Tuesday, November 01, 2016

"Beauty Is Truth, Truth Beauty"

"Beauty Is Truth, Truth Beauty"
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

John Keats
Ode To A Grecian Urn, 1819

Fake ...

More and more, I've come to believe that the world is swirling down the drain of some plastic surgeon's operating table, and that everything about life is becoming fake.

Fake boobs, fake butts, fake faces, fake emotions, fake romance, fake marriages, fake feuds, fake media, fake religions, fake politicians ...

In this age of superficiality, in these years of obsessive self-indulgence, in an era of relentless narcissism, appearance trumps substance. Today's concern is not for what one values, not for what one thinks or feels as a member of a broader humanity, but for how one appears to the public eye.

We glamorize the so-called "beauty" of the celebrities paraded in front of our eyes by the media — in print, on television, and on the Internet. Sleek, anorexic bodies set the standard for how a woman should look, while muscular, chiselled male models taunt the ordinary man's physique. We watch, and we wonder. We dream of how wonderful it would be if only we could be more like these "perfect" iconic goddesses and these almost surreal demigods.

It's no wonder that the world is suffering a massive inferiority complex, a sense of self-loathing like never before, simply because we're not a little more like this or a little less like that.

Body image is the mental picture you have of your body – what it looks like, what you believe about it, and how you feel about your physical appearance. Self-esteem is the "real" opinion you have of yourself, how you value and respect yourself as a person. More and more the two have become inexorably connected. Body image has become such a source of anxiety that it affects how we understand our worth.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The beauty of life is not a consequence of one's physical appearance. Our bodies are the shells of our existence, but the true essence of one's beauty lies much deeper inside each of us. Our true beauty is composed of how we interact with the world around us. It is the sensation of being alive, the joy and determination with which we face every day, the poetry of our soul that tells the story of our experiences, both happy and tragic. Beauty is not how we appear to the world as simply a body, but how we are engaged with the inevitable human longing for happiness. Those full of gratitude will understand beauty. Those constantly dissatisfied with their lot in life will never know beauty.

There is no denying that some people seem cursed, as one bad experience leads to another, as one tragic event seems to lead to a second, then a third, and so on. Life seems far too harsh, far too demeaning, far too painful. How can anything remotely beautiful be a part of such a dark, dark life?

The answer is simple. Darkness is merely a condition of light. One is unattainable without the other. And so, it becomes a matter of perception. If we become conditioned to look solely for the darkness, we will find only the shadows of our experiences. A shift in perception may allow us to see the light beyond the darkness.

In art, there is a technique called chiaroscuro. It's the play of light and dark within a picture, the idea that you need dark shading on one side of the canvas in order to lead the viewing eye to where the light is supposed to hit on the other side of the painting. The same is true in life. We need to allow our deepest sorrows to show us the way to the end of those sorrows, to where there is something or someone waiting to bring us a renewed sense of hope, a new source of gratitude.

Clearly, this is no simple task, but if anyone ever told you life is easy, that someone was lying.

The point is that you must never feel that your life is doomed, never feel your journey is defined by a recurring sense of worthlessness. Your true beauty is in how you will conquer your feelings of inadequacy and find the courage to be full, to be a complete human being, knowing dark and light and all the shadings in between.

Don't be confounded by or give in to the fake world of celebrity and superficiality. Don't let your philosophy be: "Fake it until you make it." The truth is that as long as you're faking it, you're never going to make it.




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