Kosmos and Beauty

The world is encountered as one. We see the sun determine day and night, blooming and closing. We set our watches to the motions of nature. This unity of the world is at the same time its harmony– i.e. the co- operative co- existence of all things. This harmony is also striking in its clarity– we can see all the way to the stars, and we relate to the sun and the moon as one with us in operation- determining times and tides. This clarity reveals the splendor of the world- if the world is not filled with splendor, nor the whole system of the planets and the stars, what possible thing could the word “splendor” refer to?

The world reveals itself as beautiful. In fact, it even seems necessary to include the idea of beauty as essentially a part of the world, as the Greeks did with the word “kosmos” or the Romans did with their word “mundus”.


  1. viator said,

    March 27, 2006 at 10:35 am

    To kosmos and mundus you could add universus, a ‘turning to one’.

  2. shulamite8810 said,

    March 27, 2006 at 3:06 pm

    Very good point- it shows the unity of the uni- verse. The “versum” there is probably the same sort of use as the English “turn”, the leaves turn color, a man turns to God, in general, the idea that is in the Greek “kinesis” which gats translated as “motion” in English. This is a good translation, but “turn” or the verb “to go” gets at the notion of kinesis better- we don’t talk about ripening as “moving” in English, but we do talk about it as “going from bud to fruit” or “turning color”.

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