{Copyright © 2011-2021 Peter Langenberg. All Rights Reserved}
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Everyone knows the expression “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. This generally means that beauty is a matter of personal preference or individual taste. Still, few would dispute that the world is filled with beauty. This implies that beauty exists as a phenomenon which is external to the beholder. Appreciation depends upon personal preferences.

“Sam’s File” looks at this implication by questioning whether natural beauty really exists or is simply a creation of the mind. If a product of the mind, beauty is simply a thought, an abstraction residing solely within the human brain. As such, it would be wrong to say that the natural world is beautiful. What beauty exists in Nature is created by us. And, if beauty is just a product of the mind, what else that people consider to be as real as beauty, such as right and wrong, good and evil, and the supernatural to name a few, exist only in the workings of the mind and have no other reality? Are these facts or simply opinions?

The Story

These questions are explored in the context of a climb of the Grand Teton (13,771 feet) in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Sam runs a camera shop in Baltimore and is also a photographer who publishes books of glossy pictures of Nature taken in his local region. He believes that the world is filled with natural beauty. As a photographer, he searches out that beauty and brings it back in the form of carefully selected photographs for all to experience.

One March, over drinks at the Compass Bar, Sam’s friend Dave suggests climbing a mountain for summer vacation. Sam quickly proposes the Grand Teton. Unknown to Dave, Sam had spent a summer at a dude ranch in Jackson Hole as a teenager. On one outing, he watched as the Grand Teton revealed its hidden beauty to him. This remarkable experience left Sam with a strong sense of the reality and power of beauty. He was further moved by the Reverend Wayne, a minister visiting the dude ranch one Sunday, who declared that the beauty of the Grand Teton was a gift from God and allowed us to look upon the face of God. As he watched the Grand Teton from a distance, Sam felt himself drawn by the beautiful sight to the threshold of another dimension of existence beyond everyday life. How much more wonderful and powerful should the experience be when on the Grand Teton itself and especially at its summit. Still holding this vision, Sam steers Dave to the Grand Teton and is pleased when he agrees.
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