When I was studying for my Masters in Marine Biology up in Aberdeen we were asked as a class to fill out a personality test as part of our careers guidance. We were tested on our values leading to three ultimate values being identified and, presumably, our ideal career would emerge. Most people came out with things that you would expect from a bunch of science graduates around measuring the world, attention to detail and so on. My number one passion came up as 'ascetic beauty'. I got a few weird looks.
But beauty has always
been really important to me. Not really in the sense of perusing
physical beauty (though to me make up has always been art and where
better to make art that on your own face?!) but in that the
experience of perceiving beauty has always been one that has drawn me
to consider a deeper reality than what is right in front of me.
Beauty for me has always been a sign post, an emotional guide mark,
towards this deeper reality. What makes us find something compelling
and wonderful? What makes us feel grateful in front of a gorgeous
sunset or a best friend's smile? What is it in us that renders us
speechless before nature or makes us consider something beautiful at
But none of those
elements really sum up the beauty of it. Like any experience of
beauty it is hard to put your finger on what is drawing you in. I
just know that I love it and that it transports me somewhere new and
wonderful. That it grips me somewhere that my head can't really
understand. Perhaps that is what beauty is, then. An experience that
hints at and reminds us of our depth and complexity as human beings.
Bringing us back to the deep tug in our human nature towards
everything that is good and pure and right. That, I guess, is why
beauty means so much to me and why noticing it and celebrating it is
an important part of who I am.
How about you? What do
you think? What is beauty?