Because we make: to make beauty is to be human

As Hannah Arendt observed, mankind is homo faber: man as maker. We are tool-makers, art-makers, and respond to what we make, especially those things that are well made. What makes an object attractive, desirable — in a word, beautiful — if not each detail that reveals the care, the close attention of its maker? The evidence is all around us, from coveted Apple products hyper-designed by an obsessive Steve Jobs to luxury handbags and brushed-steel German kitchens. Nor is the pleasure we derive from such beautiful objects only aesthetic. Beauty is a kind of cognate for excellence: we are also viscerally responding to the maker’s attention to quality, which signals a certain kind of seriousness.

Excerpt from A Thousand Hands Will Grasp You With Warm Desire, a sensuous, lyrical ode to the good ol’ physical book. It’s so beautifully and thoughtfully written, the title alone is like foreplay. Give it a slow, meditative read if you can.

Maker. Hands. Book. Humanity. Beauty.

Maker. Hands. Book. Touch. Beauty. Humanity.

(PS: I didn’t know this, but I’m perhaps latently fascinated by hands, in its literal and figurative senses. One of my previous blog posts, as it turns out, also makes reference to ‘hands’. Just a trivial note. :) )

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