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?
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?