From whence do we arrive our concept of beauty?

I will never forget going on a fishing boat out to the Gulf Stream, some thirty miles off the coast of Carolina Beach, North Carolina.  I was ten or eleven at the time, and I believe I was the first person on the boat to get a strike and land a fish.  It was a beautiful Spanish mackerel.  I had never seen such a magnificent fish – superbly proportioned with shiny multi-hued scales glistening in the sun.  A true wonder to behold.


Why did I consider that fish so beautiful?  Why was it more attractive to me than a flounder or a toadfish? 

Seven or eight year later I was almost knocked off my feet when I was introduced to a lovely young lady that was visiting our church.  Why did I have such a strong reaction?  What was it about her that made her so gorgeous in my eyes?

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Why did I pursue her until she became my wife? 

What makes something or someone beautiful?

I remember a discussion in a college English class about neo-Platonism and the concept of Plato’s cave.  Some thinkers advanced the theory that all we see in this life are imperfect reflections of a perfect reality that exists beyond our human senses.  When we see a tree, we are only seeing a shadow of the real tree that exists in a heavenly world.  The more beautiful the tree, the closer it is to that perfect tree that lies beyond.

Nonsense?  Perhaps.  But no one has yet devised a satisfactory explanation of beauty.

What do you think?     



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