Keats was convinced that any product of human imagination is not only beautiful but also a source of permanent joy. The statement, therefore, presents an elaborate criticism of art.
The three key important content words in the statement should first be considered separately to make sense of the vision underlying them. They are: 'thing', 'beauty', and 'joy'.
The word 'thing' refers to some object connected to our imaginative sense of beauty. It can be an object of nature (a flower, eyes of the beloved), or a piece of art itself.
In the statement the word 'thing' refers to any artistic product and the word 'beauty' its aesthetic value while both together an eternal source of joy.
When man's natural sensitivities and sensibilities are active rather than dormant he or she is capable of appreciating beauty both in the outer and inner world. Thus the psychological world gets connected with the outer world. This is how purposeful existence comes into being. However, a higher stage is yet to be achieved. In this stage one is able to express the discovered meaning born out of the interaction the inner and the other world through some form. This means there are three stages of joy: at the time of interaction, at the time of creation, and at the time of interacting with the created form. So achieving the third stage is the hall mark of creative artists. But why it is so? The answer is very simple. One knows that the permanent is different from the transitory. One should somehow preserve the transitory. One knows that it is a tradition. The people of the coming generation will not only accept it is a tradition but will also invigorate it by making a fresh contribution.
Every body knows that Keats was highly indebted to the principle of beauty in life as well as in art. It is because he started looking at it in a classic frame of reference. He felt the need of moral satisfaction. But not by creating a palpable design. There was even no need for him to do so. He was sincere to his findings based of experienced-based-observations, reflections and meditations. In his own words: 'let us open our leaves and be passive and receptive'.
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