What is Beauty

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Beauty is a combination of form and proportion that brings us pleasure and that we can admire. The perception of beauty, however, varies between different cultures. Beauty is a balance between form and volume. Beauty produces in us an aesthetic feeling, an admiration, by pleasing the eye. Some people even claim that beauty is a visual phenomenon.

Beauty is a combination of qualities, such as form, proportion, the color of the human face (or other objects) that charm the gaze.

Over 200 years ago, David Hume (1711-1776), a Scottish philosopher, remarked,"Beauty is essentially a private and personal experience. Beauty is in the eye and mind of the beholder." He also said, "Beauty is not a quality of the thing itself but that which exists in the mind of those who contemplate it." Beauty is an individual emotion.

A few philosophers have concluded,"Beauty is good, and what is good, is beautiful."

A long time ago, the philosopher Sapphie said,"That which is beautiful is good and he who is good will soon become beautiful."

Our early experiences influence how we judge now. Particularly because beauty does not captivate through detail but through the whole, which is greater than the sum of the individual parts, our parents, partners, ex-

partners, wives and friends remind us of experiences. In the same way, our current experiences will affect our feelings of tomorrow. The happy and unhappy phases of our lives leave behind traces that shape our inclinations. Faces that we loved during our youth, which gave us warmth and security, live on in our thoughts.

Beauty does not only have to do with the face, the voice, the body or a charming appearance. A person is beautiful because of their character, their personality, their ability to feel joy and give pleasure to others, and their capacity for love.

If we like a face, we like the mood which that person conveys. A person can be attractive in many ways.

Beauty and charm are often confused. Cleopatra, George Sand, Louisa de la Valliere and Theodora were famous for their beauty. In truth, they were very beautiful but also had a lot of charm. Beauty is more an illusion than a reality.

Beauty exists not only for the eye but also for the mind.

A beautiful personality emphasizes the beauty of the face. There are numerous ways of defining beauty and it is often associated with charm. Charm, however, differs from beauty because it is permanent, whereas beauty fades. The English say,"Charm lasts! Beauty passes!" Ultimately, we can see that it is not only the eyes which judge whether someone is beautiful or not but the mind which plays a much greater role and judges the heart and inner beauty.

According to the American Sociologist Frumkin, a woman is judged in relation to her sexual charisma. Whether she is judged beautiful or not beautiful depends not only on the symmetry of her proportions but also on whether these attributes suggest potential sexual possibilities. The sensual emotion is then transformed into an aesthetic feeling.

Following these classic explanations, we can conclude that the perception of beauty differs among cultures and individuals and that it is not only a question of form and symmetry. A person's personality, charm and inner beauty play an important part in giving a person a pleasing image. The eyes alone do not make a judgment, but the head and the heart as well. The mind is influenced by our past experiences, which affect our judgment, just as our current experiences influence the future. One of Buddha's teachings tells us,"Today is the son of yesterday and the father of tomorrow." Beauty is like an iceberg; only one small part is visible.

Konrad Lorenz, Nobel Prize winner for Medicine and Physiology, has made a special contribution to our understanding of the biology of behavior. This has helped us to understand human beauty.

When someone feels drawn to a face, this is because the face has childlike features. Everyone instinctively feels attracted to a childlike face. The sight of a childlike face evokes an emotion that is automatically linked with a desire to protect. It is the same in both humans and animals. Konrad Lorenz explained this in the following terms: the desire to protect one's offspring is prompted by something which the offspring sends out, a physical peculiarity, a sound, a smell. It is the same in man. There are signals which provoke protective instincts, sympathy and tenderness. What are they, asks Konrad Lorenz? In infants, the signals come from the head. The roundness and fullness, the prominent forehead, the full cheeks, a small snub nose; all these infantile characteristics provoke a protective instinct. A child's face is associated with purity, friendliness, honesty, and vulnerability.

We know that women keep their curves, whereas men lose them. A good plastic surgeon should therefore ensure that during surgery he optimizes the characteristics which, as in a baby, provoke affection, tenderness, and a desire to protect.

Softness and roundness = tenderness.

