Wednesday, February 9

The Blind Eye Of The Beholder

People are constantly telling me how there is no such thing as "an ugly person"[1]. I can't deny that we each have our individual tastes, and where I consider Katie to be buff in a can, the next man on the street may not.

But we've all met people we wouldn't consider beautiful. Whether they're the secretary of your Sixth Form many many years ago (and I know that there are some people here for whom that's the case), someone you passed on the street or some guy you were reading about in the paper this morning, I'd say you'd either be lying or a total recluse if you denied this fact.

It follows that there are people who no one would consider beautiful. So at the very least we can establish that, personality aside, there are ugly people out there. What I want to talk about today is how some people claim that this quality can change depending on who's doing the looking.

The argument goes something like this: "It's what's inside that counts. Once you know what the person is really like, they'll appear beautiful to you". Surprisingly, proponents of this "Eye of the Beholder" theory reckon that exhibiting this behavior makes them noble and decent. I disagree: I think it makes them shallow.

Yeh, it's a wild claim, but you should all be used to that by now. Firstly it's pretty clear that the appearance of the subject in question hasn't changed (and we're assuming there's been no plastic surgery or any other major physical alteration here). If you've found someone suddenly physically appealing whom you didn't before, then obviously it's your perception of them that has changed, not their appearance.

Everyone seems to agree on this point. "Ain't nothing wrong with that" they say. "People grow on you, and besides it's ok to find someone physically as well as personality-wise attractive". And I'd agree - of course it is. But then I'd ask: "Would you still be with this person if you didn't find them physically attractive anymore?". Now some find that a bizarre question to be asked, but it isn't really once we recall that before they knew this particular person, they thought that they were exactly that.

Still following? Ok, let's now consider a person who is in love with another's personality but is still able to describe them as ugly (and believe me there are people like this out there). These are the people for whom their partner's insides override anything they may (personally and subjectively) think of their partner's physical appearance. These are the people for whom looks truly don't matter. These people are not shallow with respect to physical appearance.

Perhaps I'm not taking the phrase as literally as I should be. Perhaps all it actually means is that we all have different tastes? But then why does this Beholder person need convincing or assurances (even if it's themselves they're trying to convince) that the person they love are physically beautiful? Why do they feel that they have to find the people they love beautiful, when they didn't before?

It's because they're shallow, I'm afraid. At the end of the day they'd never be able to live with someone they considered ugly and so on some level they have to convince themselves that they aren't, even if they vehemently did so before.

We wouldn't call a dim person clever just because we have the hots for them. Or a poor person rich. Or a fat person thin. Sure these qualities may be more objective than physical looks (although that's arguable in itself), but as we established above it's the perceptions that change, not actual physical appearances. An ugly person may be the sweetest person alive, but they'd still be ugly.

Oh and please don't get me wrong. I'd be the last person to claim that I wasn't shallow. Like yeh, right. But what I am is honest enough not to lie to myself like a Beholder would.

EDIT: Zahera's second comment (fourth in total) does a good job of explaining quite concisely what I was trying to say above. It may be worth checking out.

[1] For the sake of this post let's assume ugly is synonymous with "not beautiful". It's easier to type.

14 comments:

  1. if ("Beholder person need convincing or assurances (even if it's themselves they're trying to convince) that the person they love are physically beautiful)

    then beholder = shallow.

    and thats it.

    but imo, YOU cant fairly conclude "But what I am is honest enough not to lie to myself like a Beholder would."

    you kinda feel quite strongly about this, dont you? because this isnt the first time ive seen you discuss this. i just hope you find a "beholder" you can talk it out with. and have him/her explain what they feel and why. maybe it might not be enough to convince you that they arent lying to themselves?

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  2. >>Perhaps I'm not taking the phrase as literally as I should be. Perhaps all it actually means is that we all have different tastes?

    yeh i'd say those two lines pretty much summed it all up well. I dont think you shoudl go around making claims about how other people feel or think. Maybe you need to try and accept that people do think differently to you, it doesnt necessarly mean they are lying to themselves and are wrong! I can see where youre coming from and maybe agree with a few of your points, but ultimately don't assume that people do need assurances, maybe they are simply happy the way they are and how they find others.

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  3. you love going round in circles esp on this topic.

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  4. I sincerely apologise to my dear friend shaks, for goinhg off on one without really understanding his point (partly his fault too ofcourse! i tell you he thinks too much)! A tip for you guys, read his longgg blogs slowly and aloud! might help explain what he really means.
    Infact now that i have understood his blog i see his point. For all you simpletons out there (like myself) basically all he is saying is that you cant make someone in to something theyre not.

