Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty

Would that it were so, but the current world belies John Keats’ romantic image. Beauty has become a commodity and truth is becoming harder and harder to find.

Beauty is something traded at Sotheby’s and purchased at Harrods or Bergdorf Goodman or Galeries Lafayette. But it is also to be found in the girl soldiers of the IDF who put their lives on hold to serve their people.

And truth? Can you find it on CNN, or BBC, or Fox News? It depends on which truth you’re looking for, doesn’t it?

I’m not really sure where I want to go with this, but at lunch today with an acquaintance the subject of the recent negotiations arose. Israel and politics are topics we normally don’t discuss since she’s a committed liberal type and I tend to the right side of the spectrum, but anyway the ‘settlements’ came up. Of course as a defender of the Obama/Kerry school she considers ‘the settlements’ to be  the root of the failure of the recent negotiations. I explained that they were a red herring, a distraction.

She is generally a supporter of the State of Israel but as the discussion developed her perception of the overall problem as stemming from  thousands  of foreigners (Zionists)  suddenly arriving and taking over land that was already occupied by others became clear. I was a bit shocked by her naiveté and, trying to fill her in with some context, I finally came up with an analogy that might cancel out her preconceptions and that as a liberal she might accept. It goes like this:

Imagine a white working class neighborhood (the Arabs). A few black families(the Jews) move in and you and your white neighbors begin to feel uneasy. As the black population increasingly displaces the whites you become resentful. They are changing the nature of ‘your’ neighborhood, they have strange customs, their children are noisy, they are trying to take your jobs, etc., etc. So what do you do?

Of course! You kill them and their noisy children and drive them out, right?

“Umm, er…” she said and I believe I saw some ray of understanding.

And that’s the truth. The beauty? That I don’t know, but then I never did  find the Romantic poets appealing.

About the Author
Professor of Writing at two Community Colleges, Fulbright Scholar (universities in Russia and Belarus) member of local JCC, secular rather than religious, married many years with children and grandchildren.