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Beauty Does Not Require an Opposite

  • Elliott
  • October 12, 2011
  • 1

Just because I live in a world defined by dualism, the rules which govern said dualism do not need to control my every experience.

I recently read this statement by Dr. Wayne Dyer in Change Your Thoughts- Change Your Life: “Has it ever occurred to you that beauty depends on something being identified as ugly? Therefore, the idea of beauty produces the idea of ugliness, and vice versa.”

This, of course, is not the first time that I have encountered this idea. In fact, I have written on the subject, several times, that naming anything automatically produces its opposite. Naming something as great only has meaning through comparing its relationship to that which is not great.

I am not sure I can totally agree with this when it comes to beauty, though. Number one, the idea of beauty is subjective, right? There is no Universal Agreement about what constitutes beauty. For example, I see a flower and I name it beautiful. Someone with a pollen allergy may only see a nuisance, seeing nothing beautiful about the flower.

Just for fun I did a search at stock exchange, a photo sharing site, for the keyword ugly. I found many images. Consider this picture of a witch. Many may agree that this is ugly, but what of the artist. He or she may consider this a thing of beauty. I certainly might if I had spent the time to create this art.

I understand the truth that naming something as beautiful creates that which is not beautiful by default, but what about the experience of beauty?

I do not believe that I need to have an idea of ugliness in order to experience beauty.

To define the experience as beautiful, I probably need a concept of what is not beautiful. The mind works that way. It needs opposites, gradient scales on which to categorize its dualistic terminology; but the heart experiences beauty, without comparing it to some idea of ugliness.

Immersed in beauty, the thinking self disappears, even if only for a moment.

So, I find myself disagreeing with the idea that beauty depends on ugliness. The mind’s definition of beauty may need a comparative tool, but the heart simply opens wider when in the presence of beauty.

When I sit and watch an incredible sunset, there are two ways to watch it:

one with the mind talking, analyzing, comparing, taking notes, and defining what is seen (i.e: naming it as incredible;-) This type of watching does demand contrasting points for comparison. The second way to watch the sunset is to lose my sense of separate self in the experience. The mind is quiet. No inner voice is saying “look at those reds; oh this is so much more amazing than yesterday, etc.” I just simply “Am” merged with the beauty.

To experience what the heart resonates with as “beauty” does not require agreement with what the mind defines as beautiful.

Beauty simply IS

The heart does not require comparative objects. In fact, I have often felt great beauty in a situation which my mind defined as less than attractive.

When we live, in this moment, we are living through the heart. The mind, that aspect of self which requires dualistic thinking, is a great tool, but it is best utilized as a servant of the heart, not as its imagined master.

1 comment

  1. I usually think about beauty only as the opposite of ugly. I do know that when I am in my heart, there is nothing but beauty and love. When I am not in my heart, you are so right that I put conditions on what I see. Looking at my first sentence here, the key word is “think” and not experience or feel. Would love to come more from my heart and less from my mind.

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