You are not alone

There are many ways how we can look at our lives.

Psychology lectures, and simple personal observations taught us that most of the time our thoughts, perception of the word are pessimistic, negative and full of emotional pain.

We all know the sleepless nights, body sensations that we want to numb immediately.

We are alone within the crowd of family members, and coworkers, doing things that we do not want to do, feeling shame, guilt, and despair.

Even climbing Mont Blanc is not rewarding anymore when done solo. We all experiencing some incompleteness reading Rumi’s poems, and tracking lyrics of our favorite band.

Then again, we find ourselves in situations which evoke feeling of guilt and loneliness. I know those dark places; I heard the stories behind emotional pain and suffering.

Realize that you are not alone, that we are in this together and most importantly that there is hope.

I want you to know that is someone out there who cares about you. The reason that I am telling you this tale is my gratitude for your presence.

Imagine that….

4.5 billon years ago was formed Solar System and then our planet emerged slowly moving by variety of processes. One of them was development of proto-life that tried to evolve and grow in such extremely toxic environment. Six hundred forty million years ago multicellular life began which opened possibility for new variation of life. More diverse forms created foundation and basis for formation plants and insects.  Five hundred fifty million years ago emerged vertebrates and with them fish, our ancestor. Then the Three of Life evolved, branching from fish to amphibians, to reptiles, and later, dinosaurs and mammals. And eventually, to humans. As a human we had such challenging journey to survive as a species. Just to contemplate our development from Afrika to Ice Age, from Black Death to Atomic Bomb. We evolved from single cell organism to inventors of Tesla car.

Our journey is marked by beauty of Taj Mahal and Chinese Wall.

And what more imported we are genetically related, so in real sense we are family. Overall, we have common predecessor- Lucy Australopithecus.

There is also another heritage, of great thinkers, innovators and developers of human culture and science. We are part of some great history from Stonehenge to Pyramid of Giza, from Cathedra Notre Dame to Eskimo Igloo. There are Vincent’s “Sunflowers”, Facebook’s algorithms and humble prayers in holy places.

But is something else that I want to share with you. You can notice it in the drops of water in Iguazu Falls, in the wave of Pacific Ocean. If you ever contemplated the beauty of night sky with myriads of stars than you know that is some powerful feelings that connect you with whole Universe. It is like a murmuring brook that whispers story of us human. It is a tale about constant grow and progress.

This constant changing landscape of our development also brought as to the few places that we need notice here. I prepared few slides for us to look and contemplate. One of them is to see the Real GDP growing and stagnation of weekly earnings of full-time workers. Just think what it means for you. This trend is not reversable.

Then it is a book that we all must read and think about it. I am referring here to Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow. The book by Yuval Noah Harari describes the caste of ‘useless people’. The class of useless will be the fate for all of us, with few exceptions, though. 

Other important to understand is that algorithms, and social media by optimizing your experiences they stir you toward social conflict. How they do it? By maximize your anxiety and wanting it [whatever the it is] NOW. But the cost of your attention is loss of compassion and meaningful interbeing.

And of course, there is your emotional pain; suffering that undermines the core of your existence, in sleepless night.

Then is your attempt to disconnect yourself from state of restlessness by using tranquilizers, internet, and chemicals.

In such moments of quiet desperation, I want you to know that I care about you and I  worry about you.

I am here with my unconditional love, no matter what you did, no matter who you are. I am loving you no matter what.

There will be extremely difficult time for all of us but you are not alone.

Relationship between GDP and earnings
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First Deserve, than Desire.

Workshop about dating

Hello everyone,

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the idea of creative dating.

This is the supplemental material for our Dating Workshop in Rego Park. During our Sunday meetings there is not enough time to introduce all of the ideas about dating, so I will introduce some of those ideas here, instead. Our curriculum at “Creative dating” will be different from our group meetings, so you will be exposed to the issue of dating from different angles.

Whenever we deal with subjects as complex as love and dating, it’s useful to draw on the wisdom of those who have gone before us. Thus, I have relied on a great range of contributions from the fields of art, history, psychiatry, mindfulness, sports, and the social sciences. All these contributions have helped me to develop a strong understanding of love, relationships, and dating. I’ve included some of them on our supplemental reading list, in the hopes that they’ll enrich our discussions.

