"True beauty always seems to bear with it a note of gentle sadness, sometimes very poignant; and it may well puzzle us why this should be so. If the beautiful is so desirable and so welcome it should surely bring unqualified joy."
Have you ever experiences this? I have! It has always puzzled me. I've looked out over a beautiful vista and experienced the beauty and joy of the scene. I've been so taken by the beauty that I have wanted to cry. At the same time a feeling of melancholy accompanied the joy of the beauty. It has always puzzled me how one can be so happy and also sad at the same time. The seem to be emotions at conflict with each other but maybe they are not. Continuing on in the book Phillips goes on to explain a possible reason the above is so.
"Is it possible that beauty is a hint of the real and true and permanent, so that we feel without conscious process of thought: 'This is what life should be, or what it is in reality.' And therefore to compare that with our ordinary everyday experience with all its imperfection and ugliness gives rise to a poignant pain?...Or is it the eternal spirit of man remembering here in his house of clay the shining joys of his real Home?"
I find this explanation very interesting. Do we have built into our subconscious a memory of our real home. Over my year of reading during devotional times this year about our transitory life on earth and our real home being our eternal life with God. When we experience true beauty on earth does it trigger our memory of what was and should be? Is the sadness a longing to regain what we once had. If so as a Christian the hope and joy is it will be once again. This Jesus promised.