People Are Boring
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.