I've been reading Elaine Scarry's, On Beauty and Being Just. While I'm having trouble following much of her thought process, her writing has provided some food for thought. At the beginning of the book she suggests that beauty requires replication. For example, a beautiful painting will urge the admirer to sketch it. I can't say that I've ever sketched my version of a museum masterpiece but I often copy out passages of beautiful prose that I want to read again. And I know that one of the best motivators to clean a room is to put fresh cut flowers on the table. The beauty of the flowers requires that the room be beautified. I'm wondering about other examples of beauty requiring replication in real life.
Although I've marked many passages in the book, the one that I've starred is this:
"The structure of perceiving beauty appears to have a two-part scaffolding: first, one's attention is involuntarily given to the beautiful person or thing; then, this quality of heightened attention is voluntarily extended out to other persons or things. It is as though beautiful things have been placed here and there throughout the world to serve as small wake-up calls to perception, spurring lapsed alertness back to its most acute level."
I like that idea. A single beautiful item has great power for transformation, not just of a room, but of a life. To have one's eyes opened to beauty is no small advance.