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What Really Is Beauty? - Literature - Nairaland

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What Really Is Beauty? by Dospix(m): 1:51pm On Jan 23, 2013
I have often asked myself one question that always seems answerable to the people around me. To many my question is inconsequential, to few the answer is too obvious to be given; however, I find myself lonely in a succor and conception of my own. That is to say, I have become a victim of “conceptional in-lucidity” which is a very serious illness for a scholar like me. However, most young scholars find my question too platitudinous that ignoring me has become the best response. But still, the question keeps popping up in my time of sober reflection; and he says to me, “What really is beauty?”
To many, beauty has to do with what the eyes sees and finds attractive. Consequently, to them, beauty is just confined to the physical appearance. When some individuals are confronted with this question, they simply tell you that beauty cannot be described; however, they believe beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Eighty percent of the people around the world believe that in deciphering or identifying what beauty really is, one needs to be objective in his or her view. That is to say, in identifying beauty, one should base his or her assertion on real facts and not on personal beliefs or feelings.
According to St. Thomas Aquinas, “Beauty is id quod visum placed,” that which pleases upon being seen. For St. Thomas Aquinas, he believes one should look at beauty objectively rather than subjectively. St. Thomas Aquinas disagrees with the cliche that says, “ Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” St. Thomas’s view on beauty is however not wrong; that is his own opinion on “ what beauty really is,” but one thing we fail to put into consideration when trying to decipher what really the aesthetics of life is all about, is that more focus is put on the objective view of life rather than the subjective view. But still, the objective view is a collection of the subjective view. This however, helights the importance of our subjective view when approaching the matters of beauty.
Ninety-nine percent of people who look at a girl with rabies, puss sores and a disfigured face are going to call her ugly, and ninety-nine percent of people who look at a woman with smooth radiant skin, clean hair, a healthy weight are going to call her attractive; maybe that is how our natural selection was meant to function? But this does not still answer my question, because, even beauty itself fades, and beauty is not beauty when it never remains beautiful. My assiduous research in trying to decipher or understand “what beauty really is?” yielded great fruit, because I came to realize that the oral sirocco received through my ears on “what beauty really is?” is different from the sight definition of beauty. However, this shows the divergent definition of beauty as given by the eyes and the mouth.
We have journeyed together trying to paint an adequate picture of what beauty really is? As defined by scholars and some individuals. Based on my laborious research, I simply define beauty as a positive attraction. One reoccurring definition I got on “what beauty really is?” is: beauty is simply embedded in the character and not on the facial outlook. Have you wondered why our parents who used to be beauty queens in their young age now look unattractively different? Have you wondered why the beauty queens of yesterday are now addressed as ex-beauty queens? What is beauty without character?
I will rather not use the word “beautiful” to describe individuals who we are attracted to at first sight, instead, I use the phrase “good looking” for every individual who has a friend, there is always one force of attraction that brings them together and secures their relationship. That is not to say, that people don’t get attracted to you because you are good-looking, but, what is friendship if it does not last? Beauty is beyond the physical appearance of an individual; however, I believe beauty lies in what is embedded inside us. A girl happens to be the focus of many individuals. This got me wondering why? Because, I couldn’t in my natural eyes see anything special in her…but I was wrong, because chineye’s intelligence and morally sound behavior attracted people to her. Her skin was not as radiant and glowing like agbani dergo’s or as mind blowing as the beautifully painted Monalisa picture. But, she possessed some outstanding character that made people attracted to her. One important point we ought to know, is the fact that, beauty is not beauty is if it doesn’t possesses any positive character that will hold one spell bound. You could be good looking, but if your character is nothing to write home about, people become scared of associating with you. Do we still say she is beautiful? For me, she is just “good-looking” because she doesn’t possess the qualities that will make me term her beautiful.
For me, the beauty I see in people is the character they possess in them. It might be their decency, their generosity, their cheerful nature and their intelligence. If you are good-looking and you don’t possess these qualities, I don’t believe you are worth being termed beautiful. What is the consequentiality of a beautiful tree if it yields no fruit from it? This can however be likened to the human situation. What is beauty without decency? What is beauty without morality? What is beauty without intelligence? What is beauty without mannerism? Why waste much time trying to impress through the physical, when it will still fade away? Yes! You might be beautiful, but mind you, what scares or keeps people around you is your character not your good-looking nature. Your good-looking nature might attract them, but what keeps them or scares them away is your character.
Life, I would say, is a journey of building. What we build today is what we shall reap: if we build on our beauty, that we shall reap; but, if we build on thing that lies within us, we are definitely threading on the right part. One simple message I have been trying to pass with this article, is: beauty is an attraction that leads to mental, spiritual, moral and educational development. For if beauty cannot achieve these, it is not beauty, but, “good-looking.”

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