There. I said it. For some reason I was lost for a while in an almost overwhelming desire to find everyone interesting but I’ve come to realize that there’s a difference between beauty and interest.
People ARE Beautiful
My thoughts on beauty could warrant a whole discussion itself. There are a lot of subtleties from beauty through scarcity (snow for a Floridian vs. snow for somebody in Alaska, as a potential example) to beauty through awe to so many other mechanisms. In all cases though I think they can be understood. After all to think something is beautiful is nothing but a reaction in the brain and the stimulation leading to that reaction can be – in theory – discovered and analyzed.
Of course, the most beautiful things are the ones where the theory is not so easy. The mundane becomes magical simply because we don’t know the why.
When it comes to people I think it suffices to say that the fact everyone is an individual is enough to make them beautiful. The sheer immensity of existence a single human being carries – a past, a future, dreams, hopes, pain, despair, joy, sorrow – makes a human life beautiful. Everything you find beautiful in your own life exists in another person’s life.
This is my take on people, anyway.
Beautiful =/= Interesting
The thing about beauty is that it can be understood.
Keep in mind that I am using “beauty” here in the manner I described it earlier. I’m sure there may be some subtleties of abstractness I am leaving out. And of course carry on to have a little bit more detail added to what I mean by “beauty” here.
Take this, for example:
World Rally Championship (WRC) is something I find beautiful and interesting. The beauty of it is something I could explain to you:
- pushing the limits of human skill and endurance
- scenic locations and conditions of racing
- cool cars and cool moves
Now my thought is that you may not be particularly interested in these specific traits but the core characteristics you can translate to another arena. Perhaps, for example, the adrenaline and pushing of skill and endurance is something you see in rock climbing. Or perhaps in dancing (if Dancing with the Stars has taught me anything, it’s that while people learn dance routines, they will fall often and also have emotional conflicts that are resolved conveniently for the final performance). Thus you can see that WRC is beautiful. That ain’t no guarantee you’ll find it interesting though. (Another example: I find NASCAR beautiful, but entirely uninteresting.)
That’s actually a good example I think. Let’s compare. Why do I find NASCAR beautiful?:
- pushing the limits of human skill and endurance
- cool cars and cool moves (I mean come on, drafting? That’s fluid mechanics right there!)
Still, I don’t find it interesting at all.
Perhaps a better example would be the Mona Lisa.
This piece of art is arguably universally accepted to be beautiful. You might be thinking, “But Benny, I think it’s interesting because of the things that make it beautiful!” I’d argue that’s just a semantics issue – what you’re calling “interesting” is what I’m calling “beauty.”
Frankly, while I can understand the subtle features of this work that people find alluring and the history behind it and all that jazz I’m just not interested in the Mona Lisa.
What IS interesting then?
Think of people you find superficially attractive. Now think of the subset of that you want to spend time with extensively (ideally on the order of marriage).
That’s the best analogy for the interplay between beauty and interest I have. Maybe.
There are some implications here. For something to be interesting it seems like it must be beautiful. In this world I’ve created where beauty does not equal interesting, it also goes hand in hand that without beauty there can no interest.
Let’s think for a second. Can something be interesting but not beautiful? In other words, could you want to marry a girl if she has no qualities you find beautiful? This goes deeper than the previous example with attractive people (and keep in mind I am using a male, heterosexual viewpoint – adjust for that as necessary in your own mind). Physical qualities certainly fall under qualities you find beautiful, but so does the ability to hold a conversation. In my mind I can think of many girls I can hold conversations with and I’m cognizant of the attractiveness of that quality. However, I am drawn to certain types of conversations more than others.
In short, in my world, to be interesting you must be beautiful but being beautiful does not mean you are interesting.
One note: I’m using interesting here in a much more “heavy” sense than just simply saying, “Oh, yeah that’s interesting” in a dismissive way. It may have been better to use the word “attractive” in this context but I prefer the word interesting. And we are talking about my perception after all.
Well, if it’s just my perception, what’s the big deal?
Ah so now you’re wondering what the whole point in all this talk was if I was just going to pull the whole, “Well, this is my perception so you can’t exactly disprove it” type argument.
Here’s the thing: that’s not entirely true. If you’re going to give me a better perspective according to what I want to achieve (happiness in particular) I will adjust my perception.
Similarly, if you have a less than perfect perception for what you want to achieve here is a way to think about it. Or a stepping stone to developing your own perception based on your needs.
You can be wrong though. Don’t hurt anyone else, for example.
In all actuality you and I probably have the same thoughts. I use the word “beauty” and “interesting” but as I briefly mentioned earlier, especially with the latter, it’s the wording I use. You may be using different words for the same idea. Take a minute to think about that so we don’t get into any needless debate, though I would certainly be curious to see what words you use.
