Monday, January 12, 2009

beautiful paradox: an interlude in "Why is God a Fractal?"

Look at him, what a seedy character. He's got a goatee and a sequined t-shirt. He must be less active (8 out 10 subjects responded in this way).

What is this guy a hippy or something, don't these dudes know we're supposed to stay clean shaven?Oh, right, sorry Jesus.

The Weightier Matters, Sort Of:

In part 2 I came to the conclusion that looks matter, it turns out they also don't. Ugly, hairy, beautiful, bald as a babies bottom, it doesn't really matter; what does matter when assessing our character is the advice God gave to the Prophet Samuel when he (Samuel) was looking for an heir to the throne of Israel: "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." 

I'm also reminded of a quote from the movie Blood Diamond:

Benjamin Kapanay: "My heart always told me that people are inherently good. My experience suggests otherwise. But what about you, Mr. Archer? In your long career as a journalist, would you say that people are mostly good?"

Danny Archer: "No , I'd say they're just people."

We're born with the equal potential for good or bad, it's not clear if our appearance reveals with any degree of accuracy what choices we've made throughout our lives. It's probably best, then to withhold any definitive judgement of others -- making judgements on a provisional basis is probably reasonable --  be the best we can personally and let God take care of the rest.


Pianika said...

A few yrs ago there was a story in the New Era about a girl doing some research on whether or not it was important to be beautiful. She surveyed her family/read in the Bible (Leah/Rachel, Rebecca, Mary etc) and decided to be depressed about the whole scenario ie bad looks = no marriage = no eternal life etc.

Then her mother came and found out what she was doing and started reading to her from Mosiah 14 - he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not...

So there is a type of beauty that only the world sees, and a type of beauty that God knows - and therefore those who love him will also recognize that kind of beauty.
Hopefully this makes sense. Food for thought anyway.

Loren said...

good comment, yep I think you're right. I just enjoy how most things that are important are paradoxical when you think about them. I like to hang out at these points of tension. When you look at our existence generally, what we look like matters from the perspective that we're created in a certain someones image. Considering the whole deal on matters of particularity, what we look like doesn't matter so much as what we are (yet what we are is determined to some extent by what we look like, what category our potentialities fall into etc). I love this stuff.

Anonymous said...

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Pianika said...

So what sort of things do you regard as paradoxes? Is it like the following question? or something else: From your perspective, which is closer to a persons "true" self, the person they are on the inside? or the one they present to the world? Or a combination of both? and which one is more important...

Loren said...

Good question, the inside and outside are both equally important. I use the term a little loosely it's not like the paradoxes that I'm talking about are as clear as "This statement is false" or "Can God create a rock so heavy that he can't carry it?" What I find slightly paradoxical in regards to outward appearance is that we often will say that it doesn't matter what someone looks like on the outside it's who they are within that counts. Yet we have standards that codify what is or isn't accepatble when it comes to the way we present ourselves. We're supposed to conform to what looking good is as defined by the culture that we're a part of. We're saying at the same time it does and doesn't matter what you look like. And that what you look like does and doesn't affect your divinity. It's kind of complicated and there's a lot of nuance to it, I could probably drone on forever about this and still not clearly explicate any clear point.