Monday, December 19, 2005

True Beauty.

First rant. (Deep breath).
Mike and I were talking about what exactly true beauty is. It seems that there is some discrepancy between what many people view as "beautiful" and what a healthy view of beautiful is.
First - there is a large difference between beautiful and hot. The word "hot" is a physical description - pleasing to the eyes and to the senses. "Hot" is a temporal, societal descriptor - it is defined by a certain time and society. Case in point - what Victorian society would define as "hot", or visually pleasing, is far different from what we would call "hot". What is hot changes from minute to minute, and is subject to the whims of popular culture.
So, then, what is beauty if it is not physical and sensual attractiveness? Beauty is far more complex than a pretty face, or properly proportioned body. Beauty, in fact, does not have anything to do with being "hot" as society defines it. In fact, some things are beautiful even though they are not physically pleasing. For example, a newborn child is beautiful, but not very pretty.
Beauty is timeless. What was beautiful five hundred years ago will be beautiful today. It is important to note that beauty and "hot" can coexist, although they are not necessarily linked. So, if beauty is timeless, and does not necessarily have anything to do with physical things, then what is beauty?
In actuality, beauty truly comes from the inside. It is almost like an aura around a person - the person will exude beauty all the time. It is not necessarily anything that a person consciously does that will cause beauty, but it is almost the product of many choices.
So what makes a person beautiful? Obviously one usually needs to know someone at least a little before beauty can be assessed. However, I believe that Beauty, like Truth, will show itself. Beauty and inner ugliness can often be assessed through first impressions. Somehow, beauty gives itself away immediately. It cannot be hidden easily.
So then what is truly beautiful if it is not skin and clothing? Here are several short lists of what came to mind:
Things that are beautiful: Honesty, purity, love, grace, faithfulness, compassion, faith, humility, temperance, and patience.
Things that are ugly: Dishonesty, impurity, hatred, lust, faithlessness, apathy, avarice, gluttony, faithlessness, and impatience.
It would seem that the list of beautiful things follows closely with 1 Corinthians' views on love and Galatians 5's sayings on the Fruits of the Spirit. Maybe these three are connected.
A common Christian saying is that Jesus came to be the servant of all. We know that Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, something that was unexpected and somewhat improper for a leader. However, Jesus showed his love for his disciples by serving them, by making himself lower than they were. This was a beautiful act. And I think that this may be getting to the heart of the issue of true beauty. Jesus' washing of his disciples' feet was a selfless act of love (as well as an object lesson), and it endures to today as a lesson in servanthood. So...could true beauty be found in the most selfless acts?
Going back to the list of beautiful things, most of them are actually selfless acts. They are putting one person ahead of yourself. The ugly things are the opposite: selfish acts that bring good to no one but themself.
If true beauty comes out of selflessness, then that would explain why beauty is timeless - acts of selflessness and heroism are remembered. Jesus' death is one example. Mother Teresa is remembered for her lifetime of sacrifice for India's poor. We remember our soldiers every November 11 for the sacrifice of their lives in trade for our freedom. Selfless acts remain, and the beauty in them is apparent.
The nature of beauty is selflessness. This is why someone can be physically attractive and yet be repulsive at the same time. Also, someone can be physically unattractive and be beautiful. Oddly enough, true beauty seems to counteract physical unattractiveness - good people are always attractive.
In conclusion, true beauty is something that we should strive for. However, we must remember that it is our actions and our attitude that makes us beautiful - not how we look. Looks fade, and "hot" will change, but true beauty will stand out.


Well...I finally gave up and decided to create a second blog - however, this one is more of a debate/rant blog than anything else. My original blog, accept no substitutes, was originally designed as a place for me to communicate information with people I don't see regularly, with the stipulation that nothing would get really personal (read: teenage angst). This one is designed to seek out truth. I'm not asking for deep, intellectual thought - I want honest answers. I may end up debating with myself here, but if I can arrive at Truth, then that's fine. If I can help you arrive at Truth as well, that's even better. And that's where the name of this blog comes from. Sojourn means "a brief stay". We should only stay where we are for a short while - if we are stationary, then we are not moving towards Truth. And, I like the word. So, stay a while, and let us keep moving towards Truth.
Jesus answered: I am the way and the Truth and the life. John 14:6.