The Philosophy of Beauty
Whatever is said about the perception of beauty, as much as it is in the eyes of the beholder, it is also in the mind of the beheld.
The physical appearance which is pleasing to the eye, gives the first and most superficial impression of beauty. It includes well defined, sharp features. For example, large eyes, full lips, a sharp nose, oval face and pointed chin. This is supported by lustrous hair, a proportionate height weight ratio, clear complexion, read – fair, good teeth, basically everything that spells perfection.
However Dr. Niteen Dhepe, Medical Director, Skin City, raises a very pertinent question in his book Doctor, Mala sunder disaycha. He asks whether physical good looks are sufficient to confer the title “Beautiful” on a person. He is faced with a dilemma as a professional who actually dictates the anatomical specifications of beautiful features and a person who has a deeper understanding or definition for the term beautiful.
He goes on to say that apart from the grooming, hygiene, dress sense and communication skills that define the overall personality. There are deeper dimensions to beauty.
Intellect for instance, if a person has the good fortune to share his knowledge and understanding of various subjects with people of equal intellect, the physical appearance or first impression fades in importance. There is a deeper connect and attraction between the individuals. This is intellectual beauty coming into play.
Then there is the emotional aspect. Compassion & humanism, virtues like these bestow an ethereal beauty to a person. How do you define the beauty found in a person like Mother Theresa for instance? Draped unflatteringly in a sari, bent and wrinkled, yet she was loved by millions and described as a beautiful human being.
We also have spiritual beauty that radiates from within a person. The qualities of humility and kindness that make a person glow. Goodness as a virtue cannot be discounted.
Health viz-a-viz beauty, I’m sure health wins hands down any day.
So what are we left with? There is no perfect formula for beauty. The bottom line is people are created with different permutations and combinations of various virtues. Each of these combinations has their unique appeal. No one quality makes a person beautiful and Beauty is definitely not skin deep.