A Few Thoughts on Beauty

Beauty is transient, but it exists. Not in universals, not in something as crude as physical lusts, or what we are conditioned to assume it to be. but in embodying something, in the mixture of toil and effort and planning to obtaining beauty, and the repose and casual nature of how it speaks for itself, I believe this makes truly beautiful things.

A thing is beautiful upon reflection or obsession, but not on instinct. The all too easily and commonly heard distain for beauty comes from distrust of human appearance, especially the sexual allure of someone revealed to be immoral. I wonder what this says about our priorities as human beings. Is beauty as simple as attraction? I wonder if it was. The images of so many romantic paintings, as many mock in school, many are not so pretty. But the devotion of the method, the attention to detail, that it survives makes me think there was more to it than the person being drawn like a photograph being taken. There is a mirror in the purposefully grim or ugly modern or postmodern art, despite affectation and principle there is still at least a concept of beauty to destroy; or an attempt to change what ‘beauty’ means.

It is increasingly easy to think that something like Plato’s theory of Forms, that there are somehow universal concepts and names of things that bind our common understanding despite such disparity; my favourite example of this thought experience being a dog. We know what a dog is, but look for one single second at how incredibly varied a species it is.

We see beauty in the rising of the sun, a distant radioactive object projecting the energy we directly convert into vitamin nutrients, and fuels the food source of carnivore and vegan alike. Many hundreds of volumes have been devoted to flora and fauna, to water, the growth and toil and cultivation of shoots, roots and flowers. A beauty may be seen in the boxer, admired for his strength and resilience, the physical form in a combative light, an academic one, or a sexual one depending upon the observer, or perhaps a medley of both.

I have thoughts on beauty, but it’s like a candle thinking about a sun. I’m curious what your thoughts are about the concept, and just that this week, perhaps give thought to beauty that’s certainly within your life, its use, and for you what is its form?

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