On beauty

in #thoughts3 months ago

Is beauty objective or subjective? Is beauty only physical? What is beauty? I'll start by saying what I think. Some say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find this statement to be not true. Sure, there is some degree of subjectivity around beauty, but in virtually everything there is also subjectivity. I think most of us often share the same opinion about the people we consider beautiful, and even if we don't agree on some exceptions, that doesn't mean that beauty is subjective. It's like with food, people's tastes are different, but if we want to know which dish is better than another we should probably ask a chef. The same thing happens with beauty, a person who has observed beauty more closely and who has accustomed his sight to beautiful objects, is, I think, better able to know and resolve any dispute about the beauty of a person. Someone who has seen many beautiful people is in a better position to put into perspective how beautiful a person is.

I also believe that there is a difference between physical and non-physical manifestation of beauty, so to speak. There are people who physically are not very "beautiful", yet they are quite attractive all the same. Then comes the next question, is beauty only physical beauty?

I think it's a complex thing. As far as I know, the Greeks associated beauty and goodness as one and the same thing. I partly agree and partly disagree. I do think that beauty is in some sense a manifestation of good, however, just because a person has a beautiful body does not necessarily make that person good. I think there is physical beauty, and there is psychic beauty. Physical beauty is when the body is good. That is, the body is good for what the body is needed for. Basically, it is having good genetics. A person who is beautiful has good genetics as a consequence, without this meaning that he or she has the slimmest body in the world or something similar. It doesn't matter. He or she has good genetics. Psychic beauty, on the other hand, is the beauty that this person has within him or herself. If a person is good, then that person is beautiful. I think that the practice of virtue makes a person more beautiful, as absurd as that may sound to some people, I think it is true. And if a person practices good, and therefore, justice, fortitude, temperance and the other analogous qualities, he or she will be admirable, and will be able to gather with magnetic force a crowd of people around him or her. That is because he or she is beautiful, and beauty attracts.

As far as body beauty is concerned, we should not worry too much about it. It is genetic, and even though, as far as I know, genetics can in fact be changed, we will not focus on it. For the beauty that is of the psyche, it is due to the good, I think. Plato said that when a person perceived a beautiful object he was immediately attracted to this beauty, and the attraction happened because the beautiful object reminded him of the beauty itself which is divine, and served as a reminiscence of the pure and winged things in the other world. To perceive beauty was like perceiving something with a divine countenance. And divine things attract humans because they liberate them from the state of subjugation in which they find themselves. That is why he said that wisdom, which would also be divine, although it cannot be perceived by sight, it also seizes men in a special way and causes, I would add, people to follow and seek out the sage, attracted by his presence. The wise man would also be beautiful because it is not permissible for a wise man not to be good.

As soon as a man takes care to purify himself by practicing virtue and turning away from evil, he becomes more like that which is above and therefore more truly beautiful. And as it is within, so it manifests itself without.

To conclude, there is a rather curious anecdote about physical beauty that I seem to remember. The legendary lawmaker Lycurgus wanted every Spartan male to wear a beard and long hair. The Greeks in general wore their hair long because it was a symbol of their freedom, but the Spartans did not. The Spartans symbolized their freedom with long beards. The reason they left their hair long was because, according to Lycurgus, it made handsome people handsomer, and ugly people uglier. Although humorous, he believed that both being more beautiful and being more ugly were more desirable than simply generating indifference.

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Objectively beautiful.

It's hard to know what beauty is in our times. Since physical beauty wants to be dictated by fashion and psychic beauty by signaling virtue instead of practicing it. We live in a verbal world, too much. Myself included:) But I agree, what you said about subjectivity is not completely true, as with food; a good comparison. Greetings!

Hi! Sorry for the late reply. I had problems with my computer and lost access to my account. I was trying to log in but could not. I try several times. In the end it was a grammatical error. :)

What is virtue signaling? Preaching it and not practicing it? Yeah, but I think intuitively one can tell the difference. I mean, you can fool the mind for a while, but that's not going to last.

One should only worry about being authentic oneself, I think.

I didn't understand the last thing you said, do you agree but it's not completely true?

Thanks for stopping by!

Hi! Sorry for the late reply.
In the end it was a grammatical error. :)

Thank you for letting me know the reasons. LoL, sometimes errors are that funny :)

What is virtue signaling? Preaching it and not practicing it?

correct. But there is more to it. It's waving with messages of virtue to the outside world without really having them internalized oneself, and not knowing it.

I didn't understand the last thing you said, do you agree but it's not completely true?

I agree, I should have put the sentence in inverted commas (as a quote).

LoL, sometimes errors are that funny :)