Being Beautiful


As a “typical” Libra, I find the incorporation of aesthetics into different aspects of my life very important. Beauty: I look for it, I listen for it, I day-/dream about it, I accidentally bump into it, and I try to embody it. Not that I pursue luxurious items — do not get me even started on how the Guccis and Fendis annoy me. Beauty does not have to be extravagant.

A book by Elaine Scarry, “On beauty and being just” ponders on the philosophy of beauty and the notion beauty preserves justice in the world because it increases people’s awareness. Although the book was a good tribute to other philosophers’ thoughts on beauty, it did not change my personal opinion that beauty exists because it is just that.

These were my favorite musings on beauty mentioned in the book:

  • Beauty brings copies of itself into being. It makes us draw it, take photographs of it, or describe it to other people. Sometimes it gives rise to exact replication and other times to resemblances and still other times to things whose connection to the original site of inspiration is unrecognizable.
  • Beauty is life saving…it adrenalizes. It makes the heart beat faster. It makes life more vivid, animated, living, worth living.
  • Our desire for beauty is likely to out-last its object because…unlike all other pleasures, the pleasure we take in beauty is inexhaustible. – Kant
  • What precisely does one hope to bring about in oneself when one opens oneself to, or even actively pursues, beauty?…goodness, truth, justice…if one pursues goodness, one hopes in doing so to make oneself good. If one pursues justice one surely hopes to count oneself among the just. If one pursues truth, one wishes to make oneself knowledgeable…But this continuity does not seem to hold in the case of beauty. If does not appear to be the case that one who pursues beauty becomes beautiful.

Maybe Libras, like me, love beautiful things because:

“Beautiful things give rise to the notion of distribution, to a lifesaving reciprocity, to fairness not just in the sense of loveliness of aspect but in the sense of “a symmetry of everyone’s relation to one another.”

Balance = beauty?

Amidst the consumeristic notions of the holiday season, I decided to start reading a book by Lijia Zhang called “Socialism is Great: a worker’s memoir of the new China”. China’s growing wealth and its citizens’ spending habits has been the subject in a lot of media lately. Actually, I bought this book a few months ago solely by “judging the book by its cover”, from the famous City Lights bookseller in San Francisco. The cover reminds me of a propaganda poster.

I wish you a good weekend, whether it be with friends or family. Or whether it be alone catching up on sleep and reading good writings over the weekend…