What I want to discuss in this short essay is the concept of beauty, and its relevance to all of us. If one observes visual art that is older than 150 years or so, one will scarcely find examples that are not aesthetically pleasing. It was an untold axiom that one of the pillars of a piece of art was to be its beauty; all other motivations would be secondary to the quest of creating something that is foremost pleasing to the visual senses.

A couple of years ago I went to Verona, a city that is cut in the middle by a river and which lies just south of the Italian Alps. It is the city of Romeo and Juliet, a magnificent place; after walking for a while, I decided to visit a museum that features a Roman theater as well as pre-Christian Roman crafts. Everything about the place was agreeable to the eye: the trees, the Roman arches and columns, the statues, the cutlery, the gems, the bracelets, and the jewels. One’s mood is easily elevated when surrounded by all that beauty. I was traveling alone and, in this museum, I met a man with whom I continued touring the city after we left.

The man was interning at a museum in Venice, so he was well informed of the exhibitions that were being displayed in Verona at the time. He suggested that we check out an exhibition of Alberto Giacometti’s work, who apparently was not just a sculptor but also a painter. I did not know who Giacometti was, and after he proceeded to explain, I was not too excited about the ordeal, on top of the fact that the tickets were a hefty 15 Euro each. I acquiesced and maintained the attitude that maybe Giacometti would prove me wrong, and that I would like his art. The realistic outcome came to be, and I left the museum with a sour taste in my mouth. The sculptures were out of proportion, the objects were emaciated and fragile men and women that were moribund, and there was not a single piece of his that I found aesthetically pleasing. I cannot comment on his paintings because I simply don’t remember any of them. What is curious is that his sculptures are very fresh in my mind even though a couple of years have passed; it is not because of their beauty that I remember, but because of their ugliness. What does your mind think, when it sees people stare at a toilet in some museum so meticulously, so as to uncover the “mysteries” of the “art.” I’ll tell you what I think—idiots!

Beauty is transcendental and it is much more rigid than you might think. Psychologists prove time and time again that beautiful people are treated much better in all aspects of life when compared to those more unfortunate. It is an innate human behavior to be attracted to beautiful human forms, wherever they may come from. And it need not be related to sexuality, I can very easily recognize a beautiful man, and this is categorically an asexual thought. This is also why your spouse will never stop drooling over the beautiful young lassies that pass him by even if he is ever faithful to you. I want to emphasize that caring about physical beauty does not make one shallow, it would if one disregarded everything else, but it is false if one cares equally about outward appearances as one does about things that are invisible. This is why I do light exercise every day and try to get at least 2 hours of sunlight each day: because I aim to be beautiful both inside and out.

Now we live in an age where many of these things cannot be said unless done so with a lot of tact, so I want to add the disclaimer that I harbor no ill thoughts whatever for those who are not in healthy shape, or those who have “undesirable” features that they cannot do anything about. But hopefully my message will inspire everyone to increase the amount of beauty around them, in whatever way they can. We live in a reign of ugliness, and it must end sooner rather than later; it’s high time!

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