At the core of our conversation will be an idea: “First deserve; then desire”. What I mean by this is that even before we begin dating, we need to build up a healthy personality, develop good coping skills, and create an ethical framework that can help us navigate successfully through life. The concept of “first deserve” is based on the need for ambitious, far-reaching self-improvement and personal growth before we get into a relationship. That effort is what will, over time, transform us into loving, kind, and compassionate human beings, capable of loving and being loved on the deepest possible level.

Now, you may be thinking: “Hey, why not accept myself the way I am and jump into a relationship right now? My partner and I will surely find a way to live together happily!”

The question, although interesting, however has a weak point. What if your shortcomings create more relational problems than you expect? What if the relationship comes to a painful end? This could have lasting repercussions for you. The loss of any relationship is painful, since it spells the end of an opportunity for connection. But the end of a relationship can also leave you shaken, with your confidence crushed and an overwhelming sense of being rejected and unworthy of love.

This is my interpretation of the idea, but it’s only one of millions of ideas about dating. And that, of course, is exactly the point of what we’re all doing here. There are so many ideas available to us, mine and others. We look at all those ideas together, review some interesting concepts, and choose those which are the most fruitful for your particular place in life.

The second part of the proverb “first deserve; then desire” is about the reward that comes when, after hard, creative work, you finally have the chance to put your passion into practice. As you already know, there are no shortcuts in real life. As the saying goes: “The elevator to success is out of order, but the stairs are always open”. In other words, the more work you do, and the more sacrifices you make, the stronger the foundation will be for your desire.

Of course, the word desire evokes some questions. Who should be the object of our deepest desires? In our media-driven environment, superficial attributes such as beauty, financial freedom, and athletic abilities are often overvalued. In fact, it may be dangerous to choose your partner based on such unreliable, even accidental attributes. Other qualities such as hard work, intelligence, and the ability to learn are more long-lasting. After all, we are looking for successful, fulfilling relationships. We cannot overlook the deep and steady traits that are so crucial for meaningful life: compassion, kindness, generosity, and the ability to succeed.

Simply said, our conversation here is about the sacrifice that we need to undergo in order to find a long-lasting connection with the right person – with someone who will become a source of inspiration to us and contribute to our emotional and ethical growth. We want to find the person who will bring out the best in us and accept who we truly are.

How we can achieve the goal of “first deserve; then desire?” For now, you just need to remember that life is not a restaurant where you sit comfortably in candlelight and order wonderful French dishes and cold bottles of champagne. In such a restaurant, you enjoy an exquisite meal and a luxurious desert — and then you pay with a credit card. This is not how real-life works. Life is not a restaurant where you get what you want and pay later. Life is like a Chinese buffet where a huge array of fantastic dishes are spread out before you in an amazing variety of possibilities. All those choices are here and they are available right now. But you need to pay first – then, and only then, can you enjoy the meal.

What is the lesson to take away from this? Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.

