The Three Dimensions of a Masterpiece

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Take a masterpiece, slice it into a hundred pieces, and spread it across the world.

Is it still a masterpiece?

These individual faces may be beautiful in their own right, but it would be impossible to see them and not realize that they are incomplete. No matter how enthralling one of these pieces may be, its fundamental truth will always be that it was made to be part of a whole.

No single piece of a puzzle is greater when removed from the others.

No single bolt of an engine can bring a car humming to life alone.

The piece must be held together with absolute integrity.

Integrity is the first dimension of a masterpiece.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When the many pieces of this masterpiece are brought together, you have not only all the beauty of these individual facets but also the intricacies of the relationships between them.

These relationships are what give the piece depth.

Depth is the second dimension of a masterpiece.

Depth, in this sense, is the quality of interconnectedness, which creates the illusion (or reality) of infinite complexity — an entire existence, woven into the fibers of a canvas. Each piece, each stroke of the brush, each word in each sentence, has a relationship to the others.

It is in exploring and experiencing these relationships that we feel the inexplicable rising that a masterpiece grants us. The wordless sense of the epic yet graspable — the sense of being in perfect alignment with God, holding a gleaming realm of creation captive in the span of your vision.

These relationships form the structure of the piece. Each face adds potential. Think of it geometrically. The shape of a single face doesn’t exist — it lacks definition. The shape of two faces is the line, a simple instrument to point or divide. It is straightforward, yet it has infinitely more potential than the non-existence of a single face. The shape of three faces is the triangle, and it is here that structure begins.

Structure implies not only that the piece stands, but that it could have stood in some other way, or even that it could have collapsed instead. The triangle is immensely modular and takes on many different names as its faces, and their relationships with each other change. Add more faces, and the possibilities expand until you arrive at the circle — the shape of so many faces that you cannot comprehend them individually.

They only exist together.

The shape of many faces becomes the shape of a single, undelineated face.

The circle, like the triangle and all shapes between them, can stand in infinitely many ways, or not at all.

Yet, here it stands in this way.

Why?

So begins the telling of that piece’s story.

Story is the third dimension of the masterpiece.

When you see the story of the whole, you begin to see why each piece is as it is. Now, you not only understand how the parts relate to each other — you see how they relate to their own creation. Moreover, each relationship between the facets tells it’s own story. The story adds depth, and depth belies further stories.

Here, with all three dimensions present, you can finally see the soul of the piece. This vision of the soul appears only when the masterpiece is whole, and as you learn the story of its parts, you notice that the equation doesn’t add up. By all laws of reality, the stories and the pieces must add up to a certain sum. But that sum is not present. Somehow, the equation is wrong.

Somehow, an unexpected and impossible choice has been made.

This choice is the soul of the piece .

Every masterpiece, every marvel of expression, is fundamentally a single point in space and time. Each magnum opus is a unique choice, and that choice is always to be something other than what the many parts ought to add up to. It’s alchemy — the mixing of components into a substance that they could not become without the intervention of a creator.

The creator is the conscious will acting upon chaos to create order.

The creator is born from the choice and is also the one who makes the choice.

The creator chooses to create himself.

A masterpiece is a choice — a choice that defies the story that surrounds it. A story told by interconnected parts of a large whole. Parts that are all represented, together and interconnected, in all places and times, with impeccable integrity.

A masterpiece is its own creator.

Each true creator is a masterpiece.

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