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Andrea Borghini

Beauty, Purpose and the Paradox of Ugliness

By November 30, 2012

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When a few years ago I migrated to New England, I soon starting reflecting on the differences between my aesthetic sensibility and the sensibility of the people who were grown in the area. Most importantly, I pondered the relationship that there are between beauty and love or passion, justice, truth, and artistic expression.

Even is some claim that beauty is purposeless, I rather tend to believe that appreciation of beauty can come only from a deeper understanding of its role and its context of origin. The problem is that I found myself too often living in situations recalling a variant of the paradox of tragedy, which we may label "the paradox of ugliness;" in it, people seem to have a crave for those things that will aesthetically displease them. Perhaps also as a cathartic exercise, today I offer you some articles dealing with issues of beauty, along with some quotes on the topic, that I hope you'll find inspiring.


January 29, 2013 at 6:14 am
(1) K.G.Parthasarathy says:

Our mind is conditioned by various stories, epics, religion, discourses etc., that beauty should have some characteristics. A beautiful person will have broad shoulders, eyes are wide and shining, have well chiseled nose, tall , fair colour, like that . If one do good things he will go to heaven where beautiful girls are available, he can sit in golden throne, adore several beautiful things etc. The epics, religious leaders, poets and writers stress these points. So we have fixed idea of beauty, beautiful persons and things . Rarely will people admit a different view about beauty. Personally , my idea of beauty differs from others. I don’t give importance to colour, jwelery, dress etc., As it is said beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder what I find beautiful is beauty to me.

March 10, 2013 at 1:37 am
(2) Deana says:

Thanks in support of sharing such a fastidious thought, piece of writing is nice, thats why i have read it completely

March 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm
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March 17, 2013 at 8:59 pm
(4) stephen mann says:

This topic seems anti-Platonic in its defining beauty as a life condition rather than as an ideal in a life-transcendent realm. Is beauty only outward (e.g., physical and sensual) or is it inward (e.g., mental and spiritual)? Is it a quality or an ideal? Perhaps it’s both- an experience uniting the subjective to its objective. Is it definable and obtainable? Or is it undeniably here or there and yet beyond our grasps in its diversity and complexity? Is it simple and obvious enough for us to see and yet too subtle to grasp? Perhaps, as Keats implied in ‘”Ode to a Grecian Urn”, it is definable in relation to other ideals and virtues- truth in his poem.

This approach appears more promising than that of mere subjective-objective dualism. Ideals aren’t subjective versus objective exclusively but are so parallely (what?). Of course beauty is both physical and spiritual but it isn’t when only one or the other: to be, it must be both. Body and mind are the tracks of our trains (toot! toot!).

Khrishnamurti stated in one of his books (among many!) that ideals are interdependent. This is like saying they are parts of a system: a stomach versus a brain; a steering wheel versus a tire set. Rather than Platonic abstracts in a superior realm, they are faculties within our personalities. Justice comes from our consciences, for example; wit from intellects and imaginations perhaps; truth may be argued to be intuitive- our mysterious senses of what is. In addition, ideals are paired: justice to goodness; truth to beauty; wit to wisdom; honor to honesty; harmony to freedom; and courage to loyalty (did I miss two?).

The reason they are paired is that half are of form and the other of force. Goodness is of form; justice of force. Beauty is form; truth is its force. These are only my opinions (remember, we all have one- maybe even two!)…

Stephany and Steve

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