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The Beautiful Necessity Seven Essays on Theosophy and Architecture   By: (1866-1946)

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THE BEAUTIFUL NECESSITY

Seven Essays on Theosophy and Architecture

by CLAUDE BRAGDON, F.A.I.A.

MCMXXII

"Let us build altars to the Beautiful Necessity" EMERSON

By the Same Author: Episodes From An Unwritten History The Golden Person In The Heart Architecture And Democracy A Primer Of Higher Space Four Dimensional Vistas Projective Ornament Oracle

CONTENTS

I THE ART OF ARCHITECTURE

II UNITY AND POLARITY

III CHANGELESS CHANGE

IV THE BODILY TEMPLE

V LATENT GEOMETRY

VI THE ARITHMETIC OF BEAUTY

VII FROZEN MUSIC

CONCLUSION

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

The Beautiful Necessity was first published in 1910. Save for a slim volume of privately printed verse it was my first book. I worked hard on it. Fifteen years elapsed between its beginning and completion; it was twice published serially written, rewritten and tre written before it reached its ultimate incarnation in book form.

Confronted now with the opportunity to revise the text again, I find myself in the position of a surgeon who feels that the operation he is called upon to perform may perhaps harm more than it can help. Prudence therefore prevails over my passion for dissection: warned by eminent examples, I fear that any injection of my more mature and less cocksure consciousness into this book might impair its unity that I "never could recapture the first fine careless rapture."

The text stands therefore as originally published save for a few verbal changes, and whatever reservations I have about it shall be stated in this preface. These are not many nor important: The Beautiful Necessity contains nothing that I need repudiate or care to contradict.

Its thesis, briefly stated, is that art in all its manifestations is an expression of the cosmic life, and that its symbols constitute a language by means of which this life is published and represented. Art is at all times subject to the Beautiful Necessity of proclaiming the world order .

In attempting to develop this thesis it was not necessary (nor as I now think, desirable) to link it up in so definite a manner with theosophy. The individual consciousness is colored by the particular medium through which it receives truth, and for me that medium was theosophy. Though the book might gain a more unprejudiced hearing, and from a larger audience, by the removal of the theosophic "color screen," it shall remain, for its removal now might seem to imply a loss of faith in the fundamental tenets of theosophy, and such an implication would not be true.

The ideas in regard to time and space are those commonly current in the world until the advent of the Theory of Relativity. To a generation brought up on Einstein and Ouspensky they are bound to appear "lower dimensional." Merely to state this fact is to deal with it to the extent it needs to be dealt with. The integrity of my argument is not impaired by these new views.

The one important influence that has operated to modify my opinions concerning the mathematical basis of the arts of space has been the discoveries of Mr. Jay Hambidge with regard to the practice of the Greeks in these matters, as exemplified in their temples and their ceramics, and named by him Dynamic Symmetry .

In tracing everything back to the logarithmic spiral (which embodies the principle of extreme and mean ratios) I consider that Mr. Hambidge has made one of those generalizations which reorganizes the old knowledge and organizes the new. It would be only natural if in his immersion in his idea he overworks it, but Mr. Hambidge is a man of such intellectual integrity and thoroughness of method that he may be trusted not to warp the facts to fit his theories. The truth of the matter is that the entire field of research into the mathematics of Beauty is of such richness that wherever a man plants his metaphysical spade he is sure to come upon "pay dirt... Continue reading book >>




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