Italian writer Umberto Eco argued that ugliness is far more interesting and far more diverse than beauty. Beauty is boring, he says, beauty has to follow certain standards. Beauty is symmetrical, predictable, always repeating its template. While with ugliness you are constantly surprised. With ugliness there are no rules, and thus there are no boundaries of expression, of variety. Ugliness is more interesting.

Or not?

Le Corbusier was famous and influential architect. His ideas were innovative, different, revolutionary at his time. He argued that the function of the creation is far more important than its aesthetics. Function is the essence.

His dilemmas aren’t nothing new – architects were on the quest to find this fine balance between function and design for a long time, from the beginnings of their trade. It is one of the greatest challenges in architecture.

The further we dwell into the history (of architecture) the more we can see how in the past aesthetics (beauty) were far more important than the function of the buildings. But coming back from that point towards our days we can see the shift – rise of supremacy of the function. Le Corbusier was a visionary, but we are all children of utilitarianism and we can understand what he is talking about.

But we are children of romanticism too.

Nothing is more important then the life itself – for the romantics. Romantics adore beauty, they argue that finding love and experiencing beauty on every day basis is the purpose of life. Without love and beauty we can never be complete beings.

In old ballads and myths, there are countless stories about forests and plants. The old ballads and myths talks about importance (holiness) of our surroundings, these stories resonate in familiar way.

Science is beautiful. There is an undeniable beauty in the mathematical equations, in the laws of physics, in the symmetry of atom, in the infinity of our universe.

Our universe is a dead universe. But only if we believe in illusions (facts). On the certain point matter becomes alive, and nobody can deny it – denying it would be like denying our own existence. How and why this is happening we don’t know and we probably never will. But I am absolutely sure that even if we found the answer to this enigma, it will not be answer shaped by science.

There is a place where living and nonliving meets. We are witnesses to this miracle every day. Trees and all the green plants producing oxygen with the help of our star. Those plants (which are living creatures) are receiving (through their leaves) sun beams – dead energy, and they are transforming it into oxygen which serves as a fuel for life. It is only example of such we know. It’s a circle we have to respect.

These plants have ultimate function in existence of life, in existence of human beings. Those plants are beautiful as well. Here we have perfect symbiosis between function and beauty.

And why then, you will ask, people build concrete mastodons without care, without thinking about the rice fields surrounding them. Why they care only about function (in these case also about money) and not about beauty (life, meaning, purpose)? How it is possible they don’t feel ashamed and even scared neglecting laws that are eternal.

The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind – as a Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature Bob Dylan would correctly say.

But the holy Balinese land will survive long after all those ugly mastodons are gone.

The holy Balinese land remembers, the holy Balinese land is alive.

The holy Balinese land always pays back (karma).

The holy Balinese land pays back with interest (nowadays ideology).

Oleh Berislav Longcarevic