The impact of making beauty on the maker's life

It is amazing to fully grasp the impact of making something beautiful. Have you experienced the fact that when you make a beautiful thing, you feel happy for days, sometimes for one or two whole days, the feeling that something wonderful and important has happened in you, lives on in you? And the reverse is true, also. When you make something ugly, you may be depressed for days. A feeling of gloom and dissatisfaction hangs over you. You can’t get over it.

This little-discussed effect is, from an empirical standpoint, extraordinary. It is a massive effect, but — within conventional ways of looking at architecture — there is no obvious explanation for it.

The most joyful and fulfilling love or friendship, after a particularly lovely moment, can make you feel your own well-being for hours — occasionally for days. Or if it goes badly, maybe it has a gloomy effect on you for hours. But making something beautiful — a bench, a windowsill, a song, or making color which is profound — has an effect which lasts, in my experience, for longer. The positive state, nearly like a glow, but more modest, a well-being which exists in us and which is reflected out to others, can last for days. Our well-being is deeply affected by it, in a way that reaches far inside us. For some reason we are very profoundly wrapped up in, affected by, the aftermath of having made a beautiful thing.

When you make a beautiful thing, the depth of the person within becomes more vivid, lives more intensely for a moment. In each of us, a person is existing, or waiting to exist. This person — the most free version of that person — does exist, occasionally, for brief glimpses. When one of us becomes free, this latent person inside comes to the light of day, exists then for a few moments, more vividly, more intensely.

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