A Manifesto for True Beauty
All contemporary crises can be reduced to
a crisis about the nature of beauty.
This is true for me.
I want to make it true for the majority of humankind. Why? Read on.
The ancient Greeks revered beauty. “The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty,” declared the father of process philosophy, Alfred North Whitehead. “Beauty prompts action,” said author James Hillman. “Beauty must replicate itself,” stated Harvard’s professor of aesthetics, Elaine Scarry.
“So what?” any skeptic may ask. “How is beauty relevant in a world burdened with wars, starvation, and an increasing gap between the uberwealthy and the rest of us—not to mention the truly poor?” For many, beauty is trivial and nonessential, and its serious pursuit is a shallow endeavor.
I say otherwise. Yes, in our modern times, beauty has become caricatured, trivialized, and marginalized to an extreme and ridiculous level. It has been relegated to the shallows of the naïve and romantic, while the mass media elevates and enshrines mere glamour and the bad news of violence, greed, crime, and coarseness.
To skeptics I say this: You are confusing True Beauty with glamour. And no wonder, as our society is doing so as well.
And glamour? Glamour is a trick, an illusion. It is defined as such in our dictionaries. Glamour is a bright flash and—poof!—gone. Glamour has no substance. As one beauty commentator, poet John O’Donohue, put it, “It has become the habit of our times to mistake glamour for beauty.”
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