“Beauty addresses itself chiefly to sight; but there is a beauty for the hearing too, as in certain combinations of words and in all kinds of music, for melodies and cadences are beautiful; and minds that lift themselves above the realm of sense to a higher order are aware of beauty in the conduct of life, in actions, in character, in the pursuits of the intellect; and there is the beauty of the virtues. What loftier beauty there may be, yet, our argument will bring to light.

“What than is it that gives comeliness to material forms and draws the ear to the sweetness perceived in sounds, and what is the secret of the beauty there is in all that derives from the Soul? …

Almost everyone declares that the symmetry of parts towards each other and towards a whole, with, besides, a certain charm of color, constitutes the beauty recognized by the eye, that in visible things, as indeed in all else, universally, he beautiful thing is essentially symmetrical, patterned.” ~Plotinus

Rose1When you mention beauty, people naturally thing of visual beauty—that which seems attractive to the eye. But beauty can also be in other forms: beautiful music, beautiful poetry, even beautiful scents.

Plotinus comes to the conclusion that beautyPrettyBoy is a matter of symmetry. The attractive young man in the photo seems to fit that description. He has a handsome face that certainly seems to go well with his muscular and symmetrical body. A guy with a muscular body, but an ugly face would not be as attractive. Likewise, a guy with a handsome face, but a very out-of-shape body would not be attractive. The rose also seems to agree with the symmetry idea. If it was distorted, with some short petals and some much longer ones, it would not be attractive. But a stick-man is also symmetrical, yet not really beautiful. A stack of bricks can be symmetrical, yet not really beautiful. And the Castlefamous castle of Neuschwanstein is considered beautiful by most of us, yet the design is not symmetrical.

Certainly music is symmetrical, at least most of the time, but some sounds that are not may still be beautiful. I think that what we usually find attractive are the things which most closely follow the laws of nature and of God. Symmetry may be part of that, but it isn’t all. We may recognize a person who is very attractive physically as beautiful, even though that person is not so attractive on a spiritual level. So the person is not really symmetrical, yet beautiful. On the other hand, sometimes a person who is actually rather plain on the physical side, is very beautiful on the spiritual side. Most of us will consider that person beautiful, even though we often don’t know why. Of course, the most beautiful of all would be the person who is beautiful on both the physical and spiritual level. Still, the most important thing is to be a beautiful person on the spiritual level because the spiritual is more important and if we are not physically attractive, we have a limited ability to change our physical appearance, but we are usually not so limited in our ability to become a spiritually beautiful person.


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