There is another way of looking at the beauty

Why do men like blonde bombshells and why women want to look like them? ****

There is some good idea behind the saying: “Time flies over us but leaves its shadow behind.” A similar concept is encapsulated in our genes that may be expressed by one word: Evolution. Perhaps you had never thought about how the development of humans and thousands of years of their existence may impact your decisions today. Is there any link between savanna’s hunter and you? You are submerged in technology so powerful that you can compute a journey around the globe to the tourist attractions in seconds. But, this just your cellphone, that analyzes, searches, and utilizes information better that all generations of our hunter-gatherer ancestors from The Land of Sahara. What is a possible link between evolution and choices we are making today? Especially if we take a perspective of online dating.
It is necessary to notice that some choices that we are making are against our intention. Or even more, interestingly, some of the options contribute to our relationship misery.
The association between you -armed with all wisdom of internet- and first anatomically humans 200, 000 years ago is much potent than you ever imagined. What if I would tell you that equipped with all your technology, you are still vulnerable and exposed at the mercy of evolution forces? The evolutionary drives are so powerful that Facebook algorithms are just unnoticeable dust. These evolutionary pressures make decisions with whom you mate, what one’s idea of beauty is, even which car you buy. Directly speaking, you are shaped by the experiences of thousands of generations of your predecessors.
I know it is difficult to believe that your personal preferences for an ideal partner are not learned in a classroom only delivered to you by experiences from the murky history of humankind. The important message here is that you are a tool on the mercy of genes and the goals of biology. Whatever, you are choosing to in your life: religious affiliation, a way how you spend money, which clothes you wear all of them, and even more, is about sex and mating.
Really? You may ask. Let’s look closely at this idea; “Why do men like blonde bombshells, and why do women want to look like them?”
The common mistake of thinking about such a subject is that woman is socialized by media, models, movie industry to look like a Barbie. But nothing is further from the truth. So, the question is: Why women want to look like Diane Kruger, Anna Kournikova, or Amber Heard? The simple answer is because it is the most successful strategy to attract a man. Looking like Barbie, she has increased her reproductive values and makes a few additional points on the market of dating. There is nothing random in the image of ideal female beauty. Millions of years of evolution created a picture of a woman so powerful that Governor of NY Eliot Spitzer, risk everything in his life: family, political career, reputation for a beautiful prostitute. This fact illustrates how sexual desire makes men so vulnerable. What are the traits of a woman that allows her to wrap a man around her finger? Ideal beauty has few components: blonde, long hair, large breast, blue eyes, and small waist. Looking closer, you will find that men prefer long hair because it is an excellent indicator of youth and health. Hair of women after menopause is not so healthy and luster. The sick body loses nutrition, and the first place where micro-elements will be extracted is hair.
Therefore, long hair signaling to a potential mate that this woman has the tremendous biological potential to have a healthy baby. The woman at savanna couldn’t do anything to change how her hair looks. Hair confirms women’s health status not only in the present but also last four years. Perhaps, this is a reason that as a woman becomes older tends to keep her hair short.
Men prefer a young woman because her reproductive value is much higher. And, the ability to have children longer was an essential factor then. But even today, thousands of years later, young girls create many confusions in noble professors. Let me allow to say that statistically speaking, a male high school teacher and college professors have a higher than expected rate of divorce. What is noteworthy about college professors, they have a lower-than-expected rate of re-marriage because they are constantly exposed to a woman at the peak of their reproductive value.
As I mentioned earlier, another important factor that is responsible for men’s preference is a large breast. It is interesting from the parenthood perspective because the size of the breast has no relationship with her ability to lactate. This fantasy is executing by many women nowadays by visiting a plastic surgeon. And caricature of this form we see in Playboy magazine or a majority of porn movies. Why is the size of a breast so crucial for men? There are two competing theories on the table. The large breast of a young woman is flexible and firm, so again is a good pointer of reproductive properties. The second theory is connected with the ratio of a large breast to a small waist, which specifies great fruitily because of the presence of reproductive hormones.
The statement about the relationship between breast and waist brought us to an ideal female measurement. The numbers 36x24x36 are not chosen arbitrary. There is powerful knowledge behind it. Let’s make a close look at the idea of the perfect dimensions. Perhaps, it is essential to mention that 0.7 hip to waist ratio is universal around the world. Why, then, do men want a woman with such proportions? Because only healthy women have such a low ratio. A host of diseases such as diabetes, heart attack, stroke, hypertension, and gallbladder disorders-change the distributions of body fat so that sickly women cannot maintain low waist-to-hip ratios. Having an easier time conceiving a child, doing it in earlier ages, is due to having a large amount of essential reproductive hormones, and these factors are indicated in our numbers 36x24x36. Men are unconsciously seeking health in a woman with a small waist. And this fact is not only visible in the history of the corset. Production and popularization of corsets now is not only a multimillion-dollar industry. It also reinforced culture changes where young girls eager to show their midriffs and sexual readiness.
Now is the time to ask the most fundamental question: Why do men prefer blondes? The simple answer is because forces of evolution developed men with a mechanism that predisposes them to prefer women with blond hair. We can look at the idea of blond hair from a few angles; western culture and again from men’s perspectives. Traditionally, the attractiveness of blond hair was highly appreciated in ancient Sparta. Sparta’s poets praised golden hair as one of the most desirable qualities of a beautiful woman, describing in various verses “the girl with the yellow hair” and a woman “with the hair like purest gold.”
But the idea of blond hair is much, much older. Based on genetic research, the date of the genetic mutation that resulted in blond hair in Europe has been isolated to about 15,000 years ago during the last ice age. Some ideas describe emerging from a gloomy time of history the desire to mate a blond woman. A typical explanation found in the scientific literature for the evolution of light hair is related to the development of light skin and in turn, the requirement for vitamin D synthesis and northern Europe’s seasonal less solar radiation. Lighter has a low concentration in pigmentation. It allows more sunlight to trigger the production of vitamin D. In this way, high frequencies of light hair, in northern latitudes, are a result of skin adaptation.
An alternative hypothesis was presented by Canadian anthropologist Peter Frost, who claims blond hair evolved very quickly in a specific area at the end of the last ice age utilizing sexual selection. According to Frost, the appearance of blond hair and blue eyes in some northern European women made them stand out from their rivals, and more sexually appealing to men, at a time of fierce competition for scarce males.
Let’s take a close look at the ides of reproduction. What distinguishes blond hair from all other hair colors is that it changes dramatically with age. Young girls with light blonde hair usually grow up to be women with brown hair. [are exception dough]. Thus, if men prefer to mate with women with blond hair, they are unconsciously attempting to mate with younger [healthier and fertile, on average] women. It is no coincidence that blonde hair evolved in Scandinavia and Northern Europe, where it is very cold in winter. In Africa, where our ancestors evolved for most of their evolutionary history, people [men and women] mostly stayed naked. In such an environment, man could accurately assess a woman’s age by just recognizing the distribution of fat on her body or by the firmness of her breast. Men in cold climates did not have this option because women [and men] bundled up in such an environment. This concept explains why blonde hair evolves in cold climates as an alternative means for women to advertise their youth. Men then evolved a predisposition to prefer to mate with women with blonde hair in response, because those who did on average had greater reproductive success than those who did not.
However, there are also a few drops of irony here; what fools men all the time. Through face-lifts, wigs, liposuction, surgical breast augmentation, hair dye, and color lenses, any women – regardless of her age – can have many key features that define the ideal female beauty. Modern technology supports a 60-year-old gramma chasing college students. In such a case, the Savanna Principle is not able to see the difference between surgical work and reality. What is the lesson from savanna’s stories?
For now, it is essential to remember: “Someday you will be old enough to start rereading fairy tales.”

