2009.05.09 01:00 - 'Beauty walks a razor's edge'

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    The Guardian for this meeting was Scathach Rhiadra. The comments are by Scathach Rhiadra.

     "Beauty walks a razor's edge someday I'll make it mine"  -  Bob Dylan in 'Shelter from the Storm'

    This was to be a long session, which began with wondering what effect the SL ability to change appearance would have on us, if it was possible in RL.........

    Wol Euler: good morning scath
    Scathach Rhiadra: good morning Wol:)
    Wol Euler: how are you today?
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, fine but tired, and you?
    Wol Euler: same :)
    Wol Euler: didn't sleep enough. perhaps there is something inthe air?
    Scathach Rhiadra: could be, it is like winter here!
    Wol Euler: it keeps changing between warm and cold, sunny and rain. Very stressful
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    sophia Placebo: morning :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: I got the notification for the email address and test email, very nice work:))
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Sophia
    Wol Euler: thank you!
    Wol Euler: hello sophia
    Wol Euler: actually, fael did the grunt work on that, I just put the talkative "front end" on it
    Scathach Rhiadra: well ty anyway:)
    Wol Euler smiles. We'll see how that works out.
    Scathach Rhiadra: How are you today Sophia?
    sophia Placebo: fine ty , how ae you ?
    Scathach Rhiadra: fine too, ty
    Wol Euler smiles and nods. same

    Sophia had a new and very striking image......

    Wol Euler: I'm really curious about your new image, sophia. Is this a roleplaying outfit?
    Wol Euler: (other than the idea that all of life is roleplaying ... _)
    sophia Placebo: no , modelling one
    Wol Euler: aah
    Scathach Rhiadra: ah
    sophia Placebo: though i used to changed my appearance every time i log in to sl :)
    Wol Euler: :)
    Wol Euler: it's a new shape too, isn't it? not your usual body
    sophia Placebo: no it is one shape
    Wol Euler: wow, I'm surprised, the skin makes such a difference.
    sophia Placebo: skin and hair effect is magical
    Wol Euler is amazed.
    sophia Placebo: :))
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes it is totally different effect:)

    then Sophia raised the topic of the desirability of doing the same in RL.....Would it be a good idea?

    sophia Placebo: i wished i can do the same in real life
    Scathach Rhiadra: don't we all:)
    Wol Euler: heheheheh
    sophia Placebo: i guess it is better that we cant do this in rl
    Scathach Rhiadra: it would be confusing to have everyone constantly changing appearances so drastically
    sophia Placebo: it has addiction potential :))
    Wol Euler: yes to both.
    Wol Euler: I was wondering why that doesn't disturb us here, but of course the great big nametags abover our heads are our real identity here.
    Wol Euler: not the virtual bodies
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    sophia Placebo: true
    Wol Euler: the concept of "passport photo" would break if people could slider their RL bodies
    sophia Placebo: thinking about the family albume
    Wol Euler: and family resemblance :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: though it might have the effect fo losing attachment to our appearances somewhat
    Wol Euler: which would be a fine thing, I feel; though it probably wouldn't get rid of the generic "I'm not beautiful enough" pressure
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    sophia Placebo: im not beautiful
    sophia Placebo: and im beautiful
    Wol Euler: do you know, as I get older it seems to me that everyone is beautiful. Every woman and every man that I meet.
    sophia Placebo: some do appreciate their beauti and know how to make it more apparent , others dont
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, seeing through the appearances?
    Wol Euler: I guess :)
    Wol Euler: or just accepting them, not judging
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes

    Bertrum joined us, and the discussion took-off, so to speak.......

