within but the Shadow outside of the authentic man, that grieves and complains and acts out the plot on this world stage which men have dotted with stages of their own constructing. All this is the doing of man knowing no more than to live the lower and outer life, and never perceiving that, in his weeping and in his graver doings alike, he is but at play; to handle austere matters austerely is reserved for the thoughtful: the other kind of man is himself a futility. Those incapable of thinking gravely read gravity into frivolities which correspond to their own frivolous Nature. Anyone that joins in their trifling and so comes to look on life with their eyes must understand that by lending himself to such idleness he has laid aside his own character. If Socrates himself takes part in the trifling, he trifles in the outer Socrates.
Chuang-Tzu, quoted by T’an Ssu-t’ung:
That which is just born is already dead; that which is just dead is already born.