*** All quotes and ideas are from the book: “Why Beautiful people have more daughters” by Miller and Kanazawa.

Ego depletion

Energy is the inherent effort of every multiplicity to become unity.    

It is difficult to imagine how much knowledge we can deduct from a bowl of radishes. Picture yourself in a room suffused with aroma of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies that have just been baked in the home. You spent a few hours in a gym and then some more time in a swimming pool to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions. Hungry but still strong and supported by your determination, you have the choices: a bowl of radishes or your favorite grandma’s chocolate chip cookies. You stay in the kitchen and talk to grandma, forcing yourself to resist the cookies. And after a few minutes of torture, you grab a bowl of radishes and rush to the dayroom.

In the dayroom, your partner encourages you to show off your cleverness and to polish your skills. You start putting some difficult puzzles together. Interestingly enough, you notice that after a short time, you lost your heart and motivation to finish the job. You abandon your task and wonder how it happens that you do not have any will to complete the puzzles. The scientists who work in the psychological laboratories do similar imaginary “Radish experience” experiments. They have demonstrated the phenomenon of “ego depletion” again and agin.  “Ego depletion” is a condition where people try very hard to resist temptation when there is no energy left for the task ahead.

From this phenomenon of ego depletion, we can draw a few conclusions. First, if you want to succeed in creative dating, you need to allocate some time for this activity. Simply speaking, make same time on a regular, scheduled basis. Build the habit, systematically devoting the time to what is important for you. It is vital to notice that if we have a plan, scheduling some activities can make them predictable and reduce our tension or anxiety. The more we practice, the more skilled and relaxed we are. And of course, when we are more relaxed, we deplete less of our mental energy.

