why beautiful?

What is it we want when we desire? What aspire? Apotheosis?

Finding any human “beautiful” is quite disturbing. I am especially disturbed when I see a stranger or a coworker and find them beautiful despite no knowledge of their internal lives, loves, and how they affect and effect their environment and co-humans. Another facet of my appreciation of these humans is that they are (not always) usually the very inadequate adjective “feminine”. Biologic imperatives aside, as thinking being, how is that my sense of beauty is skewed this way? If beauty lies in certain proportions of facial and body features, why should something as constructed, ethereal, flexible, and earthy as “gender” affect my preferences? Instinctually I distrust all category, yet those same instincts shade my preferences to certain and not all hues.

Intellectually, I can understand a preference for healthy scapes. A healthy looking desert or mountain always looks more beautiful to me than one that appears sickly or polluted. But it is the case that the humans I find most beautiful are not always the most healthy. If the appearance of health alone were a judgement-hinge, then why go further? But I do go further. Certain people are beautiful to me, more than other people. There is a sense that knowing someone well is to further appreciate their beauty, so I accept that. That still does not explain why so and so X at my workplace is more beautiful than so and so Y despite their similarities. Nor does it explain the same phenomenon when I see people on the train home.

I can say with confidence that all the friends I know well are extremely beautiful to me equally but in their own ways. And I love them all equally but in different ways. This is no cause for alarm. But why should a less deep appreciation for total strangers beauty be unequally divided among age, “gender appearance,” and other properties?

The shallow appreciation is unremarkable as I don’t know these people at all; I stress the unequal division of this appreciation. Another puzzling fact is that sometimes the appeal of a total stranger seems to be quite deep. Am I as prejudiced as all that? (Yes.)


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