Sometimes we see the real things more clearly without them. It’s about the application of clinical detail to the perspective – some might same chimera. Conjoining the noteworthy elements of a scene or issue characterizes and isolates the salient features. Let’s face it most of us haven’t the time for the nitty gritty unless it is retailed in a digestible manner. So we capture the strongest attributes and project them in a unique manner. Clarity is simplicity.
Clarifying means removing the dirt and grime, exhibiting only what is essential and colourful. This elimination has the effect of strengthening what may otherwise be dismissed as tarsome or uninviting. The project is in the result an unwitting purification (by definition almost) and a heedful ignorance (again by definition) of what is obstructive or objectionable.
This artistic or – if you prefer – the edited version of things is a reminder to dismiss the complications of life. Given the nature of the beast, it but follows that there are frequent collisions and resulting conflict in the unqualified communications between people. Unless you can discover some singular reason to do otherwise, it only makes sense to rise above the complaint. There’s no purpose in pointing the blame and winning. I’m not saying there should be a make-up; but I most certainly am not prescribing a plan of attack. Besides I’ve detected more often than I care to recall that criticism is the best autobiography.
The artistic depiction of life is paradoxically inert; yet its meaning is quite the opposite. Everything about art is symbolic. Perhaps this explains part of the reason art is the legacy of interest as one ages. By which I mean, we latterly profit by an artistic view of life. Curiously one can complete and augment this capacity by the simple arrangement of one’s furnishings and accessories. There is no reason whatsoever that this manner of expression is less significant than any other. Certainly it is a profitless undertaking but nonetheless it is one which fulfills a primal need to make one’s nest.
Meanwhile the application of similarly artistic expression to our analysis of others affords a far more colourful and less abrasive result than enlisting and dwelling upon their faults. I have it on the good report of a successful nonagenarian that argument is futile and corrosive. The gentleman of whom I’m thinking practiced what he preached. Even in the face of financial loss, the complaint of another was tolerated (though to his credit he did not extend the impunity to government but that’s another story).
As we cannot, without the risk of evils from which the imagination recoils, employ physical force as a check on misgovernment, it is evidently our wisdom to keep all the constitutional checks on misgovernment in the highest state of efficiency, to watch with jealousy the first beginnings of encroachment, and never to suffer irregularities, even when harmless in themselves, to pass unchallenged, lest they acquire the force of precedents. Four hundred years ago such minute vigilance might well seem unnecessary. A nation of hardy archers and spearmen might, with small risk to its liberties, connive at some illegal acts on the part of a prince whose general administration was good, and whose throne was not defended was not defended by a single company of regular soldiers.
Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay, “The History of England, from the Accession of James II — Volume 1”
The History of England from the Accession of James the Second (1848) is the full title of the five-volume work by Lord Macaulay (1800–1859) more generally known as The History of England. It covers the 17-year period from 1685 to 1702, encompassing the reign of James II, the Glorious Revolution, the coregency of William III and Mary II, and up to William III’s death.
Macaulay’s approach to writing the History was innovative for his period. He consciously fused the picturesque, dramatic style of classical historians such as Thucydides and Tacitus with the learned and factual approach of his 18th-century precursors such as Hume, following the plan laid out in his own 1828 “Essay on History“.