Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?

I really liked the questions that my Dear Friend Gina asked about beauty and I loved the Vivaldi piece on Winter that she shared. The images and music together almost brought me to tears. I would absolutely agree that beauty can take us outside of ourselves to see the possibility of something greater. The evidence of God truly is painted on the tapestry of creation. However, I don't know that beauty reflected back necessarily makes us uncomfortable or exposes the dreariness of our lives.

I cannot conceive of the existence of a single human soul who's heart would not be stirred into longing for something greater than itself when gazing upon a vast field of crystalline stars, moonlight on snow covered trees or sunlight bouncing off of ocean waves. I think that the beauty of God's creation is commonly recognized and acknowledged by all human creatures, whether or not they actually believe in God.

I think that there are certain kinds of beauty though that are unique to the eyes of the beholder. Certain things in the world can act as mirrors of the individual human heart, when taken in by the eyes. Instead of one's own reflection in a mirror, the desires of one's heart can be revealed by visual images (or music, or literature, etc.) I guess my question would be, what does the individual find beautiful that the whole of humanity might disagree with?

Some men, and women, think there is nothing more beautiful than pornography. Much of their time is spent in pursuit of the visual images that they believe most satisfy their souls. If you could pry them away from their computer terminals, I do not think that they would argue about the relative majesty of an iridescent sunset. I imagine that they would want to return immediately to their other preoccupation though. Their hearts are fixated on their ideals of beauty.

Some people think that there is nothing more beautiful in all of creation than the mangled, mutilated, bleeding flesh of a man who was horrifically nailed to a cross and murdered over 2000 years ago. How could such a horrific visage appear beautiful to some? Those who find that countenance beautiful also find that their hearts become strangely fixated on that ideal of beauty.

To one human being, pornography may seem repulsive and disgusting. To another human being, the cross of Jesus Christ might seem repulsive and disgusting. I think that both examples of beauty can act as mirrors of the human heart. For if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is the human heart that judges what appears beautiful and what appears repulsive. It is the human heart that is revealed by the object of it's attraction.


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