Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Seeking After Perfection- Part Two

    No matter how dark, and dangerous our world becomes, there is something that lifts me out of that state every time.  That thing, that special something that we human persons bring to the table is this.  We, all of us, no matter who we are, where we are from, our education, religion, or material state, we all have one thing in common.  We desire to make beauty. We want it around us, and we want it on us, and most importantly for the topic of this blog, we want it to BE us.
No matter how little we have to work with, we strive to create ourselves as beautiful, whatever our own personal definition of that may be.  And that beauty is always, always connected to something besides us.  For us humans, being beautiful is not a simple matter of being, it must be invested with some attachment to the world in which we live.  We make of ourselves, something greater, larger, more close to our ideas of perfection.
    And so, enter the Attire language, with all the tens of millions of subtle words, and phrases at its command, to tell our story with greater facility, to bring our truth, or our imagined vision of ourselves, to the world.

    I remember being on a train, traveling through southern India back in 2000.  As my partner David and I saw the landscape slipping by, we passed a rice field, and there, in that field of rice, were two women, bent over, tending to the plants in the same way that they always had.  But what struck me most was that these humble women, bent, and toiling in the hot sun, were in scarlet, and orange, and fuchsia, and emerald, and teal.  The brilliance of the colors they wore shown like another sunshine, challenging the greater sun for its primacy in the sky.  There was joy in those colors. There was delight in them. There was inescapable beauty in them.  We make it happen. Beauty. Everywhere, all the time. And we do it out of nearly nothing sometimes.  Those two poor women, and I don't doubt for a second their poverty, were no doubt clad in cheaply woven cotton sarees that they wore nearly every day.  And yet, what did they create, all unknowing?  They made beauty. To those who saw them, and took the time to see, there was ravishment.
     It is this I want to give to you today.  Beauty of person, and our Attire statements, are not all about the couture, or who wears the most notable label.  Our personal beauty is about our truth to ourselves, and our giving our selves to the world with honesty, and a fierce commitment to that honesty.  We are all of us most beguiling, most appealing, when we drop our mask of social grace, and become, for an instant even, just plain us.
    So take upon yourself your cloak of individual beauty. Wear your colors, and patterns proudly.  No matter how different you might be from the commonality, don't shy away.
  Those who see, and appreciate will find you, because we humans are remarkable in another respect.  We know our tribal people on sight, and the Attire language helps us in that matter.


  1. "We, all of us, no matter who we are, where we are from, our education, religion, or material state, we all have one thing in common. We desire to make beauty. We want it around us, and we want it on us...."

    Of course - I - feel this but, sadly, I can't agree with you that this is a universal desire. I think many have little or no idea of beauty or belief that beauty is even a "real thing", a worthy consideration, or something worth striving for. I think that more and more - probably more so in more technologically advanced and "first world" communities - FUNCTION and comfort are really the only real consideration for very many people. And I think that is a growing "trend". Of course I think that's... awful!

  2. Oooooh what an interesting comment. So here's what I counter with. Sure, there are many, MANY, who manifest something you, or I might not deem beautiful, because we are, well, frankly, who we are. What they see as beautiful is no less valid than what we do, though we, from our own position, and perspectives, can't quite relate. I still hold that the desire to attain beauty, either be acquiring it in some way through purchase, working out, or surgery, or the expedient of following fashion slavishly, leads to the same beginning point. We want, all of us want, to be seen, acknowledged as worthy, (beautiful in some fashion). And it is simply the inventiveness, and endless creativity of humankind that makes this hard for some of us to see when we're looking at it. All the hipster dudes on Trendy Third in Portland think they are beautiful, in one way or another. They have their beards, bow ties, and skinny jeans. And all those markers mark them, temporarily as beautiful, because they reference a current cultural meme. What you were talking about is along those same lines. There are evanescent versions of beauty that slip in an out of view all the time. We tend not to think of them as beautiful, rather as trendy, or fashionable. We separate them from beauty, because we think of beauty as an eternal quality. And it is. But. these short term things are also beautiful, sometimes simply because they are so ephemeral. I glory in these little bursts of lovely. Even when they are sublimely silly. Because we are nothing whatever if we cannot laugh at our own follies.

