II. Beauty & Bane

Men are motivated to seek pleasure and avoid pain[1]. Hence the common tendency to choose form over function and become obsessed with the luxuries and pleasures that comes with a beautiful life.

A beautiful life may mean a different thing to a different individual. The owl thinks her own young fairest[2] and beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder[3]. Of the many forms that beauty may come, beware of a fortunate inheritance, a life without toil and a fair face.

A pretty face is often coupled with a poor fate[4]. Beauty’s sister is vanity, and its daughter lust. The vision of beauty invokes a consuming passion and a burning desire that brings ruin to all parties contending for it[5].

A thing of beauty is never a joy forever[6]. For beauty is but a blossom and it fades like a flower. The fairest flowers the soonest shall fade and even the fairest of roses at last is withered.

Beauty is the bane of almost all men. Although beauty is only skin-deep and only one layer, men would continuously seek her with an undying will. And even if no one can live on beauty, many are willing to die for it.

A life without tragedy would be unworthy of a man[7]. Only with great challenges can there be great responses to overcome difficulty. The feeling of stagnation comes from living in a world of beauty for far too long.

Complacency and decadence arise from the obsessive pursuit of beauty in all its forms. The wise man seeks not pleasure, but the freedom from care and pain[8]. That which does not kill us makes us stronger[9].

Appearances are deceptive and things are not always what they seem. All that glitters is not gold; beware the bait that hides the hook. For beauty and folly often goes in company.


[1] A saying attributed to Aristotle.

[2] An allusion to one of the fables attributed to Aesop (6th century BC).

[3] A sentiment that has been traced back to the Greek poet Theocritus (3rd century BC).

[4] A Chinese proverb with reference to the four beauties of ancient China.

[5] With reference to the Trojan War.

[6] Adapted from the first line of Keat’s poem Endymion (1818).

[7] Attributed to the philosophy of Schopenhauer.

[8] A saying attributed to Aristotle.

[9] A saying attributed to Friedrich Nietzsche.

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