Once again, to give the impression of beauty, it is of fundamental importance to be able to recognize childlike features in an adult's face. Features, however, are not the sole cause of the protective reflex; expressions are also important. These at least have the advantage that they are within the reach of everyone. A few people know how helpful expressions can be in getting someone to do something or in pleasing someone. The emotions which were elicited by Brigit Bardot's childlike features were helped particularly by her famous "spoilt child"-like pouting. Just as well known are the childlike expressions used, or abused, by Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. It has even been rumored that Marilyn Monroe deliberately made herself up badly to give the impression that she was a small girl who still did not know how to get ready properly and, even after long sessions at the hairdressers, immediately rumpled her hair to restore the disheveled appearance of a small girl who had just come in from playing. Men have no desire to protect women who do not have a childlike appearance and want to dominate men, and feel reminded more of their mother than their wife.

Women are more concerned with beauty than men and consciously or subconsciously display this childlike behavior. They are consciously or subconsciously shy, fragile, weak, innocent, naive, ignorant, temperamental, admiring, inquisitive, etc. A few women even emphasize weaknesses to trigger the protective instinct. Have I already mentioned that apparent weaknesses in women are also their strengths? All this to strike a man directly in his heart. Napoleon said, "Women's two weapons are make-up (the significance of this will be discussed later) and the tears of a small, helpless child."

It is easy to understand why childlike features in an adult can move someone, in the same way as freckles, full red cheeks, long eyelashes, blond curls, well-defined and full lips. Among men, as we can see in a few of the great sex symbols, the side parting (Clark Gable, Gary Cooper), an untidy mane of hair (Leonardo de Caprio) and daily shaving can only be explained as the desire for a childlike appearance. It is not necessary, however, to have all these attributes; one is usually sufficient.

Every individual can display childlike features at any time. As regards particular features, if someone does not have these, he or she can usually acquire them with the help of cosmetic surgery. Beauty is not merely a completely natural phenomenon; instead, it has been a cultural phenomenon for a long time and this is the case particularly in the present day. People try to improve themselves and women, to whom beauty is more important than it is to men (men tend to try to obtain power), try to improve their beauty and charm with make-up and accessories like spectacles, false eyelashes, earrings, hair styles, permanent make-up around the lips, eyelids and eyebrows, hats, necklaces and the invisible accessory, perfume. A few modern accessories have been developed by beauty professionals to disguise beauty defects, e.g., wide spectacle side pieces hide crow's feet, a high frame emphasizes the length of a nose that is too short and, conversely, a lower frame disguises a nose that is too long. All these strategies are discussed discreetly and in detail in women's magazines. An old proverb describes this perfectly: "Thirty percent of beauty is natural, seventy percent is created by vanity." The disadvantage of this resource is that it is not possible to look young and beautiful without it.

Make-up has always been around and if a face is to be beautified, it should be made to look natural and the face should resemble a young face. Lipstick, for example, creates the intense color of young red lips, which is a sign of a more rapid metabolism. Blusher is a reminder of childlike red cheeks and powder gives the face the pale, velvety skin of youth. Desmond Morris called this over-stimulation. Long false eyelashes remind us of the long eyelashes of children. If applied badly, however, make-up can also ruin the beauty of a face. It can be both friend and foe. In ethnological books, we can read that in former times, witches improved the appearance of sick people so that the relatives were not shocked when they saw them.

Childlike features and expressions are therefore important in provoking the protective instinct, but the voice should also be soft and pleasant, like a child's. A hard, metallic voice, such as smokers have, is not reminiscent of that of a child.

Clothing should be pleasing to the eye and mind and it should have a good cut. The mini skirt makes us think of the long legs of an adolescent. Colors remind us of childhood; light colors, like blue or pink, are always chosen by old women. Naturally, black should be avoided.

In conclusion, all human senses should be stimulated: sight, hearing, smell (children do not have a smell - thus we use deodorant) and touch. The firmness of the skin is also important.

Beauty institutes have understood this for a long time and enthusiastically apply it. Do we not read in women's magazines: ladies have beautiful breasts, a flat stomach and good legs, but are they also firm? The firmness and elasticity of tissue are fundamental qualities of a child's skin and a part of their beauty. Beauty is costly. It is easy for wealthy people to get jewelry and beauty accessories, but these are more difficult to acquire without money. This is one explanation of the popularity of aesthetic medicine and surgery among the less well-off and among those who cannot please merely with their natural gifts or with the artificial resources of the wealthy. As they are only able to please with their body, the less wealthy will more pay readily for an operation to remove acquired or existing supposed defects so that they can continue to be admired.

