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George Santayana

Jun 1, 2009

How Beauty Is An Important Part Of Health

Keith Scott-Mumby

Years ago I planned a book about the beneficial, even therapeutic, effects of beauty in our surroundings. I still haven’t written it, because there has been little or no study of this phenomenon. I remain convinced but it must only be a personal opinion. George Santayana, the modern Spanish philosopher wrote convincingly about the same thing (The Sense of Beauty, 1896). One thing came to me very vividly, early in my medical career: that a woman’s beauty is a state of mind, not physical form. I say that because one day, long ago, I was in theatre scrubbed for an elective on a very beautiful woman. She was gorgeous! Yet, as soon as the anesthetic hit, she transformed into a sack of jelly. Her face slumped and went plop! All the beauty was gone. I realized in that instant that beauty is how a woman holds herself. If she thinks she is beautiful, or should be, then her musculature responds and holds her face and bearing in a certain assured way. But take away the conscious aspect of beauty, I realized, and it vanishes. I even wrote a powerful poem about this. But it was in a briefcase that was stolen and I cannot, for the life of me, re-create that poem. Hah well!

Jun 1, 2009

How Beauty Is An Important Part Of Health

Keith Scott-Mumby

Years ago I planned a book about the beneficial, even therapeutic, effects of beauty in our surroundings. I still haven’t written it, because there has been little or no study of this phenomenon. I remain convinced but it must only be a personal opinion. George Santayana, the modern Spanish philosopher wrote convincingly about the same thing (The Sense of Beauty, 1896). One thing came to me very vividly, early in my medical career: that a woman’s beauty is a state of mind, not physical form. I say that because one day, long ago, I was in theatre scrubbed for an elective on a very beautiful woman. She was gorgeous! Yet, as soon as the anesthetic hit, she transformed into a sack of jelly. Her face slumped and went plop! All the beauty was gone. I realized in that instant that beauty is how a woman holds herself. If she thinks she is beautiful, or should be, then her musculature responds and holds her face and bearing in a certain assured way. But take away the conscious aspect of beauty, I realized, and it vanishes. I even wrote a powerful poem about this. But it was in a briefcase that was stolen and I cannot, for the life of me, re-create that poem. Hah well!
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