FOR UNCOUNTED MILLENNIA, PHILOSOPHERS, AUTHORS, POETS, AND THE COMMON MAN WERE HAUNTED BY THE CONCEPT OF BEAUTY.
Every passing legend contributed something new to the idea and over time, a variegated bouquet of quotes sayings was amassed, all aimed at this singular abstraction. It was presented in various forms, with countless interpretations and definitions, and has shaped thoughts and ideas throughout history.
This striking concept of nature was a part of the trio that Plato conceived as ‘eternal, immutable, divine existences’. He believed that beauty is an idea and a form above all other ideas. Also, several humanist thinkers argued that beauty is a product of Rational order and harmonious proportions. Not only them, but the ancient Greeks have associated beauty with order, harmony, and mathematics since time immemorial.
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all.
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
– John Keats
From its connection to the Golden Ratio in the Pre-Socrates period, the impalpable idea of beauty evolved and developed into a rich and varied philosophical study.
The term encountered a transient topple over in the 20th century when philosophers & artists rejected beauty and turned towards anti-aesthetic sentiments. Some authors weighed it opposite to wine, with the notion that it intoxicated both the holder, and the beholder. This rejection however, was temporary and it regained its value as an important philosophical subject related to justice, order, harmony, and peace. Even advanced postulates proposed a connection of beauty with evolution, pleasure, and other psychological factors.
Today, the word “beauty” is the amalgamation of theories, ideas, conjectures, and musings assimilated over countless centuries.
Contrary to its colloquial meaning,
I believe that beauty is found in the most unlikely places imaginable. For me, the most far-fetched tastes may be exquisite, and so can the most common forms of grass be pretty. A child may be called cute, a man termed handsome, and a woman considered winsome, but this, according to me, is not the right direction to tackle the idea. For me, beauty is not merely of the face. For me, true beauty lies in the heart and a beautiful personality therefore, is one that is kind, helpful, lively, and joyous.
Times have changed
The 21st century has brought us into an era where the value of time has increased several folds. One can no longer search for a fire latent in other’s hearts at leisure. A faster, and easier alternative is to look for the visual cue that physical appearances & first impressions offer. But to believe in the idea attained through that channel is to deny oneself of the quality and beauty of the soul. Also, such a venture into the realm of physical wellness can turn out to be expensive as today, one can spend almost a fortune on the latest beauty products. This advancement towards a modern, industrial, and technological age has sent people on a gallop towards every treatment possible that can reduce wrinkles, pimples, and other such blemishes to be accepted as a beautiful person in the society.
Is it worth the struggle and the cost?
One must keep in mind that not only are such treatments wastage of a fortune, but also that the meaning of the word ‘beautiful’ is different for everyone and a spotless face does not necessarily guarantee an immaculate personality.
The perception of beauty changes from person to person
To a keen and curious mind, the ordinary looking blue sky is a mystery. To him, the fact that it stays up with no visible support is a marvel. To an architect, cloud-tearing skyscrapers are a wonder. To an artist, the amalgamation of two colours, swirling slowly to create another beautiful shade is no less than a godly wonder. A philosopher defines beauty as “unity in variety, and variety in unity”.
And so varies the inferences from one human to another.
So how do you define beauty?
For me, beauty is a reflection of the nobility of the soul & casts forth a warm and lively glow. It’s latent in the heart and mind of millions. It’s hidden in places unimagined, unfathomed, and never crawled. Every flower that grows is a wonder to behold. Every colour in a rainbow & every drop of dew is a miraculous creation.
To you, the rose may be a sign of love & affection but to me, the leaves that brave the heat of deserts and wastelands are a sign of how truly amazing this universe is.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
it’s loveliness increases; it will never,
pass into nothingness but will keep,
a bower quiet for us, and a sleep
full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”
– John Keats