Alternating Beauty

Yesterday I met an interesting young woman. Trying to grasp who she was my conception of her changed throughout the evening and the night and sometimes I found her incredibly beautiful and attractive and only a bit later almost ugly. How could that be?

One reason for that extreme change was simply the lighting and my perspective on her face, but I believe the strongest influence on my perception was how whatever she said in our conversation changed the image I had of her.

During one part of the evening, for example, she started talking about an idea that had come to her over the years. That was that one important mission we have in life is to learn to appreciate people for whatever they do. When we see someone do something that we feel ashamed of of uneasy with we should try to see the beauty in it rather than guarding ourselves against it and thinking that we will never do that.

And as we do this, we may coincidentally just expand our own repertoire of action and our identity and become more at ease in our lives.

I found that idea very beautiful because it leads to more inclusiveness both towards other people as to ourselves. So while she was outlining this idea, I looked at her face and found her very beautiful.

But then, whenever the conversation turned into one of her monologues and it became hard to follow her thoughts and it seemed as if they were rather chaotic and she was more drunk than I had expected, suddenly that chaos and drunkenness also seemed to project onto her face and she turned from being very beautiful to being almost ugly.

This is something I have experienced before, but rarely so strongly, so this was quite interesting. Beauty is, at least for me, not simply an attribute to an external surface, to a static face, but rather a condensed emotional impression that projects onto that surface, and it can seem as if the face itself is changing, but of course its basic features aren't changing. The shape of a skull doesn't change from a minute to another, but it really seems to do so.