Fake tans, fake nose, hair extensions, plastic nails, plastic boobs, porcelain teeth, colored contacts, tuck, suck. And a side of antidepressants. We have an interesting culture.
A friend kindly pointed out:
Cosmetic enhancement – people act as if this is new. It’s not. The technology has simply caught up with ambitions thousands of years old. Every culture and group within the culture, and even some daring self-making individuals, have their standard of mental and physical beauty/health. We are becoming more of what we’ve been, and in some cases, better for it.
Although I’m fully aware of this tradition of body modification as a means to express individuality, or to endorse cultural practices through symbolic body alteration, my issue lies in the motives. So, to his response, I ask “What is it that we’ve been? Is it a good thing that we’re becoming more of it? What makes you think that where we’re going is good? Do you think there is unhealthy self-expression?”
I take issue with is the glorification of appearances. I have no issues with any form of self expression so long it’s authentic and not the result of some implanted societal neurosis. To each his own. The idealist in me wishes society placed more emphasis on the inner life rather than on the outer. The physical fades. A sound mind and character are more enduring and reliable. I get it, our society values appearances. But, save the asthetic value, appearances don’t improve society. They make it more carnal and superficial. If you need to look good by societies standards to have self worth or feel good about yourself, go for it. But i don’t think that’s a lasting fix. If you’re doing it for yourself, go for it. If it’s for others, good luck pleasing the fickle masses. But again, I get it: we’re sexual creatures motivated by desire and passion, rather than reason and good will. I recognize we’re social creatures. I recognize that we navigate our world by sight. But I believe sight is a poor, misleading guide. Most people look alive on the outside but they are virtually dead on the inside. We use our sight to discern between friends and foes, to identify the familiar and unfamiliar. It allows us to pass judgement on things without really engaging and experiencing with them. It’s a cheap and empty way to make value judgements about the world. That’s my take. I’m just as guilty as the next. I don’t think I’m right, or wrong, that’s just my current sentiment.
I know I cant escape my cultural conditioning. I know I’m inclined to like what I’ve been raised to believe is valuable and beautiful. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I needn’t worry about what society makes of my wife so long as I love her.
At base, I believe that civilization is a disease.
Culture is a product of civilization’s fabricated demands. There’s nothing natural about civilization. It is a result of this will to power, this will to be a prosthetic god, to impose influence, to rule over our world. What need is there to self-express to yourself? We self-express for others. It seems that way anyway. It’s a product of competition to stand out, to be an individual. When you have yourself and you are content and full within yourself, what need is there to self express? Music can be good. Passions can be good. At least when they are cathartic or inspired. What standard is man. What is culture? It’s a a fabricated environment. In nature, there are natural demands. In civilization, there is culture. Nature is niether good nor bad. How then could be culture be good or bad?
Culture is artificial demands. They are foreign. Are they natural? Vanity? Insecurity? Yielding to cultural expectations and demands?
Cosmetic enhancement: being someone you’re not? or being someone you really are but couldn’t otherwise be?
I suppose in a society that prizes such superficial perfection you can’t expect anyone to settle for anything less. So would I marry a short haired hodgey podgey little woman? In another time and another place.
Internal man vs external man
Eating disorder/Obesity vs cosmetic surgery: underlying issue?
What if obesity was beautiful? Till it was unhealthy? To each his own? Until what? We’re footing the health care bill with our taxes?