Beauty reconsidered: we need beauty to transform society.

by Margaret Ryland

We ended our discussion of beauty yesterday with some provocative (and potentially offensive) statements.

While it was not my intention to offend, I do want to offer a different perspective.

Utility and practicality are the supreme values for American society on the whole. Let’s change that.

We only use the family china on Easter or Thanksgiving; we spend two weeks out of the year in a beautiful place on vacation; we pull out our most beautiful clothes only for the occasional wedding.

However. We learned yesterday from Merriam-Webster that beauty “pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.”

So why do we reserve beauty for special occasions?

Now I’m not suggesting that we entirely throw practicality to the wind. When you mow the lawn, it makes sense to put on an old ratty pair of shoes.

There are times when a paper plate is just the ticket.

What I propose is that instead of being an afterthought, or something we reserve for special occasions, Beauty is a value that we use to guide our decisions in daily life.

I propose that—just like we write every day to expand our mind and change our life—we cultivate beauty everyday, to allow our mind to be regularly “exalted.”

Let’s use that china we received from our grandparents on a day this week, for no other reason than to celebrate and exalt our spirits with Beauty!

Let’s make beauty a factor in our decisions of what to wear this morning!

Let’s think about how we can make our surroundings more beautiful, instead of relying on a 2-week holiday for our annual dose of beauty!

Let’s reclaim beauty in everyday life.

Are you with me?