The idea of using the child formula is well known. The heart should be receptive to generosity, and this is used for reasons other than just noble ones. Thus, for example, a child's face next to the product in an advertisement increases sales and turnover. Whether these are medications or other products, if the consumers are sensitive, sales will increase.

Naturally, a way to the heart is sought but also, and predominantly, a way to the wallet. The child formula strategy is likewise used to direct public attention to countries in need, to collect donations, and to fight poverty and suffering. A begging child will always get more money than an adult. The Disney films, of which audiences are so fond, use ever smaller and ever more vulnerable animals; we always see the young mouse, the puppy or the fawn, never the fully grown animal. This also applies to toys. Usually, small animals and babies are used as dolls. As Saint Exu-pery said, "One can only see well with the heart."

It is also important to know that a physical defect also provokes a protective reflex. A few celebrated personalities and women involved in politics keep a slight squint, which could be easily corrected, to provoke this famous protective mechanism and thus strengthen their influence and power of persuasion. They do not want an operation. It is just as well known that if one part of the face is not perfect and other facial features are consciously highlighted, then the defect is less striking, as the eye is drawn to the emphasized features. If, for example, the eyes are beautiful and the nose is not, the eyes should be emphasized even more to disguise the unattractive nose. Make-up artists advise this even though they are not familiar with Konrad Lorenz's theories and nevertheless know how to beautify a face. A scar can deflect attention from the beauty of a face. To conceal public embarrassment, Passot says,"Give him a medal and he will be taken for a hero."

Similarly, make-up artists do not know about the Muller-Lyer illusion of two lines of equal length with arrows pointing in different directions at either end. Nevertheless, they know how to give eyes the appearance of being closer together, by applying make-up to the inner corner or, conversely, increasing the distance between the eyes by applying makeup to the outer corner.

The same applies to cheek bones in a face that is either too long or too short. Blusher is applied either further apart or closer together as appropriate.

Why be beautiful? The reasons suggested are pride, a desire to be admired and to be seen positively by others.

The cult of beauty is actually cultural. Humans are the only life form who do not accept their fate but try to improve it. Preserving beauty means improving the quality of life to beautify life. The progress of civilization in all areas has led to increased life expectancy. This does not seem to be sufficient; the quality of life must also be maintained and a life must be "beautiful" for longer. Some people say that medicine has given a few more years to life; aesthetic medicine and surgery have given life to these years.

Beauty and fashion are external signs of our inner need to express and redefine ourselves. Fashion is only a stylistic device in the work of art which is life.

Beauty does not last forever but everyone knows that, at the same time, beauty does not have an age. It is possible to look good at 20 but it is also possible to remain irresistible for an entire lifetime, as Coco Chanel has remarked.

Madame de Pompadour said,"The first requirement of a woman is to please." It is more and more difficult to fulfill this requirement with increasing age. This reminds me of an old woman who came to me and asked for a facelift. When I showed that I had little interest in performing this procedure because of her age, she said, in a quiet voice,"When one has ceased to please, one doesn't have to displease for long."

Ultimately, the desire to be beautiful is not a desire to be admired but a desire to be loved. In addition, this desire for love is ultimately the only thing that the followers of the cult of beauty want to communicate. Konrad Lorenz acknowledges this, "Everyone loves children and wants to protect them, this is hereditary." Can you resent someone for wanting to be like them in order to be loved more? There is no doubting this theory. We should remember that the plastic surgeon should reconstruct childlike features in his work, if this is possible and wanted, to provoke positive feelings and admiration. We recognize the link between beauty and admiration and the intense fluctuations of the spirit and the mind. Theodore Gautier summarized this well,"To admire is to love with the mind, to love is to admire with the heart."

Konrad Lorenz's theory is strengthened with details. To provoke a protective instinct, an adult's face must resemble that of a child; this is considered to be beautiful. The perception of beauty is subjective; the personality and qualities of the individual play a part. In those who experience this, this perception is influenced by earlier experiences.

Pierre F. Fournier, M.D. Honorary President of the French Society of the Aesthetic Surgery (National Society) Paris, France

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