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The Depths of Beauty, an interview with Dr. David Seaburn

David B. Seaburn is a writer. His sixth novel, Parrot Talk, was released by Black Rose Writing in May 2017. Seaburn is also a retired marriage and family therapist, psychologist and minister. He spent the majority of his professional career at the University of Rochester (Rochester NY, USA) as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine. He also writes a blog for Psychology Today magazine (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/going-out-not-knowing)

If you’re willing to also read his article here’s the link :https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/going-out-not-knowing/201706/where-is-the-beauty-in-all-ugliness

parrot talk
“Parrot Talk”

 

 

Now that we got the chance to meet each other, let’s jump into what I thought it would be nice to ask him about beauty 🙂

 

 

Q1: What do you think is the easiest way of displaying beauty? What about the most commonly used?

“I don’t think there is an “easiest way” to display beauty. The most common ways of displaying it often settle for “prettiness” rather than beauty and, consequently, make it difficult for us to recognise beauty even when it is right before our eyes. Beauty has more to do with depths than surfaces. It has to do with bringing out what is most excellent in our experience or our world. Portraying it in ways that make fall silent with recognition and appreciation.  We have to train our eyes to see beauty, whether it blossoms from an act of kindness or defiance, or from a painting or poem.”

 

Q2: Do you think that suffering always turns out to create beauty?

“No, not always; at least not immediately. When I look at the suffering of refugees around the world, for example, the broad landscape of it, it is hard to find any beauty in such injustice. Yet, if we look closely at the small stories inside of it, where individuals and groups reach out to those whose hands are open and waiting, we can find beauty when they meet. It takes witnessing and then expressing in order to create beauty out of suffering. Much Holocaust literature, for example, written by witnesses (victims) who detailed the horror and humanity of their experience, is beautiful, despite its roots in ugliness and cruelty.”

 

Q3: What is your favourite Van Gogh painting and why?

Starry Night

“Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam where you can follow the evolution of his work. Like many other people, Starry Night, is my favorite. I recently had the chance to view it again, this time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where I took time to simply stand and look. The layered paint and sturdy strokes, the vision of the pre-dawn sky, the burst of swirling color, the village awaiting the day, are magical. It is made all the more stunning by the fact that van Gogh witnessed this scene from his window at the asylum in southern France where he had gone to recuperate from the physical and mental anguish he had suffered throughout his life. And yet, he was still able to create beauty, a protection from and product of his suffering.”

 

Q4: Do you think you spread beauty as you go through life?

“No! I don’t think it works that way. When I write, I try to speak to what it means to be human, what it means to be a regular person struggling with and celebrating life. If there is beauty in my writing, it is only because someone else reads it and experiences it as such. I am just trying to write a good story.”

 

Q5: How do you/would you pursue true beauty? 

“I try to remain true to what is important in life—loss, hope, conflict, beginnings, relationships, love, estrangement, humor, sadness—and what happens to people when they experience these aspects of living. If I do that, then I feel I am going in the right direction; that I am pointing toward beauty. Whether I ever reach it, is up to others to conclude.”

 

Q6: Could we ever appreciate beauty without ugliness existing? And also, isn’t a very little part of it pretty too?

“This is a hard question. If there was no ugliness, would we be able to recognise beauty? Do we benefit from the juxtaposition of beauty and ugliness? I think we do. Beauty is “news of a difference,” which is to say that, while beauty may emerge from ugliness, at one and the same time, it stands apart from ugliness. It is simultaneously “a part of” and “apart from” the ugliness of life. It would follow that “a very little part of” ugliness can be made beautiful. An artist can take items from a trash heap and make a composition that has balance and nuance and emotional effect, thus turning items of waste or ugliness into art or beauty.”

 

Q7: Throughout your life, was there an ugliest moment that actually turned out to somehow enchant you?

