EWW! That’s Beautiful
Wearing my Atheist hat, I wanted to tell the folks who hold out beauty as proof their deity (or pantheon) of choice exist: I understand. I personally think it’s a silly ego-driven argument, but I get where you’re coming from.
When I watched Old Faithful erupt and the Yellowstone Falls cascading majestically over ancient stone, I was overwhelmed, filled with awe and… words fail. They always do with these things. They make you feel small and surrounded in a good way, a womblike way, a way that makes you think that, despite what I thought yesterday in traffic re: how much things suck, the universe is a pretty OK place to be in. A moment of feeling like a secure child, gawping at the wonder of it all without a worry in the world… some take a moment of idealized childlike feeling as sure proof that there is a father-figure, a mother-figure up there somewhere hugging you RIGHT NOW.
Beauty like that is proof that I think it is beautiful. Look again up above, at that ugly-ass bear-thing. Were you wondering what it was doing up there, drooling all over those beautiful images I was talking about? Did you ask what those beady eyes, wrinkly forehead, gaping mouth and floppy, faintly obscene tongue have to do with a sense of wonder?
That thing’s cubs think it is the most awesome, beautiful thing in the world. That fugly face makes them feel small and surrounded in a good way, a safe and happy way. Its mate thinks it is a vision of loveliness, an avatar of desirability.
I think its ugly. It does not inspire me to feel enfolded in the loving arms of a great and awesome universe. But if I stepped outside my notions of what beauty should be for a moment, it might.
It’s all in our heads, specifically in our egos. Look at it again, like a child, like a… whatever the hell that thing is. Isn’t it beautiful now? No? Well.. keep looking. Because it really is. Its cub says so.