So many faces throughout history have changed history. Maybe even yours. Helen of Troy was from Greece, but when the young prince of nearby Troy stole her beauty away with him, the Greeks angrily launched a thousand warships to get her back. A little later the world’s most powerful man, Caesar, took one look at Cleopatra’s beauty, and turned into her lap dog triggering a tragic sequence of events.
There have been other examples. Captain John Smith fell hard when he caught sight of fair Pocahontas…Mary Todd when she spotted a gangly but promising Abe…Rhett when he beheld Scarlett…then there was Liz and Richard, Brad and Angelina, Paris Hilton and anyone with money.
OK, so your face and mine may not be at the cutting edge of history, and yet we too have been snared or repelled a time or two. What is there about a pretty face that can do that to us…? Let me count the ways. The height of the cheek bone, the depth of the eyes, the tilt of the nose, the flow of the hair. Or possibly some undefinable something that ignites a vague discomfort. In my case that, without rational explanation, would include a Nicholas Cage or a Woody Harrelson. Behavioral scientists try to quantify an explanation for me, but come on fellas, sometimes love & hate simply can’t be graphed!
Perhaps a better response to these irrational responses might be to admit to ourselves that our mighty empirical disciplines may sometimes have to yield to the embarrassing reality that our most basic emotions often control our most sophisticated thoughts.
For lack of a smarter term, call it our gut. The same gut which made Adam uneasy around that serpent, Mark Antony and yon Cassius, Churchill’s initial intuition about that new rabble-rouser in Berlin and such clashing personalities as Obama & Boehner, you and the neighbor who walks his dog in front of your house every morning, oh and if you love wearing Tea Party uniforms you and that ‘big evil government’ you sense lurking out there day after bad day.
Beauty? Evil? I’m guessing things haven’t changed that much over he centuries. Both are still in-the-eyes-of-the-beholder.
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