Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Being and Beauty

Plotinus (204 – 270 CE) is considered to be the founder of Neo-Platonism. Taking his lead from his reading of Plato, Plotinus developed a complex spiritual cosmology. The depth of his understanding can be seen from the passage quoted below.

“Being is desirable because it is identical with beauty. And beauty is loved because it is being …………… We ourselves possess beauty when we are true to our being; ugliness is going to another order, knowing ourselves, we are beautiful, in self ignorance, we are ugly”. ……… Plotinus

I was moved by these words which are very simple yet it is full of wisdom.

In all creation nature bestows two key functions to the created entity; they are its individual function and second its relation to all that exists. The first attribute is intrinsic in nature while the second is holistic in quality.

Let us take as an example the human face. It has an intrinsic function of housing four of the five senses and in relationship forms part of the head which houses the one of the most important organ, the brain. So in reality a face in its being serves the supportive role for the senses and that is its beauty. The overall symmetry of placement of the sense organs, conforming to the Fibonacci ratio, is the aesthetic appeal to the beholder. But what do we do. The entire humanity driven by materialistic existence looks at the beauty of the face from its fairness, the size of the nose and ears, the colour of the eyes and the length of the lashes, evenness of the teeth and so on.
The whole fad of cosmetic laser treatment, botox treatment for removal facial wrinkles and plastic surgery for various corrections in the name beautification is what Plotinus calls ugliness through self ignorance.

Man has to learn from nature. We do not see social discrimination or rejection due to any non conformance of external attributes in primates or lower organism. It is an irony that the most highly evolved consciousness has become judgemental based on totally erroneous ground references. This is the ugliness that we humans in reality should experience and this experience should move us towards realising true beauty through desiring that which is its intrinsic nature and not that which we want it to be through our own false superimpositions. If this approach is applied on a universal scale then the cosmic beauty becomes our everyday experience.

Love to you all


  1. Dear Tib,
    I cannot but leave enhanced and elevated after reading these woderful contributions of yours. The two functions invested in the created entity, those of intrinsic and holistic has touched me deeply, especially the aweinspiring picture of the girl, says it all. Thank you so much, sir.

  2. Bhaskar,

    Thanks for your appreciation.