Terence McKenna places the concept of the beautiful in the category easy to assertain.
I find this notion poetic and empowering. Ask a man what is good and the response will be tricky to navigate. Ask a man what is true and the response will be trickier still. But show a man a photograph and ask him if it is beautiful, and when honest, his answer will be suprisingly clear.
This distinction has stuck with me, and in the past year, I've moved the concept of the beautiful to the center of my philosophical, spiritual, and religious belief system.
Now, poetry is beautiful in the mind, but to live, we must continue on to action. As I've sought to implement this "beauty based barometer" in my life I've noticed some dimensions to the task.
Firstly, I'm able to hear my internal voice of beauty when I seek it, though it is loudest in regards to subjects that I'm most passionate about. I am a lifelong musician and when I hear a song, I can very clearly tell if the song feels beautiful or not. But compare this to a more menial task like driving down the highway. What does it look like to drive down the highway in a beautiful manner. It's this second more challenging type of question that I've been exploring in recent weeks.
I've slowly made progress and I'll share with you what I have. I've begun to develop an interface with this inner voice that I can interact with. At this point the interface generally operates like a child's game of "warmer.... colder.... cold!" I can't necessarily ask it questions like "what should I write about today". But I can show it a phrase or a word choice and it will very directly respond with "eck no!", "ah.. yes", or sometimes "hm.. maybe try another". The communication isn't really internally verbal, but more like the feeling of a muscle response. Eck no - feels like a muscle spasm, tight and uncomfortable. Ah.. yes - feels like tension release after a great shoulder massage.
Maybe it's somewhat of a crude system at this point, but for me, I've very encouraged by the results! To bring back a word used earlier, it's a new barometer for me. In the past I may have created something based on external sheet music, or possibly based on my understanding of what a particular audience would expect. But instead, to create for a voice of elegance that is inside me is a quest I'm excited to continue to pursue.