Beauty, Beholder, And Ideal

Rozanne, Life is Rosie, wrote an article on women and their perception of beauty standards.  It is an interesting and well worth anyone’s time, perhaps more so, if you are a woman of any age.  She points out some surprising truths and provides a bit of understanding.  Hence, my two cents on the subject but in a different treatment.  I like to go back to original sources and for this we must consider the Greeks, to whom we owe a debt to their ancient philosophers.  Indeed, it is from first Socrates and then more clearly exposited by Plato that there are perfect forms that exist in the universe, for lack of any other place.  These forms are the perfect ideals that cannot be fully comprehended by man.  Later, the psychologist Karl Jung would take these forms and remake them into archetypes of a more personal level.  These ideals are somewhat bothersome because of their inexactness, thus room for argument and dispute.  Of course, thanks to the ancient Greek mathematicians, there is a some sort of measurement we can apply at times, one called the Golden Ratio.  Which is as follows from Wikipedia:

In mathematics, two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. The figure on the right illustrates the geometric relationship. Expressed algebraically, for quantities a and bwith a > b > 0,

 \frac{a+b}{a} = \frac{a}{b} \ \stackrel{\text{def}}{=}\ \varphi,

where the Greek letter phi (\varphi or \phi) represents the golden ratio. Its value is:

\varphi = \frac{1+\sqrt{5}}{2} = 1.6180339887\ldots.

The golden ratio also is called the golden mean or golden section (Latin: sectio aurea).[1][2][3] Other names includeextreme and mean ratio,[4] medial section, divine proportion, divine section (Latin: sectio divina), golden proportion,golden cut,[5] and golden number.[6][7][8]

Some twentieth-century artists and architects, including Le Corbusier and Dalí, have proportioned their works to approximate the golden ratio—especially in the form of the golden rectangle, in which the ratio of the longer side to the shorter is the golden ratio—believing this proportion to be aesthetically pleasing (see Applications and observations below).

Mathematicians since Euclid have studied the properties of the golden ratio, including its appearance in the dimensions of aregular pentagon and in a golden rectangle, which may be cut into a square and a smaller rectangle with the same aspect ratio. The golden ratio has also been used to analyze the proportions of natural objects as well as man-made systems such as financial markets, in some cases based on dubious fits to data.[9]

Well, that was a jump, I’m not quite sure what we can make of it.  But the golden ratio has its uses and one finds its use in a great many places.  Of course when it comes to animals and humans we may question whether it is a genetic component of our individual developments.  One might even question whether our appreciation of the golden ratio is learned or part of the brain cell organization in the visual cortex.  You know, given some funding I could see myself doing a bit of research for a couple of years, a beautiful prospect, pardon the pun.  So why does J-Lo’s bubble but look so good and your back porch look like that great outdoors without the scenic beauty?  It just may be that golden ratio effect.  But what does remain a mystery is why, after all the years of Greek beauty dominance in terms of form and ideal has Art, as a group and individual endeavor, rejected its authority, but everyday women haven’t?  Essentially at the turn of the last century the art world was upset.  Artist decided to become the last word on the quality of their art.  All those dealers who bought and sold the works of the various artists had held authority and the purse book over the heads of the artists.  The upset has been complete as curators, dealers, and everyone else involved in the art world who isn’t an artist now generally bows to the authority of the artist.  And judging from what I have seen, you couldn’t bend that golden ratio enough to measure many of the “works of Art”.  On the other hand, art creates a constant tension between acceptance and unacceptance, between liking and disliking.  The other point is that art is a marketable asset in the marketplace.  It is put on display and judged according to individual tastes.

You know where this is going, don’t you?  We all sit in the marketplace and are put on display.  Yes, it is really an analogy but like all analogies it almost fits.  Throughout our lives we market ourselves in one way or another.  In psychological terms, we look for acceptance.  And not to put too fine a point of life, not all ideals are equal in the marketplace.  We fight for our place, our acceptance from loved ones, friends and neighbors, from employers, and whoever else we wish to impress or otherwise associate with and win approval from.  We seek our place in the world, it is the most natural behavior that we have.  We seek common allies with whom we can defend against common foes.  Did you ever watch a group of chimpanzees in action?  They associate in small groups.  We form memberships in these small groups for the reason that this is where we live.  When we are young we seek out various other individuals who are usually seeking out others as well.  We want to form our own small groups while still keeping touch with previous family and friends.  We network far mor than the chimpanzees in their groups.  By our standards they are a very closed small group society.  there is very little social climbing and if there is, it will be done by the large males.  Remember that we are of the ape family, by the way, just as chimpanzees, so we study their behavior to get a clue about our own.

What does all this have to do with beauty?  If you are a woman, stop worrying.  Contrary to what the various medias try to tell you and what products they try to make you buy, Beauty doesn’t mean that much to most men.  My god, you don’t think we wish we had bigger chests or a medal to pin it on?  I am amazed by how women think they are the more vain of the two sexes.  We are vain out having hair.  The first time I saw my little brother in twenty years, and he is eight years younger, the first words out of his mouth were:”How come you got all the hair?”  He was mid forty and bald as they come, I was in my fifties and still had most of mine.  I just smiled at him.  Oh, I know, your boobs are big enough.  Hey, so you can have them made larger.  Now tell a man his dick isn’t large enough and it will almost kill him.  If we could have our male members augmented, my god the things would rival the eiffel tower.  Ok, so what am I say?  Maybe it’s time we got back to the basics of love, as Waylon sang it.  Forms and ideals are just that, abstract thought.  Reality is living in the world with all the imperfections we find.  I have yet to ever see a house built where all the walls were exactly plumb and square.  There is always a crook or bow somewhere.  Now, do I require perfection as a place to live?  God, what a boring place that would be.  And god protect me from perfect women, I should be afraid to be in the same room with even one.  Give me someone I can converse with, someone who can hold an idea in her head and perceive its beauty.  I am not god’s gift to women and I do not require god’s gift to men, male of female.  In the market place we look for those with who we can relate, build a world, or at least a small group of our own.  If I want fifty shades of beauty I’ll go to the Miss America contest.  If I want warmth and affection I’ll seek someone a little closer to my own ideal, not the universal Hollywood style.  The marketplace is not for hookups, one night stands, and all the usual feel good crap.  That’s only a waste of time.  The marketplace is where we find that union, that relationship that looks better sitting on the couch than on the shelf.  Self acceptance is another post.

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