Good, beautiful and true. Those are the three words the interview subject told me, the interviewer, were the standards for meaningful art. Those are the words that he used to measure art and its value. Of course, his explanation flowed with eloquence and brilliance and I found the entire discussion stimulating. And those terms are obviously subjective, but they give us some sort of guidelines for measurement, which is needed, right?
Erik ended up saying this in the interview: “The good, the true, and beautiful, properly defined and practiced, contain everything that I want in art and creativity. What other words could be added? Excellence? Maybe. Substance? Possibly. But those words, to me, are already woven deep into the richness of goodness, truth, and beauty. Nothing else is needed. My prayer is that artists study those words, brood over them, wrestle with them like Jacob.”
I think I agree. At least with the idea of starting with a few words. Perhaps I would choose excellence. But there are other questions than this:
- Is it even necessary to have words for measuring art’s value/meaning?
- If so, what words are proper to use?
- How does one determine what is good, beautiful or true?
Matt Conner is a freelance writer and music journalist. As the founding pastor of The Mercy House, he led a church community for more than six years in intense community development across racial and socio-economic lines. As a writer, he’s interviewed thousands of musicians for multiple print and web-based publications.