Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Importance of Beauty?

My grandmother once told me most sincerely that she considers the most beautiful woman in the world to be Queen Elizabeth.  I was surprised at the time.   I believe that what Gran saw as beautiful was the queen's great sense of duty as much as her graciousness and comeliness. 

It seems to me that the best people I have ever met or known of have not generally been the best looking.   Not that I have anything against good looks - I appreciate and enjoy beauty very much, but it's just one part of what we can be, and surely not an overly important part, when all is considered. 

I wonder if our modern world is so replete with an over-abundance of human images everywhere, (in mirrors, reflective windows and other surfaces; in photographs and pictures, in magazines, on posters, in advertising, through media, etc, etc, etc), that we've become hyper-sensitive to this one aspect of humanity - giving it an importance far beyond what it deserves. 

Added to that is our modern way of interacting with many people each day only by viewing them and having them view us, usually very briefly, as we quickly pass one another along our busy way.  The impression we are able to make upon others is therefore reliant upon what they see in that one brief glimpse. There's some pressure!  We are evaluated time and again by only our appearance. 

Before escalated population growth and the miracles of modern transport, most people lived all of their lives among a relatively small community of people in an often quite limited geographical area.  People got to know each other for who they really were in those circumstances.   Perhaps looks were less important in a situation where the way you acted had greater relevance.  A beautiful soul could perhaps be truly appreciated only under such a sustained and discerning light.

I suppose another factor in our over-concern with personal appearance is our over-abundance of free time.  If I had to work longer and harder each day, I doubt I'd be spending so much time worrying about my looks, or anyone else's.    You know those lovely, wrinkled and weathered faces we sometimes see in National Geographic photos of aged peasants?  Those faces look like they've got more on their minds than just visage, don't you think?   

I sometimes consider that the Saviour of the world was described with the words: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him."  Physical beauty does not appear to be a requisite for true greatness, goodness, valour, usefulness or capacity.  Strange then, that it has assumed so much importance!

Considering a little about why I worry so much about appearance is not, unfortunately, the same as not worrying about it anymore...  But perhaps it helps a little :)

1 comment:

  1. Very true points!! Thanks Mum :) I especially love near the end when you talked about the Saviour and how his appearance had nothing to do with his perfection.
    Good things to remember