2014 – Most Philosophical Student in America.
Yuyan Pu, Pennsylvania.
It is evident that the modern age was forged by human exceptionalism. It is the man who has harnessed the energy of the earth, decrypted the code of his DNA, and launched himself past the bounds of the stratosphere and into the garden of stars. Because man knows the truths of nature’s law, iron has turned into steel and the sun now rises behind the silhouette of alloy cities. What man holds true builds each age’s great civilization. With only a strong base of affirmed principles can support the weight of continued prosperity and success. It is Athens’ democracy, Rome’s law, and America’s Constitution that allows each respective society to reign supreme, for truth births nations of law and order.
But if truth raises civilizations, then it is beauty that moves society. It’s the magnetic pull on the heartstrings that enchants the soul and powers the body. It shapes the passions that drive man to create and destroy and man’s fascination with beauty and love has been written in tomes. Homer tells the tale of Helen of Troy whose beauty captivated a prince and fanned the flames of the Trojan War. The legend of Orpheus chronicles the great lengths of a man’s journey to rescue a love, using only beautiful mourning music to soften Hades himself. For whatever man tries to moralize or think, it is beauty that guides the judgment. It is the stride towards the more beautiful ideal that impacts society greatest. Martin Luther King Junior’s appeal to the beauty of equality, where he yearns for the day judgment will be of character and not color, revoked the cards of America’s second-class citizenship. Oppressed Germans’ appeal to the beauty of democracy, where government may again be of the people, by the people, and for the people, tore the concrete walls of Berlin’s divide.
Even the truth can be a beautiful thing. It’s the incitement of the sublime, the splendid strain that causes the eyes to wide and the heart to skip. Like a moment’s epiphany, it colors the mind with such fevered rush that it makes Descartes breathe the words “cogito ergo sum.” It gets Plato to confess that “the philosopher is in love with truth,” but even he laments the love unrequited, for it is only the broken, corrupted shadow that has fallen from his Ideal Realm. The truth is, beauty has the greater impact on society because man is in the ever pursuit of making the world more beautiful. While the truth tells the impossibility of touching the peaks of the infinite sky, the beauty of the heavenly bodies still keeps man reaching for the stars.
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