ditch the introspection
No one would ever look out a window, clutch their chest and gasp, breathless with awe, ‘what an awful, ugly view’.
No one’s looking for ugly.
What’s on our minds is beauty. We want it, seek it and chase it. It’s everywhere and it’s nowhere; we’re obsessed yet we won’t confess it. It’s our greatest desire and simultaneously our greatest taboo. To admit a desire for beauty is a shameful vice.
Nonetheless, while we are busy chasing beauty (pretending not to chase it) and avoiding it as a topic of conversation, human nature prevails and who we (truly) are may not be who we want ourselves to be.
The ‘value of beauty’ as investigated in the study of economics (most specifically as applied to a workplace setting) indicates there is marked preference for beauty (vs. ugliness) in common social environments.
This preference is most often expressed in the form of privileged treatment, higher pay and greater acceptance, encouragement & engagement with others, for those who present a certain, socially prescribed standard of physical beauty. (one, two, three related articles here)
But is beauty really all that counts?
Is our entire human population so single-mindedly hardwired to some basic evolutionary goal or desire (is this about pro-creation?) that we can’t see past the superficial, surficial attributes of the people around us?
Literature is littered with attractive bad-guys (why do we love a villain?); reddit now has a page called ‘what terrible people do you find physically attractive?‘ .
Is an attractive physical form truly all any of us is looking for, deep down; consciously or subconsciously despite the fact, beauty without substance- beauty alone- rarely makes the grade?
If ugly is, well, just ugly- what does this mean for the makers (creators, builders, designers, artists) of our society?
Should we, in an e
ffort to create with honesty & sincerity, focus exclusively on reflecting the truths of our time, becoming purveyors of ‘ugly’ simply because that is what makes up so much of our every day? Or is it time to throw out the dark paint, lose the (hard-to-take) irony and ditch the (potentially ugly honesty of) introspection in the name of making the world a more beautiful, less complicated, easier place to live?
Where is the line between ugly truths and the propoganda of beauty?