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Gerald O'brian


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Define beauty.

Do we know what it is yet, or do we go by with a gut feeling about what it is, such as one our ancestors had about inertia or gravity?
Is beauty universal?



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    Oct 28 2013: Seductiveness, sensuousness, spirituality and certain deeply immersive qualities are, for me, some of the adjectives that define beauty. There are more, but the main thing is where those perceptions come from.

    I think it would be a mistake to try and define a unified idea of what beauty is, so therefore I can only say what my thoughts are on it, which may not be likely to match many other's views.

    I don't want to be told what is beautiful and what isn't. If a piece of art for instance, needs an accompanying written explanation as to what is being depicted, then my own perceptions are being devalued, as well as those of the artist. What has been embodied by the artist for people like me to perceive (or not), is ruined by someone else's analysis of it.

    Like art, beauty is shallow - almost worthless - if it has to rely heavily on what is expected of it. If there is a slavish following of formal ploys, monetary value or fashionable trends, then beauty and art will not work for me because it is then a response to commercialism, ubiquity and utilitarianism, rather than the uniquely, personally aesthetic.

    The beholder of true beauty responds not so much to what has to be 'worked on', but rather to what is instant and visceral. "Love at first sight" would be such a response. Looking at a painting and seeing what lies behind the actual paint itself (in the perceptual sense), would be another.

    If attractiveness is shallow, then it is just "pretty". Beauty itself is only accessible at depth, and is perceived even when prettiness is absent. If we are to know the world, then the beauty of it must be sensed at all levels, from its shallow prettiness to its profoundly moving and sublime beauty.
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      Oct 28 2013: I embrace the idea that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That being said Allan, I agree wholeheartedly that beauty may mean something different to different people.

      You, my friend, have expressed many good things about beauty, written with style and grace (which is beautiful to me), so I'll simply say.....I agree with Allen:>)
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        Oct 29 2013: Thank you Colleen. I think we agree on many things!

        While on the subject of beauty - Here in the Southern UK we've just had one of the most powerful storms in decades, and even though trees were being ripped out by their roots and there was structural damage to buildings, I was transfixed by its power and strange beauty. The most powerful gusts happened in the night, but the day before I was lucky enough to experience the storm's leading edge whilst out walking my local hills.

        It was a stunningly beautiful thing to experience - being battered by violent squalls and stinging rain arriving through the trees with the roar of an express train, and the next minute witnessing blinding shafts of sunlight illuminating the saturated autumn colours against a blue-black sky behind. It felt like nature in the raw. Scary can be beautiful too!

        I hope you're enjoying the beauty of the fall where you are Colleen. Can you describe it? I'd really like to know.
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          Nov 3 2013: Thanks for the question Allan, because every time I see, or even think of the beauty in our landscape, it brings new joy to my heart and mind:>)

          Your story about the beauty of the storm reminds me of my mother....
          She used to LOVE thunder and lighting storms, and would follow the storm around the house, looking out the windows to observe the beauty of the storm. I've always thought of my mom as the mighty oak in the middle of the storm, because of the way she lived her life. To watch her following the storm to observe the beauty in it, reinforced this for me...she found, and experienced beauty in everything:>)

          Your story also reminds me of reading the book "The Perfect Storm", while cuddling in my bed, with an actual raging storm happening outside.....it was perfect and beautiful....a little bit scary too:>)

          I enjoyed the fall season again this year Allan, as I have enjoyed it for 60+ years, and it always AMAZES me! The colors are magnificent.....various shades of green....shades of reds, burgundies, and maroons, yellows, golds and oranges....rich.....rich.....rich colors that look like they came off a pallet of the most gorgeous paint colors imaginable. It doesn't matter how many times I see the display, I am still astounded at the beauty.

          This year, my son and his family were here from California. His wife and 9 month old son had never seen the Vermont fall foliage, so we went to the top of Mansfield....the highest mountain, to observe the beauty. Because of the baby, we took our vehicle up the road most of the way and only hiked the last half mile or so. They have an "all terrain" stroller for the babe!!! LOL! :>)

          The view was beautiful....as always. I feel like I do not have sufficient words to even describe it! The topic here is "Define Beauty", and as I said, I believe beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For me, the most beautiful practice, is to look at everything as if it is the very first time....with curiosity and love:>)

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