“I was alone with my father when he died. It wasn’t planned that way. It just occurred. He was very ill and not expected to live very much longer. I sat at his bedside in the hospital listening to his every breath. They were laboured, with long gaps between them. I remember that I felt relieved when he took a breath and then became anxious during the long wait until he took another. This went on for a while, until there was no ‘next breath’; I sat with my anxiety until it turned into sadness. I spoke to him and held his hand and took in the beautifully unimaginable silence. It was one of the most painful and exhilarating experiences of my life. Subsequently, I have written and published about my father’s death, and the experience has played an important role in my understanding of loss, which is a critical element in all of my novels.”

Q8: Does every (human) being hold beauty and splendour within them?

“Yes, I think human beings are essentially beautiful although many of us are quite broken, so broken that sometimes only the ugliness shows through. I think healing and change and wholeness are always possible, but not always achieved. The beauty is there, though, no matter how difficult it may be to see it.”

 

Q9: Will we ever be able, as people, to see beyond the curtain that hides the rubbish and damage, and get in touch with the actual grand reasons (ugly or not) for which today’s disasters happen? And how would we regard them as afterwards? 

“This is another very difficult question! And, I am no expert. The simplest answer is that some people will be able to “see” beyond the mess we have made, and some, despite their best efforts, will not, and others won’t even recognise the importance of trying to see at all; they will be satisfied with seeing from only a single viewpoint. Therein lies much of the problem. To see beyond the “rubbish” means being able to see something from every side all at once. By doing so, one is able to recognise how every perspective makes sense, even when those perspectives are completely opposed to each other. This recognition can lead to dialogue; and dialogue can lead to coming together; and coming together can lead to accepting differences; and accepting differences can lead to the kind of diversity of understanding that is the seedbed of creativity, which in turns opens the path to beauty.

I am a realist, though, and given the state of things in the world today, with terrorism, for example, and leadership that is coarse and willfully ignorant, I am not hopeful that I will see such changes in my lifetime, but perhaps in the lifetime of my grandchildren.”

 

Q10: What is beauty though?

“When we are able to reach into the depth of our shared humanity and draw out the light, the shining essence that can’t be extinguished, that is beauty.”

 

As a conclusion, why I chose Dr Seaburn for my interview was especially this relaxed and understandable atmosphere he managed to achieve when writing. I loved his way of interpreting and viewing what surrounded him. In the end, I was definitely not disappointed when receiving the answers.

30 Comments

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  1. I think this probably is the most giving and fun QnA I`ve ever read myself! It is so positive, and personally I feel like most of us need to be reminded of what beauty really is, which I feel these questions do. Even tho I feel like there’s still a lot to question and add to it. Like, art and psychology go a lot hand in hand. I get the impression that many of those who like art, like psychology too (and reverse). Question 2 can also be judged in other ways too, like what about mental health? Are there more likely to make beautiful paintings if you are sad, heartbroken or depressed? Does good art come from positivity/happiness at all? I would love to read other articles too, about art, and how it is linked to emotions and science! Pain is now more often to be romanticized, and have always kind of been that, when it comes to art and emotions. Is that even true? I would love going even more in details about art, what beauty is and human feelings around both art and beauty.
    This kicked of my reflection skills, and as beauty is one of my favorite subjects, I`ll probably find even more questions in not so long. Anyone others who agree with me?
    May-Elin A.

  2. Hi Daniela, this is my first time learning about Dr. Seaburn, and it was interesting to hear his take on the meanings of beauty and ugliness. Going into the interview after reading the intro, I still felt very unfamiliar with Dr. Seaburn’s work and the context it holds significance within.

    Here are some questions and comments I that have that could further flesh out the article: What prompted the interview with Dr. Seaburn? What branch of psychology does he specialize in, if any, and has he contributed any significant research or writings to said branch? Have you read any of his works before the interview? This would allow much more in-depth interview questions and a greater understanding for the reader of what Dr. Seaburn’s work covers. Is there anyone else whose writing or research overlap with his?

    The definition of beauty can be vague and subjective depending on the reader. Since it came up so much in the questions, I think the interview would have benefited from having the definition in the beginning, rather than at the end.

    Also, if a reader were more interested in learning about Dr. Seaburn’s work, what other resources or references would you suggest? This would be an alternate way to end the article, along with any of your closing thoughts.

