Happiness lies in thinking or doing that which one considers beautiful

by Super User

Discriminating Good and Evil

What is really good? The answer is, there is no such thing as good or evil. There is beauty. That which is beautiful, we call good. That which is ugly compared with the beautiful, we call evil: whether it is custom, idea, thought or action. This shows that this whole phenomenon of the universe is the phenomenon of beauty. Every soul has an inclination to admire beauty, to seek for beauty, to love beauty, and to develop beauty. Even God loves beauty.

In all ages the various religions have given different standards of good and evil, calling them virtue and sin. The virtue of one nation has been the sin of another. The virtue of the latter is the sin of the former. Travel as we may through the world, or read the histories and traditions of nations as we may, we shall still find that what one calls evil, another calls good. That is why no one can succeed in making a universal standard for good and evil. The discrimination between good and evil is in man's soul. Every man can judge that for himself, because in every man is the sense of admiration of beauty. But he is not satisfied with what he does himself, he feels a discomfort, a disgust with his own efforts. There are many people who continue some weakness or some mistake, or who are intoxicated by some action which the world calls evil or which they themselves call evil, yet go on doing it. But a day comes when they also are disgusted. Then they wish for suicide. There is no more happiness for them. Happiness only lies in thinking or doing that which one considers beautiful. Such an act becomes a virtue or goodness. That goodness is beauty. 

Follow Beauty

Man is always seeking for beauty, and yet he is unaware of the treasure of beauty that is hidden in his own heart. He strives after it throughout his whole life. It is as if he was in pursuit of the horizon: the further he proceeds, the further the horizon seems to have moved away. For there are two aims: the one is real, and the other false. That which is false is momentary, transitory, and unreliable - wealth, power, fame, and position are all snatched from one hand by the other. ... Man wants something in life upon which he can rely; and this shows, whether he believes in a deity or not, that he is constantly seeking for God. He seeks for Him not knowing that he is seeking for God. Nevertheless, every soul is pursuing some reality, something to hold on to; trying to grasp something which will prove dependable, a beauty that cannot change and that one can always look upon as one's own, a beauty that one feels will last forever. And where can one find it? Within one's own heart. And it is the art of finding that beauty, of developing, improving, and spreading that beauty through life, allowing it to manifest before the inner and outer view, which one calls the art of the mystic.

Karl's Comments

Happiness, like many of our attitudes, comes in forms of different value.  There is transitory happiness which, as with gains and losses, is false and does not last.  Such happiness may come from hedonistic pursuits, or from those illusionary rainbow-ends of power, sex, fame, money, and position.  Then there is true happiness.  Persistent happiness.  And when we think back, then whenever we have found something which reliably gives us some happiness, even in small measure, it has been associated with beauty.  A beautiful feeling, or a beautiful view, or a beautiful person or personality or friendship.  And the greater that beauty, the greater the happiness that its presence can confer.  So happiness is being able to see the beauty that lies around us, to discriminate in favour of it, and to follow it.  And if we feel we are missing something from our lives, then almost always that something is beauty.  And finding that beauty will make us happier.

Often we despair of finding such beauty in such an ugly, transient world.  But we need not.  First there is great beauty in this world if only we know where to find it and how to discriminate it.  And second, the source of the truest beauty is within us.  Some call it "Good", and some call it "God".  Both lie with us.  We need only learn to discriminate them.  And the way to do that is to concentrate, and encourage that which is beautiful, and discourage that which is not.  First in our actions, then in our words, and finally in our thoughts.