    Soooo ugly (absolutely hate that word but anyway) person... lovelyyy personality, 'beholder' falls in love with the person still doesnt think the ugly person is good looking, therefore why does he/she need convincing (maybe convince themselves-- this is ofcourse the point some of you are argueing, that maybe theyre not convincing themselves and the phrase should be taken literally), that the person is better looking, when initially they didnt think so anyway! why cant they just accept that this person is not so good looking but it doesnt matter cos you love their personality? Concluding that ultimately the one needing convincing is shallow. :-)

    Make sense people?

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  5. Zahera are you spammys dictionary?

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  6. zahera,

    >>all he is saying is that you cant make someone in to something theyre not.

    ok. er yes. and if you try doing that, your shallow? is that essentially what his blog is all about?


    in your (admirable) quest to understand spammy...i think you forget that after reading his blog in the first place, did i leave a comment...i do think(and iwill reiterate) if one needs convincing that someone is good looking(when in fact they arent) is kinda shallow. and im sure we all er...comprehend that?

    so whats the big deal here?

    (anyway aplogies for getting all defensive. and after thinking about it now, your reply may not even have been to me, but what the hell - its good for the post count)

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  7. eeehhh sofia baby.. the post wasnt even directed to you! i was apologising to shaks for misunderstanding! gawddd people get soo defensive so quickly! and as for being on a quest to understand him.. sorry to disappoint sweety pie, i dont have the time and energy to bother with that :-)

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  8. lol. ok coolio. sorry for jumping the gun. mwah

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  9. no probs hun bun! he's gona hate this on his blog but what the hell! love you toooooo :-)) and sanny.. his dictionary? pfftt he taught me how to spell YOU'RE! :-D lollll

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  10. man, we should have our family conference on MY blog.

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  11. >>his dictionary? pfftt he taught me how to spell YOU'RE! :-D lollll

    yeh, fluffs. stop getting jealous........

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  12. >>his dictionary? pfftt he taught me how to spell YOU'RE! :-D lollll

    LOL.. he taught me tooo.. shaksy you should be a teacher

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  13. hi shak!! thanks for dropping by my blog.

    I am in fact quite excited about this post of yours. You touched the issue from an angle that I didn't quite fathom, which I found works very well and is engaging.

    The line that really woke me up (yeh it's 8 AM here heh) is:
    "proponents of this "Eye of the Beholder" theory reckon that exhibiting this behavior makes them noble and decent. I disagree: I think it makes them shallow."

    I agree with you but before today, I wouldn't have acknowledged that cuz I wouldn't have given it a thought. So, thanks.

    Accepting someone after letting him/her GROW on you is indeed shallow, like you mentioned, but you went on to say that you know people who let 'their partner's insides override anything they may' ... and to these people, 'looks truly don't matter and they are not shallow'. That, I figured, was a bit contradictory, don't you think?

    What is the difference between the two? From what I perceive (though it is not clear in the write up), I think you mean that the latter group never cared for looks from the day 1 that they were in love whilst the former did until they let their partner/the ugly person "grow" on them. Yeh?!

    My personal belief: if you have to consciously make your partner's "insides override" something as crucial as looks, the relationship is really not worth the time and energy

    .... but, yes, if the insides were the only thing that always mattered to you, then you are my god! hehe

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  14. hmmm...
    heres a theory
    to be a perfect person one has to be at a particular level in various fields...or have a list of certain factors required for being wanted/impressed by all in society.

    eg: someone (A) is in love with another (B)
    B had interesting looks by way of facial beauty.ok hair.overweight. not so intellectual.overall...hmm a 5 out of 10 on the social perfectometer.

    A loves B very much despite the fact that B is lacking in certain socially valuable factors.

    A says that B is the most beautiful individual in the world...despite being aware of Bs deficiencies.

    perhaps B fulfils certains needs (no pun intended) of As life...maybe B completes A. maybe A feels that all those other lacking factors are made up for simply because B is B.
    if this is the case, Bs appearance does not have to have evolved into an icon of goodlookingness.
    also when you love something/one enough you like things accociated with it..im pretty sure the things looks are one of those things.

    like how i loved my drawing teacher when i was little.... cos i liked drawing..in retrospect she was a little lady who distributed papers, wrote a topic for us to draw on the board and read a book quietly during the rest of the period.
    yet i was a huge fan of hers.

    sooo...it could just be a case of A loving the entire B package..

    shit..:|.....i need sleep.

    goodnight.

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