Rendered Fat Content


Félix Boisselier: The Mouth of Truth (1809-1810)

"When beauty appears, remaining questions disappear."

"It was a poet, not a scientist, who claimed that beauty was truth and truth beauty, but neither beauty nor truth are sufficient to sustain, let alone understand life as it is lived. There is a certain symmetry even to the bit of broken fence in my neighbor's yard, which convinces me that it is both real and functional enough to not need any added elegance that might be found from fixing it."
PureSchmaltz - Integration: Symmetry- 11/04/2009

A point finally comes when the emerging manuscript takes on the appearance of a manuscript. The troubling formatting details, often the final mystery to resolve itself, finally come together, and the final pattern of the work manifests. This comes as both a shocking and a subtle experience. I might not notice until a while after since I have been immersed in the most trance-inducing work of the effort. I repeat the patterns until their eigenvalue emerges, beyond which every fresh addition automatically aligns with every other. Even the illustrations find consistency in their presentation and placement. The work, forever in pieces, finally becomes whole.

This form was not the result of deliberate design but its second cousin. Iteration, starting blind, then moving ever more closely into an alignment, formed a kind of evolution.
The effort always seemed directed, as if it had a target, however unspoken. I completed the first ninety percent on speculation that a form might emerge from mere kinetic repetition. The resulting backtracking might have contributed most to the final awakening, the final form, for each rework unveils newer, even less forgiving levels of frustration. Not until after proving myself a complete idiot does any sense of my own genius ever emerge.

Truth does, indeed, seem beautiful and often beautiful beyond words. When the structure and the look and feel finally emerge, its presence takes my breath away, as if my breath had been borrowed to breathe life into stories. I had been worried as I assembled this inevitable mess that its Symmetry would never become evident, that it might forever remain an undifferentiated pile of paper. A controversy rages from the earliest stages of any book construction effort. How might design be applied? Should it be forced from without or emergent from within? The choices might not be purely mutually exclusive, but they might just as well be, for an externally imposed design becomes almost impossible to unlearn once adopted. It sinks deep roots and creates the center of its own gravity. Woe be to any emergent better after an authoritarian external design asserts its influence.

Symmetry always eventually appears, whatever its source. Truth told, it always shows evidence of a dozen sources, some deliberate and some much less advertent. It tried faith and patience and found both sufficient, though their adequacy seemed in question from before the beginning. The culmination always comes as a surprise. It seems an unwarranted reward, a gift. It reminds me of how this world actually works, which was never as it was advertised. The works of man always were the works of unlikely Gods, less regular in their habits than actual Gods should ever exhibit. They were reluctant contributors and only sometimes revealed the most inspiring forms of faith in their own efforts. They didn't know for the longest time but chose to continue anyway. They ultimately came to a place beyond knowing, where their work popped into being without them even once really knowing what they were doing. When beauty appears, remaining questions disappear. Symmetry always makes the final delivery.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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