Secondly, if we consider that dating is our most important and desirable task, then we need to approach it with our full intellectual and mental capacity. Definitely, we cannot achieve the best possible result if we will do it at the end of the day. Once again, planning and scheduling come in handy. To start our creative dating, we need to be enthusiastic, innovative, and full of ideas that will bring the best of us in the dating arena.

Thirdly, when you read these sentences, you recognize that some concepts are easier to understand now. Like the fact that ego depletion doesn’t allow us to overlook the partner’s negative comments or annoying questions. Then we just escalate our negativity because we don’t have any energy left to be polite and cultivate understanding for others. Why? Because after a long exhausting day and difficult commuting, all our energy is finished before we even enter our home.

Fourthly, if we try to resist temptation, we may find ourselves wanting forbidden desires more strongly. Just to remember that the longer we fight against a desirable object, the lower energy we have. It doesn’t mean that we need to give up. It means that we need to regulate, avoid, or control our encounter with desires.

Perhaps, our meditations about self-control in creative dating blog can be summarized by saying: to handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.

Self-consciousness

Real magic in relationships means an absence of judgment of others.

I think when we want to provide a piece of information, we all struggle with the idea of what is useful. My concept is that information must be worth the time a potential reader spends to read it. I hope that these 818 words are worthy of your investment. The topic is self-consciousness. The self-consciousness is an undue awareness of oneself, one’s appearance, or one’s actions. It affects every sphere of our everyday life.

Teenagers, what everyone must understand, struggle with self-image. Finding their place in a group of peers is one of the most important tasks for a youngster. It’s an inherent need to belong to a group to meet its standards. Wearing stylish clothes, listening to modern music, and rebellion to the customs are all part of the process. It is a heart-breaking experience to listen to a teenager’s inner turmoil; a teenager is a young person who is searching for meaning, sense, love, and belonging to somewhere. In short, it is the close examination of our own reflection in a mirror. Under the surface of reflection, there is a tale about one’s imperfection. The flawscreate feelings of being unloved, defective, and unimportant. The mirror will be a part of our conversation one more time, so stay tuned.

Slowly, we gain a little more experience, and we start thinking that we are better than others around us. This concept is reinforced by age and wisdom. The older we are, the better we feel in comparison to a typical person around us. Why do we feel superior than others? Because we compare ourselves to the past and we see improvement. We are a better version of ourselves. Thus, we feel superior to “an ordinary one”. There are, however, the consequences of this way of thinking. And the consequences are more serious from the dating perspective. We can read an intro at any internet dating site.

An intro at almost all dating sites has one common characteristic: the older the person is, the higher their requirements are. Often, a woman after 50 who thinks“I am looking more younger than my age” is chasing “the Right One- an Adonis with habits of Warren Buffet”. He must be 1 or 2 decades younger than she is. Obviously, her level of estrogen will never satisfy the sexual needs of 2 decades younger partner. This is a recipe for disaster because “Adonis” didn’t have time to accumulate experience and financial resources, which are the means to match the needs of a person at a different level of professional development.

And the opposite is also true. A mature, financially independent professional will struggle with friends of his 2 decades younger partner. Many conversations and needs after 50 are different. It is clearly a generation gap in terms of finances, ethics, spirituality, and many other aspects. Let’s say that the life of the person who licks the wound and tries to pay college debt is dramatically different from a person who is 2 decades ahead in professional life. This is true for both sides of the gender divide.

    What happens here? Why people at dating sites have such hard time to find the partner? There are two factors at play. One, we are forced and inspired by social media to create a beautiful life with an amazing partner; it must be a soulmate who will fit in the Facebook’s definition of success. It’s kind of modern version of keeping up with the Joneses. We are all confused and misled by “People magazine” or Facebook – like culture, where we cannot settle for less than perfect. It creates the perception that physical beauty is more relevant than hard work, commitment, and the ability to take responsibility for our own future. This unrealistic standard creates misery for anyone looking to find  a dating partner.

