Thursday, February 5, 2015

Seeking After Perfection- Part Three

    Our search goes on and on. 
    Yesterday, one of my readers, a person whose insights, and opinions I respect immensely, challenged me about some of what I said in part two of this disquisition.  I had stated my belief that the search for, and the desire to attain beauty in some way, is a universal construct.  He challenged that, putting forth his thought that many people do not recognize beauty as a worthy desirable goal, and that for an increasing number of people, function, and comfort are the primary end points desired.
    This, naturally, got me thinking. 
    Here's what came out of that.  I still maintain that we do all carry this within us, the desire for the beautiful.  What makes it hard, often times, for us to see that present in others, is that every person's notion of the beautiful, and the desirable, is entirely a personally defined thing that emerges from their nurture, nature, and history.
    I might, and actually do, sometimes see someone walking on the street in clothes that are essentially sleepwear, and have a lot of difficulty seeing any beauty, or as my reader has said, any desire to be beautiful.  What I cannot see, what does not get communicated, because I don't know that person, is where their notions of beauty lay.  What is the source point for them, of their ideas about what is beautiful?  To them, their super casual attire is very possibly a fully appealing thing.  But I can't see that, because of the limitation I carry, based on my own source point being different from theirs.
    Something that gives this all another layer of complexity is that we are, as I've mentioned before, both questioning the old rules and regulations about our society, and at the same time working towards globalizing that same society.  So things have become quite murky indeed, since we are being called upon to pull ourselves in several directions at once. We are being tasked to present ourselves to the public, not just in a small community sense, but at work, and also to our world community, that we access through the internet and media.
Add to this the inescapable fact that our world is becoming, for good or ill, a much more casual one. And its not really surprising to me, considering how much social stress we work with daily, that so many are choosing the path of least resistance with regard to their Attire choices. When we are presented with a barrage of media input constantly, and our work places are stressful, its quite understandable that we might choose to not have to think too much about what we have on.
    That very casual mindset, which increasingly decries the need for social constructs of form, and appropriateness in apparel has created a huge number of new Attire words that for many of us seem like the worst sort of slang expressions.  However, within that series of new words is a whole new way of seeing, and thinking about what constitutes beauty. 
    So, in summation today, what I'm seeing here culturally, is not a dismissal of beauty as irrelevant, but rather a transition from one manner of expressing it to another.  And since that new way of seeing is as yet not fully formed, its presence is harder to detect.  But I earnestly believe it to be there, after all.


  1. Doood, you're talking about me! Hehe. Thank you; I'm flattered. And I - totally - agree with everything you've said here.

    I do recognize that there's often a big difference in perception between myself and the young folk. A good example would be the wearing of bicycling clothes as "daywear". I think they look horrible on even the most beautiful body, while so many think they're flattering and - actually - beautiful. But I also really do think that there's much in our tech-y, harsh modern environment that wears down some of the more sensitive of our sensory receptors. Does a steady diet of Nikki Minaj - (sp?); I really don't know who she is - make one less likely to see the value in Bach or Puccini? Does a constant rotation of sweatpants and Uggs in one's attire and that of one's friends make it more likely that one will find a Dior ballgown ridiculous rather than a precious object? If you're taught - if you're taught at all - that Koons and Murakami are great, important artists, what can you make of a Caravaggio or a Boucher? I think these are important questions. And I'm not at all hopeful of the answers.

  2. It is true, Stephen, that we are seeing a dearth of interest in what you and I would call art, culture and, staying with the topic, perfection in beauty. But, we are also seeing an expansion of what we acknowledge as beautiful. Perhaps what is occurring for folk like you and I, who are trying to stay involved, and informed, is that the speed, and distance that is being expressed is simply outpacing us. I hate, I TRULY hate to think that I'm not up to the mark with evolving trend. But I have to admit that I am, at heart, a child of my time, and my nurture.Is it, at the end, really just that I cannot connect fully with what is going on? Or is there another, deeper layer to this that we haven't plumbed?

    Talk to me, dude.

  3. While there is certainly a generational aspect, it's more than that, I think. It isn't just our inability to keep up. I think there have been deep societal changes - again, the influence of advanced technology is maybe the largest part of it - that have significantly altered our perceptions, our - ability - to perceive. The way that media is now so all-encompassing - and, yes, good old television got the ball rolling - the way it is so omnipresent MUST have a huge impact on our puny brains - and in way we haven't even begun to understand; you watch umpteen hours of television a day or are constantly plugged into your ipad or pod and, no matter the content, it - changes - you. And if we examine the content of our contemporary media...? Again, for us, what I would call, "preservationists", I think the situation is rather distressing: will the brains we're saving this stuff for be able to access and appreciate it?

  4. And, if I stand back from my statements, part of me wants to say, "Come on, dude, lighten up. You're over-reacting; it's not - that - important". But I guess I do think it's that important.... : )

  5. We, none of us, can stand back and say there have not been profound changes to what, and who we are, because of the influence of the technologies we have created with our wildly inventive primate brains. I would be the least, and last of those to claim otherwise. Perhaps what we are looking at here is a global, species wide tipping point. Perhaps what we are standing on the brink of, is a quantum change in the very notion of what it means to be a homo sapiens person.
    Are we about to birth Homo Sapiens Sapiens 2.0? Maybe so. certainly the stresses we face every single day, created by our own hands are pushing us to evolve. Can we do it in time? I don't know. The Pollyanna person within me says yes. But being fully honest, I really don't know if we will make the leap to the next phase, whatever that may be.