The Nature of Beauty

Posted on November 29, 2011 by


Classically, beauty in people is defined as perfect health, youth, and cleanliness.  Still today – if you are young, in perfect health (strong body, all the hallmarks of good nutrition before birth and now, good genes), and have had a bath – you’re beautiful.

Beauty in nature is likewise – health, absence of disease or its effects, strength.  Everything in its place, doing what it ought to do.  We also define beauty in nature by what we particularly feel drawn to – the green vine, the tree laden with fruit, the sea reflecting the blue of the sky on a sunny day.  We admire the strength of the tree, the solidity of the rock, the laugh of a stream.  Flowers are beautiful.   A sheaf of wheat, full of grain – it’s beautiful.

Beauty – classically – is the proper original condition of a thing.  What it ought to be.

How then do we associate beauty with the discussion of reality?  First, there is the sense of our understanding of the eternal rightness of certain things and wrongness of others.  And second, there is the redefinitions of beauty or the reworkings of fashion.

Eternity.  I think we all secretly know what we look like, what we ought to look like.  Without makeup or scars, without the play of disease or age on our bodies, without the visual evidence of all our weaknesses and mistakes, what we truly are inside.  I could describe myself to you… it’s not like the real me is six-foot-tall and blonde!

What we find ugly is the effects of disease, of age, of … entropy.

We redefine beauty as something that we can buy, make beauty equivalent to all of the above – plus riches to change what is natural and proper into something just a little unattainable by the many so that the few can have power.

We cry against the unfairness of entropy making us less beautiful and strive to redefine it.

But beauty is beauty.  It is what it is.

Does that mean that an old woman cannot be beautiful?  Or one who disease has ravaged?  No.  But it is not their skins that make them beautiful.  By the time that entropy works its inevitable work on each of us, we must have allowed God to work on the insides so that our eternal beauty can shine through.  Great artists can sometimes catch this, but it is becoming less common.  Anyone can show you the beauty in a healthy child, it takes skill to paint a portrait or take a picture that reflects the insides of a grown person.

What you are in your heart will show on your face.

In nature, we sometimes admire the twisted branch clinging to the hillside.  But we admire it not for its twistedness, but because it is still there.  We admire the way the light shimmers on the silver mold – but we don’t admire the moldy leaf.

Why can we not understand this?  Why must we fight and push against it?  Because we are evil, and we don’t like to admit it.

Walk in the Light as He is in the Light… the way is straight.  The evil ones will call it boring, they will mock you for the scars life has left you with… but ignore.  They mock because they cannot bear the Light.

Endure.  Open your arms to truth, to simplicity, to purity, to beauty.  If your outsides bear the marks of entropy, don’t fear.  Some day you’ll get a new body, and that body will reflect the truth inside.

I am not expressing this as I would like to, but take a moment to contemplate Truth = Beauty = Light = Goodness

Posted in: Religion