The second factor is that we have a false concept of ourselves. We compare ourselves to the school’s version, and we see enhancement. Sometimes, people visit the places from childhood to experience progress. We feel superior to the average joe, and we idealize our self. This is the major reason that many people put the pictures of themselves from the best period of their life on dating sites.  There are not feeling guilty;in fact, they are proud that today they look much better.   

I promised you that I would return to the topic of a mirror. Research indicates that if the place where we make decisions [perhaps dating verdicts] is a mirror, then we are more honest. We become more self-conscious, and ethics and morality become part of our decision. It is like a quantum physics observer influences our decisions. Thus, the ability to see ourselves as a real person is a healing experience. With all flaws and advantages, the experience makes us more beautiful and desirable in the dating market. Perhaps, there is truth in the old saying: “Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are. If you show up in a masquerade outfit, neither is going to happen”.

Decision Making Fatigue and Dating

Don’t go back to less, just because you’re too impatient to wait for more.”

Decision Making Fatigue and Dating.

There are so many angles to use when we consider the most effective way to do creative dating. I just would like to offer you my perspective here on some of the problems that so many people face when they try online dating. I’m going to focus, here, on the role that decision-making plays in online dating.

Often, participants in my workshops ask whether it is really possible to find a partner online. They suggest that nobody is “there” for them. Often, frustrated by their lack of success, they cancel their subscription to the dating site. And, after a few months, the cycle begins all over again; they start at a different website, only to cancel their subscription yet again. There are a few points that I want you to take under consideration.

Dating is all about decision making. Do I like this person? Is he or she the right person for me? Should I stay in this relationship? As we all know, decision making tends to be both complicated and painful. The root of the word “to decide” is Latin and literally meaning “ to cut off”. In other words, “making up your mind” means choosing one option and terminating all the other possible options. Clearly, this is a difficult process.

In some cases, people simply refuse to make any decision at all. A person involved in an extramarital relationship is not able to make a decision, for example. They cannot decide whether to leave their spouse and start a new life with their affair partner, or whether to end the affair and try again to make their marriage work.  When no decision is reached, a “marriage triangle” is created. The situation drags on for years even decades. This failure to make decisions doesn’t just happen in the dating world, of course. College students often put off deciding on their majors for a long time. They leave two options open for as long as they can. Even though this complicates their academic life, and prolongs their studies, it still feels easier than making a decision. After all, for some students, choosing one major – and choosing against another major – feels almost as though they are eliminating, or “cutting off,” a part of themselves.

 There are other factors that makes decision making difficult. Our modern lives are so full and busy that many of us are plagued with “decision fatigue.” This comes into play when we open up a dating app and browse through hundreds of images, trying desperately to make a choice. After a long of work and chores, our natural energy is depleted. In fact, our energy is so low that online dating starts to feel like yet another chore to get through – instead of like the beginning of the greatest adventure of our life. This also reduces our ability to make good choices. “Decision fatigue” is a psychological term that describes a situation in which we are not able to make a rational decision. If you’ve ever scrolled through Netflix looking for something to watch, only to end up picking nothing at all, then you’ll understand this problem. Too many choices can leave us exhausted and unable to make any choice at all. It is a negative force of abundance. 

Choosing the right mate can be especially difficult for ambitious, hard-working people – especially in New York City. Spending a prolonged amount of time in school to pursue a professional career, moving to an urban area, changing moral values, increased self-expression, contraceptive pills, and of course social media all are factors that impact our quest for love. Together, these factors create the illusion that “the right” partner is just around the corner. In our area [New York] many educated, attractive people complain that in the Big Apple it is not possible to find a partner. Manhattan has the highest percentage of single people in any county in America. [Except Kalauppa, one of the islands of Maloka, Hawaii – which is leprosy colony. People there range in age from 73 to 93].

What forces keep people apart in our city? When sociologists analyzed the ads from dating sites in major metropolises in the USA, they noticed that New Yorkers are the choosiest people in the country. Simply speaking, they are the most demanding, and they have the highest expectations. New Yorkers have the highest number of criteria for their potential mates. Obviously single people in our area are blinded by the enormous number of possible choices they face. A typical intro on a woman’s dating profile might read, “I love everything that New York can offer. My potential partner must be attractive, 5.9” tall, financially independent, healthy, age between 27 and 35”.  But women aren’t the only ones who require a lot from their potential partners. One lawyer [a man] was surprised at his failure to find a partner. And yet, on his dating profile, he listed 27 qualities that a woman must have before he would consider dating them.

