the persistence of beauty

thursday sermon. april 18, 2013.

the persistence of beauty

from the dictionary: beauty is a characteristic of a person, animal, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or satisfaction, while ugliness defined as a property of a person or thing that is unpleasant to look upon and results in a highly unfavorable evaluation. to be ugly is to be aesthetically unattractive, repulsive, or offensive.  language is the important movement of memes through our brains, how we think of these things is the script by which we live our lives.  if we accept the dictionary as the standard by which we check our own realities with the collective whole, beauty is a characteristic something integral and internally inherent, while ugliness is a subjective pejorative applied to an exterior experience.  by these accepted definitions ugly things are beautiful, as their beauty is inherent.  they only seem ugly as a fear response to difference, which the interior beauty will outshine.  indeed everything that is, is beautiful in some way.

because of our unhealthy relationship with advertisers and the products that they sell, and a lack of alternative currently available in the mainstream we have developed a sense of shame about beauty.  it seems our ability to appreciate beauty is atrophying.  art is a great facilitator for the recognition of beauty.  make friends with an art appreciator, they can help link things together and when things are less strange they become less ugly.

beauty is all of the things that we can appreciate, it is all of the positive, creative, strong, unique and wonderful things in life.  what is the alternative to celebrating beauty? celebrating ugliness? perhaps re-framing and re-examining how beauty lives in our minds.  symmetry, and average appearance of exteriors is simply one tiny facet of the enormous jewel that is beauty.  normal is a mathematical term that means, perpendicular to.  ninety degrees to something is norm, why is everyone so hot to be normal?  once you realise that and the ridiculousness of applying that term as a descriptor for people, it certainly frees you to be parallel with things and aligned with things rather than perpendicular to them.

beauty is the force that allows us to find commonalities and doorways into other perspectives.  beauty builds bridges between differing memes and is the synaptic pathways that ideas flow on.  the basic cells of god.  the enjoyment of beauty is a human concern, to be emotionally moved by the idea of beauty.  if ugliness, is repulsion and offense, how are we repulsed or offended by that which we understand and empathise with?  Denis Dutton says that beauty is a gift from our most ancient ancestors, the appreciation of things done well, the intelligent skills and emotional lives that are humanity.

to anyone who denies your beauty, they clearly don’t understand it and probably can’t appreciate it in all its nuanced vastness.  using a large vocabulary and being informed on it is not talking down to people, it is talking up to them.  i have the full confidence that people can be engaged and can be enchanted and if you don’t understand something that you would ask, building on the dialogue being created.  or look it up in a dictionary, encyclopeadia or online and engage the discussion again with others.  beauty is not an exterior appearance.  ugliness is not something permanent or inherent to a thing, beauty is.

descriptors are just that, words that describe, we lay our feelings over them.  thin is defined as having little extent from one surface to its opposite, not a positive word really, in fact thin has many defined parts that tend towards the negative.  skinny and pretty also tend to weigh in on the negative side of things as descriptive terms.  reappraise your relationship to the language of beauty.  capability, accomplishment, ambition, these are beauty to be celebrated.  accidental beauty is just that, a random occurrence.  true beauty is applying that which makes us uniquely human, the ability to move memes from non-corporeal existence, through our minds and bodies and out into the world to interact with others.

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