    So, when you imply people have walked away from the search for beauty, or perfection, I disagree. It is simply that the path they have chosen is not one we readily understand. Sure, I have no love for the hipster look. It bores me intensely. And, that said, I am willing to own that it has its own validity, short term, I grant you, but validity, nonetheless. Its just like a flower that blooms for a day, and dies. Its no less lovely, in fact it may be more so, simply for its rarity.

  3. (I only read your response here after I've already read today's post related to this. Thank you for my anonymous co-starring role! ; ) ) I agree with what you say here - to a point. There are all sorts of degrees of beauty, I'll admit. And maybe nothing expresses the temporary, accidental form of beauty better than that dancing plastic bag in "American Beauty". But I also think that the word is too easily applied to too much. We don't really have language to express that temporary, fashionable attractiveness that passes for what we too easily label "beauty". I'm afraid I see beauty as a very serious business - it rather is my actual business - so no matter if it's clothing, music, art, whatever we're taking about, whether accidental, of Nature, or carelessly or very carefully thought out, my internal mechanism is constantly on alert, judging yea or nay or somewhere in between. I am a "beauty monitor", I'm afraid, and an extreme example! ; )

  4. And perhaps, dear Stephen, we have a differing view of the usage of the word beauty. For me, beauty is something that leaves me breathless, whether that be something designed, and created by the greatest master artist, or the most anonymous, random assortment of items assembled by a stranger on the street. To me, and I do not impute this as belonging to you in any way, to me, beauty is something the informs, and effects every aspect of us, every day. We live beauty, because, in our innermost selves, it is the sensual, and logical center-point of our being. We desire beauty above everything, for one reason. It is not that beauty is the obvious sexual center, or that it simply makes us smile. Its not that obvious. We need beauty, all around us, because we know in some unspoken part of us, that it is the manifest physical expression of who we are as individuals, and as a species. And no one could argue that we do not build, create and extend ourselves, to make sure the Universe knows that, we were here.

  5. Again I say that I wish we had better language for expressing the different varieties of what we lump all together and call "beauty". Something that would distinguish between the subtle but very real differences.

    In the second half of your comment above, you lapse into "we". Who is the "we"? If you mean the two of us, I agree wholeheartedly. But I would still say that there's a whole lot of "them" out there who do not line up with your rosy take on the beauty-seeking soul of all mankind; I think you a bit of a romantic, mon vieux! I do believe that most if not all humans can develop an appreciation/recognition of all the forms of beauty present all around us, whether the impetus is inborn or takes cultivation but, to continue with my farming metaphor, I think there are many who are a barren field, and need a whole lot of care to develop certain sensitivities.

    And just to be clear, this isn't even a snobbish argument about - what - any given human finds beautiful. It's about whether ALL people respond to beauty - by whatever definition - whether consciously or unconsciously. And I would counter your argument by saying that, through inborn inability/baseline personality or through lack of cultivation/life experience, very many people do not. Which, of course, is a very dreadful thing to say. : (

  6. First of all, Stephen, this is exactly the sort of dialog I have been hoping so passionately for to occur here, or on facebook. The thoughts and opinions of minds that are willing the search, change, and explore. THANK you. So much. Thanks. I admit here and now, that I have a Pollyanna aspect that will always face forward and positively. I don't apologize for it, nor will I retreat from it. Its my place. I do, though, see what you are telling me. I am fully aware that many people have neither the intelligence, the skill set, or the desire, to acknowledge any sort of beauty beyond a very narrow range that fits their limited perceptions. I absolutely get that. What I go forward with, though, is that that does not negate the existence of the desire for beauty. What perhaps I had not communicated effectively at first is this. We have this thing in us. We can squash it, we can ignore it, we can call it silly if we wish. Some have said its the work of the devil. However it happens, whatever invades it, and keeps it from expressing itself with freedom, it is there. It is there in each of us. Some of us end up enslaving multitudes in search of it. Others build empires around the ideal of a single human concept. Others manipulate the world around them to try and make it fit their vision of what is beautiful, only to discover that everyone else perceives it as horror. That does not change the essential truth that somewhere inside each of us, no matter how warped it may get, there is the desire to achieve beauty. and, by association, perfection.