The Only Beautiful Things

“The only beautiful things, as somebody once said, are the things that do not concern us. As long as a thing is useful or necessary to us, or affect us in any way, either for pain or for pleasure, or appeals strongly to our sympathies, or is a vital part of the environment in which we live, it is outside the proper sphere of art. To art’s subject-matter we should be more or less indifferent. We should, at any rate, have no preference, no prejudices, no partisan feeling of any kind.”

Wilde, Oscar. “The Decay of Lying.” In Intentions. New York: Brentano’s, 1905. Page 5-6.

Through the character of Vivian, Wilde argues that the only things that should be considered beautiful, are things that we feel impartial to. This was interesting because one would usually argue the complete opposite – that the only beautiful things are the things that do concern us.