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Sushuri Novaryana

May 21, 05 - 9:08 AM
Can Ugliness be Beauty?

A small group of us was discussing beauty at the Embassy last night. To the younger pupil in the group, I was explaining the very basic idea of the two theories of beauty:

The modernist theory is that beauty is merely a subjective perception. A rose is not objectively beautiful. It does not possess a real quality known as "beauty". It is simply that (some) human beings happen to find it attractive.

The traditional view is that beauty is an objective quality. A rose is beautiful because it reflects the Essential or Archetypal Rose. Ultimately it, and all beautiful things, are beautiful because they participate in the Beauty of Dea. Beauty on earth is a "signature" of relative perfection.

This pupil then mentioned that many bongos claim to consider ugly things beautiful. She said that when she was working in a bookshop she handled many books of "artistic" photographs which were full of studies of low and ugly elements of bongo urban life. These, while admittedly ugly, a certain form of type-3 claims to consider "beautiful" because they are "more real" than traditional art.

Leaving aside the rather peculiar definition of "real", I was inclined to say that this was simply a misuse of the term "beauty". Saying "an ugly thing can be beautiful because it is real" is like saying "a red thing can be blue because it is triangular".

But then I realised that, in saying that, I was speaking from within the traditional understanding of beauty. I was assuming that the word beauty has a real meaning.

If, on the other hand, beauty is purely subjective, as the modern theory demands, then the word "beauty" simply means "what attracts me". There have always been people who were drawn to the darkness and attracted by the ugly. They used to be a very small minority.

If the word "diamond" means the very specific precious stone which we call a diamond, then to say a brick is a diamond is nonsense. But if "diamond" means simply "a stone thing I like" then, if you like bricks, a brick is a diamond.

According to her modernist (late-Rajasic) definition of "beauty" the post-modernist (early Tamasic) lover of ugliness is perfectly logical in defining it as "beautiful"

May 21st, 2005 - 12:36 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

Surely the saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is not a particularly recent one? And since everything that exists necessarily participates in the Divine, a certain aspect of it must be beautiful, if one can only see it
Sushuri Novaryana

May 21st, 2005 - 1:12 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

Certainly it is not a recent saying - but then neither is the Rajasic point of view recent. Generally speaking, however, the saying used to mean that one who loves a thing or a person will see her inner beauty. A mother with a disfigured chld, for example, will see her as beautiful, because she loves her and sees through the marred exterior to the beautiful soul within. A brunette in love with an ill-favoured blonde will see her as beautiful, because she sees in her the Archetype of beautiful femininity which her external body manifests imperfectly; and ultimately she sees in her the divine Spirit which is the true Self in us all.

None of this is to deny that beauty and ugliness are objective phenomena which we, as human beings, are created to understand and to feel, and which have a fundamental spiritual meaning - and that deliberately inverting our perceptions, not from love (which raises the matter onto a higher plane) but from perversity, is one of the more dangerous things a soul can do.

May 21st, 2005 - 2:58 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

Dear Sushuri Novaryana,

can one come to the stage of seeing things in their archtypal forms? And if so, how does that come about?

I see also, that our tastes for beauty are educated by the society we are brought up in, how do we uneducate them?
Sushuri Novaryana

May 22nd, 2005 - 7:24 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

Well, Suzanna, in the famous parable of the Cave, Plato speaks of those who see the shadows on the wall of the cave (material things) and those who have seen the real things that cast the shadows (the Archetypes). Here, I think, we are speaking of Realised Souls - those who have advanced to some degree of contemplative Intellectual Vision*.

For the traditional artist, contemplation was an important part of the work. Attempting to see the reality that underlies the thing to be depicted.

In this Age, I think this is rather difficult for most of us. William Blake wrote:

When the Sun rises do you not see a round Disk of fire somewhat like a Guinea? O no no I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty.

But he was unusual in his day, and that was two centuries ago.

I think though that it is a good exercise to look at a rose and try to realise what it really is - a reflection of our Mother, and of Sai Sushuri (or Venus); to think of the Sun and realise that she is the Supernal Sun in material garb, the one Light of the Universe; the Heart of being.

We have been so conditioned by the material way of looking at things, that just contemplating their deeper reality can begin to open our eyes a little.

May 22nd, 2005 - 10:11 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

I am interested in philosophy and would be interested to know what the "rather peculiar description of real" was, as I am trying to follow your points about beauty and modern people thinking ugly things are beautiful.

I sometimes think some things are more "real" than others, but I would be interested to know what you think is "real".

Sorry if this is not very clear! I am not used to speaking to people in this way.

There are many interesting things in this place, but some are a little confusing for me.
Sushuri Novaryana

May 23rd, 2005 - 12:03 AM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

The "rather peculiar definition of real" was a reference to the statement that scenes of urban ugliness - like overflowing dustbins - are beautiful because they are real. This sort of thing is said by people who regard such scenes as "art".

It is peculiar in the first place because there would seem to be no reason why a dustbin is any more "real" than a rose. The use of the expression "realism" in art often seems to associate the low and ugly with the "real", as if beautiful things were somehow "unreal".

Are some things more real than others? According to the normal modernist definition of reality this would seem to be a nonsense. If a thing exists, it is real. If it doesn't (if, say, it is imaginary) it is not real. Materialism cannot admit any degrees of reality between fully-real and wholly-non-existent.

