Of all that’s surrounding us in life, how much is false yet beautiful? The pretence of beauty when, underneath, there’s little substance to truly justify the illusion. As if it’s now too easy to create the veneer, the superficial representation of something, without that which might’ve made it shine from within quite naturally. While truth itself might come across as less appealing, less pleasurable to look at.
The modern code as to what’s beautiful sometimes seems strangely distorted: given how easy it is to craft an image, what are we to read into whatever choices people might make? If beauty – in appearances, style or branding – can essentially be bought, aren’t we admiring money and inclination more than anything else? To think it says anything about the nature of what lies within could be quite mistaken. (Notes One)
In terms of culture, however, it seems we’re encouraged to feel that beauty represents goodness, ugliness the reverse. As if attractive people are somehow better – the ones we should be listening to, following, giving power within our community – while the less attractive are destined to stand on the sidelines or take on the part of evil. What does it mean to draw such simplistic lines between inner and outer?
While we might have more tools readily at our disposal than humanity ever has, what does it mean if we’re using them to craft illusions? To conceal and misrepresent ourselves with the constructed vision of how we’d like to appear. As if we’re increasingly wearing all these complex masks while the true self might never be seen – locked away, while some other version lives.
Isn’t there truth to honesty? To letting things be seen as they are. All the wear of time, form and function etching itself onto the surfaces of our lives. Everything speaking of its role in life, its purpose and usage. It all coming together into a clearly readable sense of where we stand, what we’re dealing with and what it all means. (Notes Two)
What are we actually doing in concealing truth? As if the whole of life might be an illusion – all this marketing spin coming to life and replacing what’s truly going on beneath. All the underlying realities still “there”, festering away unnoticed or unresolved, while something quite different takes place on the surface. What’s the point in hiding the truth and pretending something else is happening?
Sometimes it seems truth – despite its potential ugliness – might be more valuable, more worthwhile. At least then mistaken attitudes, choices or ideas can be exposed. Bringing things to the light of day, don’t we see what life truly is and how well we’re valuing all that goes into creating this complex and beautiful whole? Valuing everything rightly – even the darkness that needs releasing – seems important. (Notes Three)
If all of life’s a blend of light and dark, right and wrong, truth and lies, the paths we take within it may not be easy or attractive but they must make a difference.
Notes and References:
Note 1: What do we see in beauty?
Note 1: Valuable insights actors can offer
Note 1: Observing life & stepping outside of reality
Note 1: Definition, expression & interpretation
Note 1: Do we know what stands before us?
Note 2: Values and the economic
Note 2: Aesthetic value of nature
Note 2: Masks we all wear
Note 2: Diplomacy and knowing where we stand
Note 2: Knowing who to trust
Note 3: Art as a way to subvert or inspire
Note 3: What makes a good life
Note 3: Visual language and spaces
Note 3: Times of revelation
Note 3: Living as a form of art