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Old 14th July 2011   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Re: Heritage vs. the rootless media

In thinking about the clash between the artificial, modern media standard and traditional culture and philosophy, especially as it pertains to other civilizations, the following article at an Indian source is particularly interesting.


It references the mythological Judgment of Paris, where the shepherd Paris spurned two other goddesses to award Venus -- the goddess of beauty and self-indulgence -- the title of "the fairest." There is more significance to the piece, though, than even its reference to "curvaceous cues":

Oenone [the mountain nymph who was the first wife of Paris, Helen's lover] admonishes Paris for having spurned knowledge, reverence and control of the self for the beautiful Italian Goddess, "fresh as the foam, new-bathed in wells".

But...if evolutionary biologists are to be believed, humankind arose from ancestors hard-wired to respond to curvaceous cues. These supposedly correlate to enhanced reproductive fitness and survival of the race.

Surveys have showed that both men and women describe beauty as being "original, interesting and pleasant". This matches well with the Indian philosophical precept that equates beauty (sundaram) with truth (satyam) and auspiciousness (shivam). By that token beauty, inner and outer, springs from a 'good' body.

The fact that Indian philosophy equates beauty with truth and goodness presents a fascinating parallel between traditional Indian and traditional Western concepts of beauty. There is Keats's famous line in "Ode on a Grecian Urn," for example:

Beauty is truth; truth beauty.

There is also the Platonic and Neoplatonic concept of beauty as passed down from Classical Antiquity, which is well expressed by a quote that accompanies one of the galleries on this site:

Outward beauty is a true sign of inner goodness. This loveliness, indeed, is impressed upon the body in varying degrees as a token by which the soul can be recognized for what it is, just as with trees the beauty of the blossom testifies to the goodness of the fruit. (Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, 1528.)

It's no wonder than in the present day and age, when beauty has been turned into ugliness, when grotesquely emaciated models and radioactively overtanned actresses with man-jaws are falsely passed off as "beautiful," that the notion of beauty has been so much maligned.

Today, beauty is attacked because people sense that what the media passes off as "beauty" is not actual beauty. The public rejects, not true beauty, but a distortion of beauty. They are actually rejecting ugliness.

When beauty was understood in its true sense, its timeless sense, when women like Kelsey Olson or Katherine Roll or Shannon Marie or Sophie Sheppard would have been acclaimed as embodying ideal beauty (as they would have been in every century prior to the twentieth), then beauty was revered as the very flower of life in traditional cultures around the globe.
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