In 1819 Keats famously wrote, “Beauty is Truth, and Truth, Beauty.”
The trouble with that is Beauty is very fleeting.
Which means, if it’s the same as Beauty, then surely Truth is equally fleeting?
In a world that prefers its truths to be eternal and self-evident, that’s a pretty scary proposition.
In all the major faiths, we are warned about the perils of caring too much about the worldly stuff. Jesus told his believers to “Store their treasures in heaven”, because the treasures of this world don’t last, simply we because we don’t last, either.
He had a point. So what to do?
I think Philip Larkin may have had a clue in his famous line: “What remains of us is love”.
i.e. Whatever we build in our short lifetimes, what we did with our capacity to love will have the most positive effect after we’re gone. The money, the factories, the IPOs, the applause and the write-ups in the Wall Street Journal will all be dust soon enough.
But the children will still laugh and play and sing.