  3. Many people tend to focus on problems and write articles accordingly. However, this article simply brigns some kind of joy and positivity.
    I was very pleased to find out that Dr. Seaburn knows how to look at art and see much deeper story than what can be concluded juat by looking at the piece. I like that hr finds a greater meaning in it. “A protection from and product of his suffering.” – that is how he described beauty through Van Gogh’s artwork.
    “I try to remain true to what is important in life—loss, hope, conflict, beginnings, relationships, love, estrangement, humor, sadness.” I think that is really important since most people nowadays spend their days chasing money and materialistic goods that they forget how to enjoy true emotions, wheather they are positive or negative.
    Dr. Also said: “I think human beings are essentially beautiful although many of us are quite broken.” I am aware that perfectly healthy people without much worry on their mind are definitely the rarest kind. However, thats is no excuse for not appreciating beauty that surrounds us. We are always on our quest to improve ourselves, our relationships and also make a world a greater place so I believe that first step towards improvement – showing love

    • It’s great you brought this up especially about adhedonia when you feel almost apathic to everything. Perhaps, it’s linked to not doing enough outside activities and the face to face interaction that people miss out on. Wonder if there’s a link.

  4. I truly liked this. I never really thought seriously about the meaning of beauty, nor what is the difference with prettiness. This interview made me think about a lot of things now. Like I feel now I have to reevaluate if things or situations that I called ugly before, are really ugly or was just my perception or pre-considerations about that.

    One of my favorite parts was the “If there was no ugliness, would we be able to recognise beauty?” I think ugliness and beauty don’t exist by themself, its the perspective of the human being. So the question could be if humans couldn’t differentiate between ugly and beauty, how we would see the world? Maybe we would be indifferent to everything since we couldn’t enjoy or criticize when something stands out.

    A contradiction for me was question 2, if suffering creates beauty. The answer was “No, not always; at least not immediately” and it goes from there. Doesnt that mean that you can always obtain beauty but sometimes the beauty came out after a while in one way or another?

    The fun thing is if I read this again in a few days, in a few months or next year, I’ll understand it differently for sure.

  5. Perhaps it is because I am a bit of a pessimist that I found this an okay read. I’d love to hear more about your opinions and not just David’s. I felt unsatisfied after reading the article.

    Do you think his answers were cliched and perhaps very “author-like”? Would you tell us more about your opinion on beauty? I felt that the writing was a bit detached since there wasn’t a strong introduction paragraph. Was there a reason why you picked David B. Seaburn to interview? Do any of his novels have to do with beauty? How did you feel about his answers about beauty? Did you benefit from this interview in any way?

    The formatting of the article should be more consistent and clean. For example, the questions are bolded, yet Q6 is not bolded. The spacing is also a little irregular and at the beginning where David B. Seabird is introduced, the link should be imbedded into the “Psychology Today” for readers’ easy access.

    I wonder if the article should have had quotation marks for all his answers. It is obvious that his answers have been transcribed, however, perhaps you should consider indenting the paragraphs that are his answers.

  6. The Lotus Flower, and other water lily varieties, such as our orange Oregon Wocus, only grow in mud.
    The Lotus, is symbolic of beauty growing out of ugliness, and necessary ugliness.
    The interview discusses beauty as a philosophy or belief system. The importance of recognizing it, without asking “why” questions.
    Perhaps, beauty isn’t an analysis, but just is.