    Wol Euler: good morning bertrum
    sophia Placebo: hello bert
    Scathach Rhiadra: and it eems to me that a lot of the problem with beauty is wanting to possess it
    Scathach Rhiadra: Good morning Bertrum
    Bertrum Quan: hi everyone
    Scathach Rhiadra: we are talking about the ability to change appearance in SL and how it would be if we could do so in RL
    sophia Placebo: wouldnt be easier if we posses the beauti , like cell phone in our nahd bag
    sophia Placebo: hand*
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, I was thinking more of other people wanting to poossess it
    Scathach Rhiadra: see something beautiful and must have it, so to speak
    sophia Placebo: like in commercial sense?
    sophia Placebo: i see
    Scathach Rhiadra: or just possessive nature
    sophia Placebo: who wants something ugly?
    Wol Euler: well ...
    Wol Euler: depends on the definition of ugly. Many "ugly" things and people have very strong visual character
    sophia Placebo: like the death, like the sick ness like being more animal than human , like toture like anger
    sophia Placebo: all ugly
    Wol Euler: oh, that kind of ugly. sorry. agreed.
    Bertrum Quan: Would the ability to magically transform one's appearance bring one closer to being in tune to the natural world in any way?
    Scathach Rhiadra: no I don't think so, but it may loosen attachment to outward appearances, if we could see they are impermanent, transient
    Bertrum Quan: It could have the opposite effect as well--creating even more layers of disguise.
    Wol Euler: and of dissatisfaction
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes to both
    Bertrum Quan: So if the option in RL were indeed available, it shoud be rejected!
    Scathach Rhiadra: ha:)
    sophia Placebo: why?
    Wol Euler shrugs. Why? If it works for you, then let it work. if not, then not.
    Bertrum Quan: There is a very heavy emphasis on physical appearance already.
    Bertrum Quan: It would only compound the problem.
    Wol Euler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U
    Wol Euler: (re beauty and reality and dissatisfaction with one's appearance)
    sophia Placebo: considring the sedentary life style and bad food habits , physical appearnce tells alot
    Scathach Rhiadra: mmm, and the people to whom appearance is not important would just be the same, only the obsessed with appearance would want to change
    Bertrum Quan: The culture of defined beauty has harmed young women for example. Eating disorder of all kinds and cosmetic surguries to help them confirm to the mold.
    Bertrum Quan: I think there is far more pressure on everyone to conform to the mold.
    sophia Placebo: but in the same time it made the other extreme , those who dont think that they can buy their beauti nor modefiy it
    Bertrum Quan: To worship at the temple of defined cultural beauty is a symptom in my view of a deep problem
    Wol Euler raises an eyebrow
    Scathach Rhiadra: but has it not always been like that throughout history?
    sophia Placebo: im not defending the - model beauti concept - but i do belive that poeple should appreciate the amount of beauti they have and work to make it more apparent rather destroying it or working on hiding it
    Wol Euler: wash't the evil stepmother always ugly, and the princess always beautiful?
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Wol Euler: always as in "not new"
    sophia Placebo: i dont think scath , as i said uglyness may be more -spirituall - in case of step mother
    Bertrum Quan: In answer the Scarh;s historical refernece, it may be the case that humans have actually devolved in that respect. Have humans collective figured out tolerance and peace? Why would we have any faith in the historical record of defined cultural beauty>
    Wol Euler: right, we tend to think that nice people are beautiful and bad people are ugly.
    sophia Placebo: some stories tell that step mother was beautiful but hate to see anyone else to have the same ampunt or more beauty than her
    Scathach Rhiadra: ah I don't mean to imply we should have faith in it, merely that it has existed as long as humans have been around:)
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, Scath, I agree. But perhaps these are tragic symptoms of human pride and vanity.
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Scathach Rhiadra: in the end does it not come down to how we experience beauty, inner or outer, or seeing everyone and appreciating them just as they are?
    Bertrum Quan: If we can experience it... Can the youg girls you starve themselves to be "thin" and "beautiful" experience it. Can "Miss California's" breast enhancement reinforce anything good about how women view their own bodies and how men view women's bodies?
    Bertrum Quan: There's certainly a degree of cultural programming the is very damaging in my view and I believe it in many ways fosters intolerance and works against what it means to be human,
    Wol Euler: agreed, and not just in matters of beauty.
    sophia Placebo: i guess that goes back to the 2 extreme images you have , in countries where the obesity is less i guess the problem is less too
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Bertrum Quan: It's attempt to defy nature--and to create an aura of immortality.
    sophia Placebo: i have to leave , nice to meet you all :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: thank you for being here Sophia, enjoy your day:)
    Bertrum Quan: bye Sophia
    Wol Euler: bye sophia, take care

    Sophia leaves, but the discussion goes on.   The next two statements seem to epitomise the different views that have emerged......

    Bertrum Quan: The prospect of changing appearace in RL (as is possible in SL) seems to me an extension of false values and deafness to the true nature of the world

    Wol Euler: it seems to me a chance to discover the true nature of our relationship to each other and our self-images