The Point of All of This
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! You get to find out what I’m trying to say.
The core of the thought process here is that understanding your instinctive drives will help you work with it and change it as necessary. Beauty is defined by society, but what you find interesting is personal.
The distinction offers two notable benefits:
- You can accept others’ points of views based on the idea that what they find interesting and what you find interesting are both beautiful, and you can compare the interests to find the core beauty values that link them.
- You can understand why you find things interesting and make informed decisions about pursuing interests of all sorts.
So basically I’m saying you can be a better person than you are now. If you aren’t already doing this, you should be in some form. And if you are, increase your awareness of it and keep developing. Maybe we can come to an even better paradigm in the future.
What is the problem? I don’t know what to do!
Life is good. If you see me nitpicking at aspects of my life don’t think otherwise. I’m fully cognizant of fortune I have been bestowed. However I am not one to remain content because I would rather work to improve rather than stagnate.
To that extent it’s unclear as to which direction I should proceed. My commitments include my job as an engineer, my membership of the band Sonic Groove, and tutoring a high school student in Geo/Trig. My desires are diverse and include learning to draw, continuing to write more pieces, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. If I’m more focused I can efficiently direct the energy I have into a few things. However, with a diverse set of interests and commitments I am starting to feel stretched thin and unsure of which ones to focus on.
Questions of the status quo aside (why do we need a job anyway?), the inability to decide for sure what to pursue starts to take its toll and I’m noticing it crop up as idleness. Do I want to accomplish more goals in the video game, try to cook a new dish, or clean up the kitchen? All three are useful and/or desirable to me. If I try to do all three not much gets done in each category. I could focus on one but then what happens to the others? I can’t choose and end up sitting around doing nothing as a result.
How am I trying to solve it? Well, this is a start…
To really figure out what I want to do I need to find some time to take a step back and put myself in an entirely new context for perspective. Thanksgiving is coming up and the days off it affords will hopefully give me a chance to do that. There’s also this – as I mentioned before in my musings about what blogging does for me, writing and trying to convey my thoughts is a catalyst for understanding what’s going on in my head.
I have a sneaking suspicion that while most of my life is going well there are certain aspects that I’m struggling with and that looms over the good parts. For example, making friends in the “real world” is difficult and the social void is a drain of energy.
Another drain is trying to cater to an audience that likely doesn’t exist. I came into this blog with the idea of becoming successful at some point. I tried to mimic what the popular blogs did. You know what? That’s just not me. While there’s definitely room for development, change, and growth… the way most popular blogs just work is not something that works for me.
And thus, my personality comes out.
I need to nurture the parts of me that give me energy. If I’m going to keep writing in the blog, it needs to be what I think. This isn’t my job, so I’m not going to treat it like it.
What exactly does that mean? Well you’ll probably start seeing my analytical side come out more. I sit and think a lot. You’ll also see some of my rougher edges. For example, there are a lot of things in this world that just piss me off, as you may have gotten a glimpse of when I ranted about drivers in Salem. To be frank at this rate a lot of my posts will probably come off as angry.
Of course, the other thing you could see is engineering. I tend to suppress that because it’s not “cool” to talk about it. But you know… it’s me. And if it doesn’t fly with somebody reading it’s no skin off my shoulders.
And yet a part of me yearns for popularity, for fame, for everything that could be considered superficial indicators of success. My humanity can’t be contained in the confines of any of my life circumstances. I dream big, I crave big, I need more! More more more! But what exactly do I want?
This is where I sigh. And then sigh again.
This may be a problem common to all drivers in Virginia, or perhaps even the whole United States but it is FRUSTRATING and more importantly DANGEROUS.
STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE!
Far too often while going around blind curves have I encountered an oncoming vehicle encroaching my lane (going in the opposite direction) by a foot or so, jerking back into the proper lane at the last minute to avoid a collision.
Have you perchance seen the colorful lines on the road?:
They are not there for decoration. They are not rough guidelines. They are not a waste of time.
When you see lanes marked clearly like that you stay in your own lane! I know the sky can be pretty or there’s an attractive person walking on the sidewalk or you have an important call to make but none of that justifies risking your life and the lives of others.
Listen, if you’re in my lane, there’s not much I can do short of driving off the road into a sign or a building to avoid hitting you. And I’ll be honest I don’t want to wreck my car.
I also don’t want to see you hit that truck coming around the bend because you didn’t see it and you were also halfway into the wrong lane.
Please pay attention to where you are driving and make sure you stay in your own lane. I am putting my faith in you just as you are putting your faith in me so don’t let me down. I am trusting you with my life, so this is pretty damn important.
It’s really not that hard.