02006-12-12 | Musings, Nature, Touring, World | 6 comments

I received an email:

I was wondering if in your diary you might discuss the concept of beauty in light of your views on deity. Specifically beauty suggests to me something transcendent that is hard to explain from a purely materialistic standpoint. I know this is a 10,000 page subject but I enjoy reading your philosophic views as much as your music.

Beauty is relative. Beauty is social construct, a concept, and as such changes over time. What seemed beautiful to people a hundred years ago might not appeal to people today. I have seen photos of toxic waste that looked very beautiful. What one person finds beautiful, the next might find ugly… What I hold high is creativity and beauty doesn’t matter that much to creativity. Beauty is just one ingredient of many in a creative symphony – besides quiet and loud, soft and hard, slow and fast etc… We need contrast – it creates character and depth. I think the transcending happens when all these elements come together in the right way. Or, in other words, when something transcends beauty.

Somewhat related to this topic I had an interesting experience in New York. While walking (I walk a lot when I’m in Manhattan) I noticed that all of the people coming towards me were perfect – this did not feel like an intellectual concept, rather it was something I felt in my bones and with my whole body. These people were perfect expressions of nature’s (the universe’s) inherent creativity. There are millions of different ways to combine the DNA… Tall and short people, walking slow and fast, faces that shone and faces that were full of worry, scary people and frightened people… a perfect symphony of DNA. Sure, one of them could trip me or mug me or wish me harm, but that would not make them any less perfect – nor would my sense of their perfection prevent me from kicking their ass, if that were to become necessary. And some were probably thinking “I want the bald guy to wipe that stupid grin from his face”.

PS: Y sends me this link: The Art of Peace. I hope she understands that I was simply making a point. I haven’t gotten into a fight in twenty years. But I am also not a believer in peace-at-all-cost. Peace is a bit like Beauty in that regard.


  1. Elyn

    I like your take on ‘beauty’. I also love your music and visit your blog quite reqularly. If you ever make it to Boise, please post it on your site so I can buy my tickets.

  2. Adam Solomon

    That’s a very interesting observation in Manhattan–we tend to always take for granted nature’s inherent creativity. Next time I am walking through Manhattan, I will make sure to pay attention to that….

  3. Adam Solomon

    I also wrote that comment before reading the rest of that paragraph. That is probably my favorite thing a guitarist has said since reading the Paco interview you quoted from a few weeks ago :D

  4. Carol

    Strange, but i saw beauty in that photo of yak dung. Who knows what will stirke one as beauty.

  5. vic

    I just want to say thank you for saying what you say hear and help us think and become more.

  6. llindaskaye

    Ottmar, i enjoye your wordes on beauty and what is!? and “how” does one “fit” in the worlde…i was able to see many filmspictures in school and nice to see on your site…i read Atlas Shrugged a while ago…seems we are havinge a revival of sortes here in our city of the artes and i am enjoyinge that very much…haven’t seen sugar cubes in the local markets againe though…vague memories of those…i couldn’t believe the toy stores still have the Operation Game at the local mall…!? lovinge my guitar and hopinge to be a help…alwayes amore y paz, llindaskaye e.p. *******


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