Truth? Beauty? Fit the Second

For the Mystery Blogger Award I was nominated for but haven’t actually done anything for and haven’t attempted to claim, Ben at Brothers’ Campfire, posted some interesting questions as part of it. The one I’m going to start trying to answer today goes as follows:

The poet John Keats once wrote (in his poem, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”),
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—-that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

By contrast, Plato (in The Republic) warns of poetry’s power to make a falsehood seem true, by beautifying it. What, then, is the relationship between beauty, as achieved by the artist, and truth?

The Greek philosopher, Plato, who lived in the 5th century B.C., is a well-known and oft-quoted (and oft-misquoted) author who loved beauty and loved truth. He said that “Truth is its own reward.” and one truth he spoke was, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” But he tried a few other occupations, first. One little-known fact about him that I just made up is that among his endeavors he was a potter. One day, young Plato made a vase for his beloved mother, using the special, secret clay he’d created. He loved to work and play with it because if he sealed it in a jar he could use it over and over again. He didn’t realize it then, but no one would be able to re-create the like of it for over 2,000 years when a couple of young inventors would rediscover his formula. And then, in a tragic error of phonetic spelling, brought on by the public school system, their attempt to eponymously name it would come out as Play-Doh. Of course, as mothers have always been wont to do, she gushed effusively over the creation of her young son, complimenting the workmanship and the designs he had put in it. Then she noticed that he had composed a bright little song about her and written it on the side. It’s really kind of too bad that nobody has ever discovered that little clay pot with the writing on the side because it was, of course, the very first, orignal, “Ode On A Grecian Urn.”



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