Staring at the turquoise vase sitting on the top of a pile of books, Empty, it’s empty. I can’t really afford flowers. In a literal sense, the recurring expense is too much and morally, to even fathom the idea of watching something so beautiful, die such a non-eventful death. Flowers that are plucked should have some grand meaning in their life, shouldn’t they? It’s a thing of beauty after all! Everything beautiful should either have a grand romantic story or terribly tragic one. Beautiful flowers. Beautiful person. Goddamnit, a beautiful soul, mind, book, movie, lyrics, poem! We want to associate beauty with everything. I kid you not, you’ll hear the phrase how beautiful X was way more when you start observing this. Ha! Perceived beauty.
Perceived beauty does more harm than good, but who am I to talk about this, a beauty critique? It’s strange how you are tempted to comment on everything that you come across because you base your importance on the thoughts you have. Who would you be if it weren’t for your thoughts? Right?
I do have some strong thoughts on perceived beauty, but if you’re still reading this, just take it with a grain of salt — just like every opinion on this blog.
We are instructed to find a lot of things beautiful even when we don’t have a substantial emotional response to them. We are told how beautiful vases are and we start to affiliate the word with it. We start associating the word with all those romantic representations we read about and we start using it so liberally that we can’t think of a way to appreciate something that’s somewhat impressive without calling it beautiful. Those magnificent books. Radiantly flawed lyrics. Heartwarming movies. What the hell am I supposed to use to express an emotion that’s so overwhelming? Are we expected to go back to grunting and making noises-count me in if you ever plan to do this, grunting loudly when you find something amazing is the mood.
Aren’t there numerous times you have called those fruits in the organic grocery store beautiful without even thinking about it. I am not critiquing here, just an observation. You’re not a terrible human being if you use the word to describe something overpowering. In fact, go ahead, if you want to appreciate something, it doesn’t matter what words you use to convey that, just do it. We need more of that. There’s so much hate out there, recognition can go really far for someone.
I am however scared of the trap that perceived beauty can bring.
The new decor in your house. The Tibetian wall hanging. Aroma candles from exotic places with names you can’t even pronounce. You watch art movies, of course you do, and you’ve spent a long time understanding and appreciating beauty.
You, however, are trapped. Confined by this. You want to add the next missing piece in your curated art puzzle that you’ve come to call life. You want to tweak and modify trivial aspects of your life. You are trapped because you need to find the next thing that will take this piece an inch closer to completion. I have talked about appreciating art before, or about the inability to do so — I haven’t made a lot of progress but it’s still part of the same puzzle, isn’t it?
Curation isn’t the only problem. Beautiful things are supposed to have a climactic life, how are you going to provide that? Everything beautiful needs to have a story to tell — How are you going to tell the story when you’ve been calling it beautiful out of habit?
Self-awareness-not a step but will help you sleep at night
Unlike everything that involves an identity crisis, self-awareness doesn’t really do a lot here. This behaviour is learnt and ingrained. This response is acquired. You can try as hard as you want but you’ll never reach a neutral zero. You might be anti-beauty but you’ll never get rid of this bias that you have. The bias of things that are supposed to be “beautiful” just because you heard it or were exposed to it. It is, like most thoughts in your life, borrowed.
Self-awareness will help you sleep at night. You will at least know that a part of you will be withholding the next time you’re trying to buy that vintage VCR player purely because it was “beautiful”.
I am tempted to buy those pretty flowers every day. I can’t help but look up at the pot and imagine how it would look just perfect with four white gerberas! Let’s get some flowers for the vase tomorrow? I can’t really afford flowers. In a literal sense, the recurring expense is too much and morally, to even fathom the idea of watching something beautiful die such a non-eventful death.
Thanks to Abhiraj Hinge. @kalalombdi