More and more details and attributes are required in order to enroll in any dating service. In theory this selectivity should help you find your “dream partner”. In practice, it creates a high level of expectation, and “decision fatigue” — the two states of mind that impair your decision-making ability.

What did we learn from the data today? Let me put it this way: “Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses, and start making changes by making better choices.”

Beauty

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Discobolus – Discus Thrower

Today we are going to examine the idea of beauty.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But in fact, this phrase over-simplifies a complex concept. Beauty is not determined only by the individual observer; it’s a concept which is shaped, stretched, and formed by the whole of society. And additionally by evolution.

And in fact, the idea of beauty has changed throughout the course of human history. The oldest known depicted beauty is the Venus of Willendorf, a paleolithic sculpture of a woman which dates back to at least 25,000BC. The current idea of beauty may be best represented by Thylane Blondeau, the French model who was named the most beautiful face of 2018. At a glance, we can see that the Venus of Willendorf and Thylane Blondeau have very different functions. The Venus of Willendorf glorifies fertility and motherhood, while Thylane is a fashion icon who glorifies a globe-trotting, materialistic lifestyle. And yet these are not the only forms of beauty. Over the centuries, religion has proposed its own, very different notion of what beauty is. Look at Michalangelo’s “Pieta,” for example: Mary’s tragic, self-denying beauty is very different from either the Venus of Willendorf or Thylane Blondeau.

The question then arises: What idea of beauty should we extract from the noise, the misleading information, and the commercials that bombard us, turning everything – and everyone – into a commodity?

For our purposes, we are going to arbitrary build our framework of beauty in ancient Greece. Like every arbitrary decision, this has lot of weak elements. But it is good enough as a starting point. And here is why:

Nowhere in the Western Hemisphere was the idea of the human body depicted more gloriously than in ancient Greece. Just look at the Discobolus of Myron [Discus Thrower]. It depicts a man of action and vitality, full of energy and ready to rise meet any challenge. It is a perfect example of how classical Greek society glorified training, sacrifice, strength, health and movement. Beautiful sculptures like the Discobolus were displayed in public places in order to motivate the public to work on their physical fitness; these sculptures were used as role models for ordinary Greek citizens.

The classical Greek ideal of beauty brought together many of the elements needed today in our quest for “Creative Dating”. Those elements include self-confidence, the ability to protect others, readiness to sacrifice present pleasure for the sake of future success, hard work, and the ability to surmount anxiety to have a chance to present ourselves in glory. It is there that we find an element of potential victory. Classical Greece also teaches us the perspective that the human body has God’s qualities, and God’s beauty. This can suggest to us that, perhaps if we are god-like creatures, then we need to rise to our fullest potential by becoming heroes and following the path to glory and perfection. In other words, we all need to work to become the best possible versions of ourselves, because we contain the qualities of the gods imprinted within us.

The gods in ancient Greece had an important role to play. They made their capricious presence felt everywhere. They interfered with human existence and often changed the whole trajectory of individual lives. They were able to transform human life into an endless string of victories — but they could also create a deep misery that was virtually  impossible to bear. It’s important for us to maintain, and even strengthen, our awareness of the fact that there are forces far stronger than us. The unpredictability and capriciousness of the gods turns human beings into mere puppets. Remember, for example, the Journey of Odysseus who spent 10 years struggling to get home so that he could embrace Penelope.

In our “Creative Dating” sessions, we will anchor ourselves in the wisdom of ancient Greece, from which we are going to borrow many useful ideas. It will be our reference point. Some of the Greek ideas are challenging, such as the emphasis on cultivating a fit body. Some of them are self-reflective, like “know yourself,” the axiom which commands us to to know who we are and where we are going. We need to also remember that every journey may take some time. But as we already know “Great things take time”. We aim to get the best from our dating, don’t we?