Comparing Beauty and Goodness

In comparing beauty and goodness, I consider beauty to be the more transcendent of the two.  The ideogram of “goodness”( 善) is made up of two ideograms; one of a sacrificial “sheep” (羊) on top of an ideogram of a “box.” (口) (To be good, it is only necessary to fulfill pre-determined (a “box”) sacrifice determined by society.  Paying taxes, or participating in traditions, rituals and such.  The ideogram of “righteousness”( 義 )is made up of ideograms of sacrificial “Sheep”(羊)  on top  of “Self.”( 我 )  It means to carry the sacrifices yourself.  But the ideogram of Beauty is made up of the sacrificial sheep on top of an ideogram for “Great” (大), which I infer to mean “greater sheep”.  It connotes a greater sacrifice, a sacrifice that cannot be boxed in by rituals or self.  This greater sacrifice may require sacrifice of one’s own life to save the lives of others.  This sacrifice is not enforced by rules nor is it predetermined, but originates from self-initiative, a willing sacrifice.  This is what is truly beautiful.

Tomonobu Imamichi, “Poetry and Ideas,”  No. 114 Vol. 2 1994 (Doyo Bijutsu)