Off the top of your head, can you name a few beauty ideals?
No big trouble, I’d assume. Now do the same for brilliance ideals. And for character ideals. Much harder, right? But who would argue that beauty is more important than brilliance or character?
Firstly, let me guide you through my ideals of brilliance. Striving for brilliance is defined by questioning everything, relentlessly pursuing true knowledge, even if it is inconvenient. It means getting to the bottom of those things that everyone else merely scrapes the surface of. Brilliance is also characterized by the openness to change one’s mind when presented with logical arguments and facts, as opposed to opinions. At the same time, brilliance is mastery of argumentation and discussion, with others as with oneself.
Secondly, here are my ideals of character. A great character is created of candor and humility. Candor in the sense that they’ll never lie and always be honest and authentic. Humility meaning a calm, self-controlled demeanor, knowing about one’s own limitations. A person with great character moves adroitly through the moral landscape, because they have done their moral homework. In the end, they always value people over ideas.
Now, think back to where we started: those despicable beauty ideals. What whould happen to our culture if replaced our beauty ideals with the above ideals of brilliance and character? I for one am sure that I’d welcome that change.