  7. While I believe David had some interesting responses on to the essence of beauty and how it could be referred to in a philosophical sense, I felt this article lacked an argument. Because you had interviewed him, I realize that a set structure was already made. However, if you had tweaked this structure and incorporated your own thoughts into the article (beyond questions that may have acted as a rebuttle) the article would have much more depth to it.
    A wonderful thing about the philosophy behind beauty is that it lacks a concrete answer. Prose authors, artists, sculptors, thinkers and poets have all spent a lifetime (potentially) attempting to create or discuss beauty in some way. Incorporating various medians would have been a very interesting spin on the topic. I realize you asked about Van Gogh who is a wonderful example of finding beauty in an unpleasant situation, however would you consider examining other forms of art? For instance, the ancient Greeks had several different standards for the perfect and most beautiful man, this would be really cool to explore.
    Overall, the topic was very interesting and it had some good insight but it could use some more variety.
    I wanted to leave you with one of my favorite quotes about beauty. It is from a John Keats poem called Ode to a Grecian Urn: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know”

  8. This was fascinating. I love that he immediately drew a line between prettiness and beauty. I loved his insights into the human soul and how that is where beauty can be found. I loved his refusal to romanticize pain and say that while pain and suffering aren’t beautiful, beauty can be found around them.

    I think this article will inspire people to take a good hard look at the world around them and really think about all that they see. They could look for the beauty around them or simply look at the world in a more reflective way and become more mindful.

    I would love to know more about Dr. Seaburn and wish his introduction was a little longer and more detailed. It was slightly rushed. I’d like to know more about his work other than Parrot Talk as well as know more about that book and his background in psychology.

    Other than that, this is a great article that opens up the mind and introduces us to an amazing thinker.

  9. I really loved this interview. While the only interwoven theme I see it just a discussion of beauty, I don’t think that detracts from its importance. Many people are focused on “gains” and possessions and superficial opinions of others that they lose the meaning of beauty. I absolutely loved that a distinction was made between beauty and “prettiness”.

    One thing I would have liked is for there to be one or two more questions, possibly asking questions about the feelings unique only to seeing something beautiful and defining more of what beauty is. Also, the question was asked what the ugliest thing Seaburn had ever seen, but the question of the most beautiful thing he has ever seen was not asked.

    Overall, I love the topic of this interview and only could ask for more.

  10. The fact that beauty in the interview was not limited to a physical attribute is such an excellent and true take on the concept. Someone’s kindness, demeanor, and intelligence can be an excellent source of beauty. Seaburn mentioned depth in his interview and this is all so key to a person’s beauty. That they have depth and meaning. I find that a person has the most depth when they are passionate about something. Nothing is more beautiful than when you are talking to a person who is going on about something that they love.

    Although, I do find beauty in physical appearances, just in all appearances. I have had this discussion with my father before, who is quick to judge on physical appearance, or maybe that’s just his way of being “funny.” He would immediately tell me if someone was ugly to him and I tried to argue that I find every person beautiful because physicality is so unique and so different in every way that I find beauty in the fact that every human being is structured in his or her own particular way. I used to love drawing as a kid so this may be coming from the former artist in me.

    Depth is seen again in your second question when you ask about suffering. Seaburn mentions that suffering on a big picture level can only be seen as horrendous but when you look at it on a deeper level and see the individual stories in that broad suffering and how you can see people helping each other to survive, that is where you see beauty in the human condition.

    Your third question is very relevant to the main topic but it is sometimes hard to see why from the way your question is phrased. Maybe it would have been good to transition it a little better, for example: Art is a great example of beauty and many artists create beautiful masterpieces from their own suffering, Van Gogh is a great example of this situation, what is your favorite Van Gogh painting and why?

    It might just be me but I don’t quite understand the phrasing of question four: do you truly go around and spread beauty or you think you do. I understand you’re asking if Seaburn believes that he actively spreads beauty but I do not understand the “or you think you do” because “or” implies a different meaning but “or you think you do” states the same thing.

    Question number 6 is very insightful as it is hard to appreciate something if it’s opposite does not exist, would the original concept even exist? It is also important to note that you can take something that is ugly and make it beautiful. This concept is also very difficult to understand because “ugly” and “beautiful” are very subjective and are different for each individual.

    I love the last point that Seaburn made which is that opposition does not have to be bad, if utilized appropriately. Opposition leads to a discussion, which can allow both parties to learn new things about what they are talking about. Dialogue and discussion is extremely important to humans as it helps us develop into more intelligent and intellectual beings. It gives us different points of view and prevents us from becoming close-minded or more close-minded than we already are. It can lead to a beautiful understanding of one another.

