by Jay Johansen | Aug 6, 2021
Suppose you were visiting some scenic spot. You look out over the moutains, a lush forest, a winding river running through it. Someone beside you says, "Oh, how beautiful!"
Then another visitor says, "How shallow! Is all you care about how it looks? You should be thinking of the economic value! Think about how much money someone could make by plowing down that mountain and turning it into a strip mine. Think about how much lumber could be produced by cutting down that forest. The river could be dammed and used to produce electricity. There are a lot more important things here than just some pretty scenery!"
Which person would you agree with? Would you agree that it is shallow to think only of the beauty of the landscape? Would you agree that the money that could be made by exploiting the natural resources is far more important?
My guess is no. My guess is that you would say that the person who only thinks about money is the shallow one, and the person who is impressed by the beauty is the high minded one.
Now let's try a different scenario. A man looks at a woman and says, "Oh, she is so beautiful!"
And another person there says, "How shallow! Is all you care about how she looks? You should be thinking of her education and career, and how much she can contribute to the economy!"
Funny, isn't it? If a man looks at a mountain and sees only the money that could be made by turning it into a strip mine, he is considered shallow. Society tells him that what is far more important is the beauty of the landscape.
But if a man looks at a woman and says how beautiful she is, he is called shallow. Society tells him that what is far more important is the money that could be made by putting this woman to work in an office.
Sorry, but no. I refuse to apologize for appreciating a woman for her beauty. Of course we need money and an economy to live and to have our little comforts. But I make money to live; I don't live to make money. The important things in life are love and faith and good and beauty. A woman who adds beauty to the world is far more deserving of praise than a woman who adds money.
© 2021 by Jay Johansen
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