To a traditional mind, since the reality of things derives from their Archetypes, it could be said in one sense that things that correspond more perfectly to their Archetypes are more real than things that do not. This would amount in most cases to saying that beautiful things are more real than ugly ones.

As so often, we have three perspectives: the Sattwic (or traditional), which says that beuatiful things are more real than ugly ones; the Rajasic (modernist or materialist) which says that all existing things are equally real; and the Tamasic (inverted or post-modernist) which says that ugly things are more real than beautiful things. And, as always, the Tamasic is the precise reverse of the Sattwic.

Thus, as always, the inversionist, or post-modernist, mentality, while imagining itself to be original and "quirky", is simply conforming to metaphysical law and manifesting the Tamasic tendency with precise accuracy.
Sushuri Novaryana

May 26th, 2005 - 9:36 AM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

The following two entries from the Aristasian Spirituality Group may be of interest to those who have been following this discussion:

The discussion on beauty and ugliness, I had on my mind for the last days.

It is such a fundamental theme, because beauty is nourishing our souls and uplifting our minds.

Another aspect of the nature of beauty seems also very important to me: a beautiful thing is a harmonic thing. This can be ilustrated very well with architecture. If a building is harmonic in size, form and decoration we consider it beautiful and while looking at it we are satisfied. It might be a simple cottage or a mighty cathedral that is secondary, if it is harmonic it is beautifull. Before the age of LeCorbusier, even factory halls, brewery buildings and the like were beautiful buildings and a pleasure for the eye.

But Harmony is not only the basis of beauty it is also the basis of goodness: harmonic relations are good relations etc. Maybe Harmony would be the apropriate ranslation for the sanscrit word Dharma.


"Harmony" is a very usual translation of the Aristasian word thame, which is probably the nearest equivalent to dharma.

I remember, when I was young, putting my finger on a gramophone record while it was playing to make it slow down and "wow". A grown-up told me it was sinful.

"Annoying, I said pertly, "but not sinful."

"It is a sin against Thame," she replied.

Sai Thame, the Janya, or angel, rules both royalty and authority, and also music. It is interesting to compare the traditional meaning of the word "jovial" (belonging to Jupiter). Today it is trivialised into meaning simply "merry" or "jocular", but originally it had more to do with the joy of pomp and ceremony and high festivals and royal occasions (cf. C.S. Lewis The Discarded Image).

The association of royalty, rule and harmony may seem strange to the modern mind, for which government is based on the very principle of discord (the "party system" is designed to ensure permanent opposition to any government. The word "party" comes from "part" in the sense of "separate") and "politics" is almost a synonym for "argument" or "disagreement". In the traditional world, however, government is, at least in theory, the ordering of society in accorance with the harmony of the Golden Order.

These considerations also show why Jupiter/Thame was known as the Great Benefic.

May 26th, 2005 - 1:00 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

I can understand harmony in terms of music; that certain vibrations accord with each other, and others clash. Also, with colours. And from what I have been reading about the jayanti, it seems this has something to do with the characteristics of the jayanti. I wonder if there is a similar "science", when it comes to architecture? Are there known proportions and dimensions which are harmonious, or does the designer just work according to instinct?
Isabel Trent

May 26th, 2005 - 2:16 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

Yes, Suzanna, there is a science of architectural harmony!

I submit for your consideration the Golden Number -- the Golden Section, the Golden Mean, the Golden Ratio, the Divine Proportion, and probably half a dozen other names I don't recall. It is the number 1.618, named phi by the Greeks who "discovered" it, although there is evidence of it in the metre of Sanskrit poetry written long before it was used to design the Parthenon.

It is one of the most basic building-blocks from which Dea constructed the universe. You can see it in the honeycombs within the hive and the spiral of the nautilus shell, and in paintings by Renaissance masters such as Leonardo da Vinci and my own favourite, Piero della Francesca. A girl's face comes closest to phi when she smiles, and that is when she is loveliest. Thus phi is really the only number with which most Aristasian blondes are willing to make friends!

May 26th, 2005 - 5:37 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

Well, well, what d'ye know! Thank you Isabel.

This is something I have wondered about for years, but know one I have asked could tell me why exactly Georgian buildings for eg. are so satisying to look at and why exactly others look so wrong.

How wonderful it all is; one can only conclude that there must be a God!

Well, I cannot tarry, I must hasten away to study the golden mean.

May 26th, 2005 - 11:12 PM
Re: Can Ugliness be Beauty?

Following the remarks on the word "jovial", one might make a further observation.

In modern Tellurian language, the adjectives of Janyatic (or planetary) qualities have had the following fates:

"Jovial" (Jupiter) has been trivialised, as mentioned above. "Mercurial" (Mercury) is also trivialised, referring only to the lower "playful" element of Sai Mati, not to her wisdom. "Saturnine" (Saturn) is scarcely recognised by most modern people. "Venerial" (Venus) now has highly distasteful connotations, being almost exclusively associated with disease. However "martial" (Mars) still retains nearly all its original character and connotation.

Is this not precisely what one might expect of the late-patriarchal Age of Iron? Most janyatic qualities are lost or trivialised owing to the metaphysical ignorance of the age. Sai Sushuri (Venus) the principle of concord and femininity is vilified. Only the quality of Mars, the principle of discord and (in Telluria) masculinity continues to be understood and correctly referred to.