    This was vey interesting article and I am so glad that I read it! It’s so refreshing to see other people’s points of view on these kinds of topics!

  11. I love the vulnerability Dr. Seaburn showed in his answers during this interview. What I loved most was when he tried to thwart associating beauty with his writing, but still acknowledged that other people may find his writing beautiful because of how much it impacts them.

    Beauty, as this interview’s title implies, has depths. And there is no straightforward way to go about it, because people are innately complex, and their depths are infinite as well. That said, people may not understand beauty in its entirety, which makes it harder for them to be receptive to it.

    Dr. Seaburn spoke of wars as examples of ugliness, and I would like to list an example of another kind of war, a war waged against the self. One of my friends thinks herself ugly because of the scars she makes on her skin, or the gaping hole in her chest demanding just a little bit of love.

    I think that, like me, you would disagree.

    Her struggle is not beautiful. Her pain is not beautiful. But she emerges, and she fights to emerge, still, from the pits of darkness she consistently finds herself in.

    That’s beautiful.


    Editor’s notes:

    I would like to suggest the author to ask Dr. Seaburg, for he spoke of ugliness being just somewhat as enchanting as beauty: Would you go as far as saying that ugliness and beauty are two sides of the same coin?

    Some of the questions in this interview could have been phrased better:

    Instead of “Do you truly go around and spread beauty or you think you do?”
    Consider: “Do you think you spread beauty as you go through your life?”

    Instead of “Does every (human) being hold beauty and splendour within it?”
    Consider: “Do every being on this planet hold beauty and splendour within them?”

    And there was a little typographical error at the beginning of this interview, which wouldn’t have gone unnoticed and would’ve been a red flag for nitpicky readers: “What do you think –it’s– the easiest way of displaying beauty? What about the most commonly used?” (Emphasized word should be replaced with “is.”)

    For further reading, I would suggest checking out articles about Jessica Kaufman’s “Panopticon.” Kaufman had spent months taking numerous photographs showing the horror of the Holocaust. This is related to how Dr. Seaburg had tackled the subject of beauty, in this interview.

    -Jane

  12. People are always told that the perceptions of beauty are in the eye of the beholder. Though many things in society can tell us otherwise when there are certain standards that have developed overtime due to commercialism and the highly edited, altered media. David B. Seaburn really hit the nail on the head when he talked about how we have settled on a standard that makes it hard to even see or recognize beauty because of that.

    Beauty comes in various forms and ways. Whether it be natural formations on this earth or the act of giving to someone in need. The ideas of what stories we undergo through struggle and development build to create us up as individuals in multitudes of beauty. How we can connect and share with our levels of struggle, being broken and putting ourselves together to get up and keep going.

    Connection is a beautiful thing to have with someone you can identify with and to share parts of your soul. It’s hard to be open, vulnerable and feel good enough in a society that throws so much at us to easily give up and to have the drive to keep going on. I really love the fact that David B. Seaburn described that he doesn’t just write for the beauty of it, but what it means to connect with others also going through the experiences as he does with the experiences life gives us.

  13. What I gathered from this interview was that beauty is a measurement of depths and humanity. Today, I believe this is especially relevant because of issues like terrorism and the refugee crisis that spur ugly reactions (xenophobia, racism, isolationism). I agree with Seaburn that the juxtaposition of ugliness versus beauty is crucial so that we can recognize both.

    I actually liked the questioning pertaining to Seaburn’s favorite Van Gogh painting a lot. It connected to a wider audience, allowing a larger range of people to understand Seaburn’s interpretation of beauty. With that said, I believe this interview tries to define an abstract concept, what is beauty? This interview does a great job of defining a definition, that of Seaburn’s, by referencing his experiences and using many examples and explanations, even mentioning current events.

    I think maybe the questions could have been sequenced differently allowing for more flow of the interview. For instance, grouping the Van Gogh question and the ‘What is Beauty?’ question to allow for precedence throughout the rest of the reading. Even so, I loved this interview!