    Wol Euler: might it have hurtful effects on certain people? yes of course. But these people are by and large already suffering (e.g the anorexics).
    Wol Euler: perhaps seeing the body as malleable might reduce their revulsion?
    Bertrum Quan: I disagree. What comes to my mind is genetic engineering
    Wol Euler: perhaps having cycled through both genders and forty appearnces, they might laugh out loud and go back happily to how they were?
    Bertrum Quan: In theory that would be nice. But if we use Scath's sense of history as any guide, there will be no going back.
    Scathach Rhiadra: or continue looking for that elusive 'perfect' look?
    Wol Euler: sure, I don't _know_ that it would make anyone happier. But neither do you know the opposite ...
    Bertrum Quan: I not yet read anything concerning ways of knowing and seeing, that suggest such an approach would be helpful.
    Bertrum Quan: I've not personally experienced anything that suggests it either.
    Bertrum Quan: How has the notion of physical perfection manifested itself?
    Scathach Rhiadra: it seems those who want to experience the true nature of reality have always been in the minority, most go with the search for immortality, even if it is illusory
    Wol Euler nods
    Wol Euler: and many, in most eras the great majority, have not had the time and space to do either, they've just been concerned with gathering enough food to survive anohter night
    Wol Euler: I doubt whether my great-great-great-grandmother thought about "beauty" from one year to the next
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes, the more physicl comfort we have seems to increase our dissatisfaction
    Bertrum Quan: and the more "beauty" as well...
    Scathach Rhiadra nods
    Bertrum Quan: I cast my vote against "perfection."
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Scathach Rhiadra: and I don't think perfection exists, or maybe all is perfect as it is
    Bertrum Quan: Indeed. But as a nod to your obserfvation about the "perfect look" the attempt to bow to appearance has a very dark side.
    Bertrum Quan: The idea of a master race or of the perfect face are there in our collective histories

    The line from the Bob Dylan song, (which gave me the title for this session), had been running through my mind.  This in turn brought to mind the book 'The Razor's Edge' by William Somerset Maugham.   I had read it a long time ago, but is has stuck in my mind, with its themes of inner and outer beauty, attachment and the search for enlightenment, and the effects each can have on the other.  The description given below does not do it justice!  If you are interested, a far better synopsis can be found here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Razor's_Edge

    Scathach Rhiadra: have either of you read 'The Razor's Edge' by Somerset Maughan?
    Wol Euler: all the more reason for us to explore them, then! Can't fight an enemy that you do not know.
    Wol Euler: no, I haven't.
    Bertrum Quan: Yes, we know the enemy and the enemy is us. History is populated with examples.
    Bertrum Quan: Tell us about THE RAZOR's EDGE.
    Scathach Rhiadra: well it is set back before the hippies arrived on the scene, just after World War 1 I think..
    Wol Euler: morning fael
    Bertrum Quan: hi Fael
    Fael Illyar: Hi Everyone, long session it seems :)
    Wol Euler: yeah
    Scathach Rhiadra: an American couple , the 'perfect' match go their separate ways, he to the east in search of himself or enlightenment, she as a socialite
    Wol Euler: SL sliders in RL -> beauty -> unhappiness -> eugenics -> genetic engineering
    Scathach Rhiadra: Hello Fael:)
    Scathach Rhiadra: they mean to get together and marry after a few years, but they both change so much that it never happens
    Scathach Rhiadra: when he comes back from the east he has no interest in material things, but she is consumed with jealosy of what she thinks she has lost, him as he was, if that makes sense
    Bertrum Quan: Yes.
    Scathach Rhiadra: there is a lot in the book about inner and outer beauty and the values we attach to them
    Wol Euler: hmmmmm
    Wol Euler: sounds like it should be in the PaB reading list.
    Scathach Rhiadra: :)
    Bertrum Quan: A journey of discovery... where one person changes "sees" and the other is rooted in attachment
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes,and told very well in the book
    Bertrum Quan: Thanks for sharing it!
    Fael Illyar: Yes... that can very easily lead to divorce...
    Scathach Rhiadra: it was made into a terrible film with Bill Murray in the title role, don't watch that!
    Wol Euler laughs. Thanks for the warning
    Fael Illyar smiles.
    Bertrum Quan: Murray was good in Lost in Translation...
    Scathach Rhiadra: but totally miscast ing the Razor's Edge
    Bertrum Quan: Have any of you seen Lost in Translation?
    Wol Euler: nope
    Fael Illyar: I think I've seen parts of it.
    Wol Euler: I meant to, it looked good, but it came and went here rapidly
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes I've seen it
    Bertrum Quan: What did you think of it, Scath?
    Scathach Rhiadra: I liked it, he was very good!
    Bertrum Quan: In a way, the movie deal some of the values we've been discusing this evening (morning for all of you!),

    So we go our separate ways, having enjoyed the discussion:)

    Bertrum Quan: need to say goodnight -- good day...
    Wol Euler: goodnight bertrum, enjoy the weekend
    Scathach Rhiadra: have a good night Bertrum, and the ret of the weekend:0
    Scathach Rhiadra: rest*
    Fael Illyar: Good night Bert :)
    Bertrum Quan: thanks for the lively discussion!
    Scathach Rhiadra: thank you!
    Scathach Rhiadra: this was a long session, think I nedd breakfast
    Wol Euler: yeah, me too :)
    Fael Illyar: Have a nice breakfast Scath :)
    Wol Euler: a good session!
    Scathach Rhiadra: thanks Fael
    Wol Euler: take care, see you later.
    Scathach Rhiadra: yes a good session
    Scathach Rhiadra: see you later, Namasté
    Fael Illyar: _/!\_

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