Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Theory

I've been trying to figure out what the deal is with human beings and our obsession with appearances. My current philosophy is that looks are completely unimportant, and I have been doing a lot of work to make myself believe it. It's been great--I've actually lost weight, and when people ask me what I've been doing my only answer is, "I stopped caring about losing weight." I really love being able to say that and have it be true.

Yet our reliance on appearances seems to be such a natural part of us that it makes me wonder. For the most part, our natural instincts are there to keep us safe: Physical pain warns us away from something that can hurt us, the gag reflex helps expel harmful things from our stomachs. The instinct to judge based on looks seems to be innate--so does this mean that it isn't wrong? Is this instinct actually something we should use?

I will be honest here--I really don't want to believe that. First impressions of people are often completely wrong, especially when those impressions are based only on physical appearance. Thousands of years of evolution aside, the fact is that human beings are rotten at understanding people based on a look. (For reference, please see every movie ever made about a tough guy--or girl--who looks mean but turns out to be sensitive and emotional because their hard exterior is just a defense mechanism .)

Anyway. I don't know the answer to this question, but I have one theory. 

My family's holistic doctor, Dr. Einsohn, tells us that we should be grateful for the most awful, difficult people in our lives because without them, we couldn't grow in whatever specific way they will force us to grow. Maybe this obsession with appearances is like that--a great obstacle that is part of our test, and we're meant to learn to overcome it. 

What do you think? Any other theories?


Lis said...

I think it kind of goes back to the base instinct of finding the best mate for offspring to promote the human race. Somehow our minds were programmed that beautiful=good mate. Not sure why that was a qualification. We still make initial snap judgements based on that, but now that our minds have evolved from then we can see beyond the outside and realize that the best way to find a mate is to get to know who they are regardless of what they look loke.

Lis said...

I meant, look like!

sarah said...

no theories, but it sure is interesting to think about... thanks for bringing it up because now i'll have to think about it. :)