Alex Brusentsev on the most beautiful thing about being human

For this week’s post, composer and experiential artist Alex Brusentsev lends his thoughts to the question: “what is the most beautiful thing about being human?”

[For me, it’s] connection. Though arguably too broad to be meaningful, for me, the expanse of experience suggested by that single word is the very source of its meaning and, consequently, its beauty. We connect to actions, ideas, and one another. We connect based on our past experiences, our present situations, and our future ambitions. Through our connections, we build, improve, and discover. Ultimately, connection is love and - as cliched as it may sound - that is the most beautiful thing about being human.

We have now had three answers to the question, with a divergence between, on the one hand, Alex and Kim’s answers, both arriving at “love” as a conclusion, and Russell’s response about language. One thing I identified after the last post was the option to reinterpret the question as “what is the most beautiful thing about being human, exclusively”. In this sense, you explore the aspects of humanity that set us apart from other creatures - whether it’s our capacity for complex language, or for humour (at least rare in the rest of the animal kingdom), or our ability to express ourselves artistically as an end in itself. Even the exclusivity to humans of some of these are open to question, and you could argue that human “art for the sake of art” is missing the point that, subconsciously at least, we create art to make ourselves attractive to other humans (in the same way that birds use song as a call to potential mates). Perhaps the main reason I formed a band was to improve my chances with the ladies (which makes indie folk as a choice of genre all the more questionable…) It could all merely be a question of scale.

Another interesting point to draw from Alex’s answer above relates to his statement that “we connect based on our past experiences, our present situations, and our future ambitions”, highlighting the capacity of humans to appreciate our historical context and get a glimpse at our place within the wider universe. Our ability to learn from past mistakes is not completely unique to us - what is evolutionary theory if not an inbuilt mechanism for doing just that - but our ability to combine this learning with longer-term future planning is surely another beautiful aspect of human nature as we strive, sometimes all too slowly, to soften our impact on the planet we inhabit.

The Crossmodalists