EppsNet Archive: Beauty

Notes on Existential Well-Being

I’m taking an online class on existential well-being . . . posting some notes and thoughts: Well-being implies physical health, comfort, pleasure. It is also essential for human beings to have relationships with other people and to have a place in society. We speak of personal well-being when a person is able to develop their talents and feel at peace with him or herself. Beauty, compassion, truth, love — these are experiences of the “life force” or the “spirit.” In these spiritual experiences we transcend our limited self. We become part of something bigger and participate in universal qualities that nourish and enhance life. We are conscious of the physical, the social, the personal and the spiritual dimensions of human experience. We make no hierarchy between these dimensions. We recognize that human life is also characterized by suffering, pain and many limitations. We acknowledge that because of limitations, we are… Read more →

Like Virgil

Like Virgil, I recognize that I may have falsified reality in my attempt to create beauty . . . Read more →

The Ideal Consumer

The ideal consumer is someone who is anxious, depressed and constantly dissatisfied. Academic studies from the most respected institutions show that sad people are bigger spenders. Why do you think our lives are saturated with images of flawless, unattainable beauty? Read more →

Do People Recognize Beauty in Everyday Life?

This is a few years old now, but I just saw it today. (Please read Gene Weingarten‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning story from the Washington Post for the full details.) The premise is that Joshua Bell, international virtuoso, one of the best violinists in the world — maybe the best violinist in the world — dresses in jeans, T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap, and for 45 minutes plays several renowned classical pieces (on a good fiddle — the Gibson ex-Huberman Stradivarius of 1713, purchased by Bell in 2003 for $4 million) in a Washington, D.C., metro station, during a Friday morning rush hour, with a violin case open in front of him for donations. Do people recognize beauty in everyday life? [SPOILER ALERT] No. They don’t. Stacy Furukawa, a demographer at the Commerce Department, is the only person out of 1,000 or so passers-by who recognizes Bell. “It was the most astonishing… Read more →

The (Limited) Importance of Success

I don’t have a problem with someone using their talents to become successful, I just don’t think the highest calling is success. Things like freedom and the expansion of knowledge are beyond success, beyond the personal. Personal success is not wrong, but it is limited in importance, and once you have enough of it it is a shame to keep striving for that, instead of for truth, beauty, or justice. — Richard Stallman Read more →

Anatomy is Destiny

My wife’s explaining to our boy how she managed to pass a driving test and get a license without ever taking a driving lesson: “I drove in Thailand and when I came over here I just took the test. I’m pretty charming. People like happy, smiling people. And when I was young, I was cute. The examiner just said, ‘okayokayokay.’ I hate to say it, but when you’re good looking, you get the benefit.” Read more →

What You Don’t Say

I just got an email from a co-worker with a wedding picture attached . . . Thanks for the picture, I wrote back. I’ve never seen a happier-looking bride, except my wife of course. She replied, That’s for sure…I really couldn’t of been happier for that moment… What I didn’t say: You’ll never be that young again. You’ll never be that beautiful again. You’ll never be that happy again . . . Read more →

What We Choose

I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose. — Margaret Cho Read more →