I begin to understand why and how Plato was able to write down the dialogues. This happened today and the words matter so much to us, Norah helped me recall it and record it, so we'd have an artifact.
Norah: In this book I am reading, the gods don't have names, because they know each other as they are, so they don't need names to represent themselves to each other.
Me: That's interesting. When Moses asked for God's name to represent him to Pharaoh, he said, "Who shall I say sent me?" God said, "I am that I am." God chose a name that represents His being.
Norah: But names are important. Words are important. They represent concepts.
Me: Do words matter so much because of how God made the earth? He spoke it into existence. Is this why words matter?
Norah: But words are limited. In fact, words are limitations. So, is a thing a word?
Norah: Is the relationship between a name and what a name represents the same as a thing and what a thing represents? Is that why things have value?
Me: I am not following.
Norah: Artifacts. They represent something, a larger idea, so in the same way a word does not have value for the fact that it is pretty shapes on a page with paper and ink, but it represents a concept that everyone can understand.
Me: What does a thing represent other than itself? Wait. This makes me think of the causes. I guess the marble of a statue is its material cause, but there is more to the statue than that. Someone made it for a reason, and it represents something to the maker.
Norah: The marble has intrinsic value. It's beautiful and may gleam in the light. But even if I carved an exact replica of the Madonna and Child, would it be the same as the one Michelangelo made? Which statue would have more value, mine or his? His- because he made it, it is older, and it has more history. It means more. There is always something else behind it.
Me: So, is a piece of art a word?
Norah: Yes. In fact, this is why abstract art doesn't matter. That art is meaningless.
Me: That's a bold statement. Perhaps these artists are just... relishing in form without meaning?
Norah: I'd say they are speaking words, but the words are gibberish. It's like they want to get rid of the foundation of language! Monkeys have no language, but they can paint. These people are letting their minds become like animal's minds, and they are just playing with paints and canvas. But it's wrong, because people are supposed to put matter into order. That makes me think that sometimes artists will just put labels on objects. But they are making a statement. They are saying there is no definition for art.
Me: Or they are saying this is art. Everything is art.
Norah: Or they are saying art doesn't exist and art is a construct, beauty is just a construct, and there is no such thing as beauty. They might not believe it, though. They might be making the statement, 'This is where that idea leads.' But we can all tell there's something wrong with that.
Me: Can we? Is there such a thing as beauty? Not beauty in the abstract sense, but in the concrete? Does beauty exist in the abstract?
Norah: The consensus is that beauty exists.
Me: Are you sure? It seems like the modern world is making the statement that it does not. 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.'
Norah: When something isn't right, we view it as ugly. When someone is sick, for instance, their skin is pale, their hair falls out, and we know it is wrong to view them as less, but we have a response to them. We recognize that the outside is not true to what they are inside, and we recognize it as ugly. We recognize that are person's soul is inside and we think, 'If only the person's body was like the soul.' So, beauty isn't a visible quality. It's not an intrinsically visible art. It's connected to what you can see only if you can see well. If you can see correctly, you can see beauty.
Me: Is it God who allows our eyes to perceive things aright, light correctly?
Norah: Perhaps. That makes me think of the kid who is color blind and his friends save to buy him corrective lenses and wait till autumn on purpose, so the trees will be colorful. They also hold colored balloons, which is adorable. When he put the glasses on, he focuses on one bright, yellow leaf in a tree far away. He even climbs the tree and carries that yellow leaf around for days. There's something in that.
Me: So, beauty is visible, but it's not just that.
Norah: Beauty might be everything as it would be if the fall hadn't happened, if sin hadn't entered the material world.
Me: Is that why the modern world adores beautiful women? Their bodies look as if they are not fallen?
Norah: It's why we love the ugly person with a good heart. It's why we love old people. They have become good on the inside, and on the inside, they are more as they should be, even though their bodies are disintegrating.
Me: Is this why we are so disturbed by the fairy tales when there's a beautiful woman and she is wicked?
*We both shudder.
Norah: That gives us the same whiplash. This is why I value word flow so much. A book could be telling me the secrets of the universe, but if they aren't saying it right, they aren't really saying it all, you know? Beauty's the whole point! It has to be beautiful, or it isn't true.
Me: Beauty is not the whole point, but beauty is indispensable. It must also be good and true.
Norah: I think we are drawn to what things would have been before the fall and what they will be again.