I’ve been listening to and conducting several conversations about the beautiful lately. I’m practicing listening and learning about my unhealthy fixations. Part of this is attempting to hear what others say when they define the word “beautiful”.
To me, beauty exists as a connection to the transcendent. It’s where the sensory and emotive meet the soul as God greets us with a taste of heaven we cannot quite perceive. Beauty surpasses (but can be held within) pleasing aesthetics but also the face that was ugly and became beautiful once we listened.
I started this definition (if it can be called that) out as “to me,” which may seem like I think of beauty as subjective. But i don’t. Aesthetics are subjective, but beauty exists objectively. It’s the thing we know when we see it, but can’t totally explain what is.
20 minutes ago, someone walked in on me dancing and watched for a bit. She told me my dancing was “beautiful”.
I don’t think she meant I had nice lines or my technique was great because it wasn’t. Aside from the fact I’m primarily self taught and have no turn out, I struggled today because my hamstring is still injured. My movement is so limited that my expression is hindered by my inability to move how I want to.
Nonetheless, she pulled me aside to tell me it was beautiful. I think it’s because I was trying to be honest to the music and to my body and to the emotions. It was a private moment witnessed by someone who somehow connected to my own expression. I think it’s because I was trying to participate in something fundamentally human, and therefore, something that echoes the divine.
I don’t think my dancing can really be considered to achieve “beauty”. And quite possibly this person has very little dance knowledge and assumed I knew what I was doing. Maybe she just thought it was pretty and wanted to comment because she felt presumptuous watching a private moment. But this example, explained in its most idealistic state, helps me to understand what beauty is.
I think we must strive for beauty in all we do because it connects us to the self, to others and to God.
If you have a completely different view of beauty, or any thought about beauty at all, I would love to chat. Really truly I’m trying to learn to be a better listener and I want to hear thoughts.