Order Without Beauty
Approaching a City by Edward Hopper
It's midday and we are on a train approaching a city. The train tracks are walled in from the streets and buildings. They are headed straight ahead through a tunnel. The part of the city we see is very drab except for one building painted a brick red. Everything is precise and orderly -- windows all neatly in a row on each building. Except for a bit of blue in the sky we see nothing else that is natural. There are no flowers, no trees, no people, no dogs, no cars. There is only an empty silence.
When I first saw this painting I felt it had a special message just for me. I'm an organizer. I like things all in neat rows and lined up. I like things settled and predictable, efficient and sensible. But I am reminded when I look at Edward Hopper's picture that order without beauty is drab and lifeless.
I need the artists and free thinkers of this world to shake up my order so I can see the beauty that should be all around me. Similarly those free thinkers floating from one thing to the next need my order and solidity so they can be free to create.
We need each other if we are going to enjoy life to the full. Everyone has a gift to bring to life like a piece in a puzzle. When the pieces come together they form a true picture of life. But if we have no need for what we lack then we'll find ourselves heading through life on a fast track past organized bleakness.