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Eyes of the Beholder or Science

Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears."

Edgar Allan Poe

I was having a conversation a couple of days ago with my work partner on a story I had read about High School yearbooks being altered to make the students appear to look more attractive. I get it. Erase a blemish or pimple and things like that right? Nope. Students were opening up their yearbooks to find someone else staring at them from where they were supposed to be. Thinner face, longer necks, clearer skin. Though I’m sure that some of the students didn't mind the differences, Some of them did.

“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection.” Conrad Hall

My partner tried to make the case that the students shouldn't be upset at all. That whenever an alumni looked back in reminiscence some years in the future, the photo they turn to and see will forever be of this “beautiful” person. “ Beauty is perceptive.” I retorted. “ Beauty isn't perceptive, it’s science.” he replied.

This caused me to go into deep thinking . I myself am a big fan of science, I love that science can explain some of the things in life that have been a mystery for centuries. I love that science can take us to places only our fantasies previously could. I love that science has given us the power to extend a persons already short life and I love that the pursuit of science comes from a childlike curiosity to explore.

“A scientist does not study nature because it is useful; He studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful.”

Henri Poincare

I can most definitely see the beauty in science. I do however am having problem seeing science in beauty. I do not believe that science can measure beauty, though they obviously do try.

What is beauty?

n. noun

1)A quality or combination of qualities that gives pleasure to the mind or senses and is often associated with properties such as harmony of form or color, proportion, authenticity, and originality.

2)One that is beautiful, especially a beautiful woman.

3)A quality or feature that is most effective, gratifying, or telling.The beauty of the venture is that we stand to lose nothing.

So how does science attempt to measure beauty? Some have used history to factor in qualities that survived the test of time. Some of the characteristics of the female sexy face compared to the un-sexy face includes things like Suntanned skin, Narrower facial shapes, fuller lips and higher cheek bones Where for men, it’s less fat, Darker eye brows, Prominent lower jaw and No receding brows.

History also calls on human Instinct. Instinct claims that from our most primitive state, dudes are physically attracted to women who are more able to bare and care for children. They have wider hips, thicker shoulders and fuller breasts which typically shows fertility. Women instinctual nature is no different. They are usually attracted to men with more muscle, a square jaw, big backs and small eyes. Those feature mean these guys have more testosterone and more than likely alpha males. This makes a lot of sense for back in the early stages of man but I don't think it holds a lot of water in today's society. Women have become more empowered so they don't typically look for men to take care of them and with the advances of modern technology, the majority of women, regardless of their hip to waist ration, is capable of having multiple children. regardless, these primitive responses do not account for the perception of beauty. For example, Thick hips and large breasts are not always the preference of certain men and therefore this theory still does not prove a scientific constant in response to beauty.

How about math?

The ancient mathematician Pythagoras claimed to have solved the equation to beauty. He had a complete diagram explaining the measurements and placements of features "beautiful people" all seem to have in common. Sounds legit right? Still, one would have to think that the studies and research that were done were done on subjects that the Scientists considered to be beautiful . So the basis of their research was bias from the start. This is the case for the grand majority of the research and studies that has ever been made on beauty.

If I was to put a pin in any research however, it would come from science's baby brother, Psychology. Sigmund Freud ' s Oedipus complex says that men and women are subconsciously more or less attracted to people that remind or resemble their parents, based on their childhood relationship between them. Though my theory doesn't have the incestuous undertones that Freud has, I do believe what the average human determines to find beautiful and attractive stems from the subconscious. Their experiences in childhood and adolescence. The features associated with each owns successful and/or failed relationships. Since everybody's life experiences are different, then everybody's perception of beauty will be different as well.

As you have more than likely already determined, I still think "beauty" is perceptive. What one person finds beautiful, another will not. Any research that is done to attempt to define beauty by math or experimentation automatically starts from a position of bias by choosing a subject they determine to be, or the consensus states, is beautiful. As much of a fan of science that I am, I will forever maintain that science can not explain all, perception being one. I believe that Perception, like Beauty, is in the eye of those perceiving them. I think a good example of this is the story on the journalist who sent her image around the world . I don't think people should try to establish beauty as something that can be measured.

"People are like stained - glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Now i digress. From a philosophical point of view, I think it's dangerous to turn such a thing as beauty into a constant. Since beauty is perceptive, allowing society to turn it into a constant will ultimately succeed into turning reality into sameness. In turn, attempting to doing away with perception will have major Psychological and Sociological damages. People will struggle to meet the requirement of that which has been deemed beautiful. They will obsess on it. Spend countless amounts of money trying to alter their dimensions and features. Society will label those who don't meet these standards, they will separate themselves from them. They will only follow those who are appealing to the eye, regardless of use, intellect or experience. They will worship those who have been granted the consensus of beauty.........Oh wait, that has already happened.

"The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In conclusion. Society needs to deprogram itself from the accepted definition of beauty. Especially in regards to people. There should be clear understanding that anybody and everybody is beautiful to somebody therefore you should attempt to find the beauty in everyone.

Beauty is perception and perception is reality. Until we all accept the perception that everything in our reality is beautiful, there could never or should ever be a commonly accepted or scientific standard for it.

Don't be afraid . That ringing you hear in you ears is just a bit of