  14. The answers David Seaburn give in this interview seem all complicated and almost contradictory. I think that just proves to show how vulnerable the idea of beauty and ugliness really is. Especially when he speaks about his father’s death, you can tell how complex the idea is–after all, how can someone find beauty when in the face of death? It is something that can’t be defined, but felt. Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, it is in the soul, just as Seaburn says.

    I particularly enjoyed how candid Seaburn was. The questions presented to him are ones that only experience can answer. No amount of studying or preparing will help find the answer. There are no experts who can define what beauty is and explain how and where and when to find it. It just simply is where it is.

  15. Wow! These questions were really deep, and the answers were even deeper. I was at a loss of words when I read, “If there is beauty in my writing, it is only because someone else reads it and experiences it as such. I am just trying to write a good story.” I think it’s so amazing when people are able to see the beauty in things that aren’t normally beautiful to others. It’s such a deep connection and understanding to have. It’s quite beautiful actually to have that. I’ve always been someone who thrives on deeper connections, and to be able to read this, it felt like I was there in the room listening to this conversation. It’s truly remarkable how beautiful things can be when you can be open minded and creative.

  16. The questions were very rich and thought-provoking. Personally, I answered the questions before I read Dr. Seaburn’s answers, and I found that most of my answers were very similar to his.
    I, too, believe that beauty is not a shallow word. It is a powerful word that can describe the deepest parts of people, illustrations, books or poetry. One cannot see beauty right away; eyes need to be trained to find it, and minds needs to be trained to recognize it.
    My personal favorite Van Gogh piece is The Potato Eaters. It gives people a glance of the somber lives of the less fortunate and their conditions. To deliver the message psychologically, Van Gogh used a dull palette.
    I do not necessarily agree with Dr. Seaburn’s answer to the fourth question. Sometimes, an act, such as writing a book or creating a painting, needs to be appreciated to become beautiful, which might take a long time. Other times, acts, such as giving a chocolate bar to a random stranger on the street or giving a homeless person a makeover, are appreciated and considered beautiful instantly.
    Beauty cannot be recognized without having ugliness to compare it to. Just like Frankie Ballard said, “bad times make the good ones better”.

  17. It was a brilliant idea to focus on a topic as complex, subjective and abstract as the idea of beauty, because the idea of what true beauty is, is such a prevalent concept in society; searching for it dominates just about every aspect of life whether or not we find it can depend on the individual.

    I can’t see much that would need improvement if I’m honest and I would go as far as to say that this article is beautiful in itself, but perhaps you could incorporate some questions more related to his writing.

  18. The way I see it in this article, the definition of beauty is quite generalized and is mostly in regards to life. Nevertheless, I loved how Dr. Seaburn answered the questions that were handed to him despite the complexity of the ideas that were thrown at him. To me, beauty will always be one of my favorite topics to discuss especially when we’re talking about the depths of it, and not the ones which people normally regard to as something which only reaches the naked eye. This interview can be an eye opener for everyone because it tells us that despite the dark sides which continually exist in this life, beauty will always be present no matter what. It is important that people know of this so that they would be able to handle negativism in their life successfully. Seeing beauty amidst the ugliness in whatever situation equals that of choosing to look on the brighter side of things, and I believe that that is one of the necessary attitudes we, people, should learn to have amidst all the crises that
    are happening in our world.

  19. Wow! This man had such a BEAUTIFUL way of answering the questions! (Haha –see what I did there?)
    For the longest time in my life I had trouble seeing the beauty in things, people..life… Until I met someone who was working really hard for what he wanted. I was living a very privileged life and was completely unaware of the resources I had until he opened up my eyes. He came from a very poor family in DR, was living on his own in NY and was supporting himself. I was living with my parents going to school and not even paying attention in class… This guy was working really hard to be a PA and I was snoozing away..It wasn’t until he asked me what my life purpose was that I started thinking.
    Once I started thinking for myself, I began to realize how privileged I was..and how I had all the resources available to m and was not even making use of them. I quickly changed my ways and decided to study psychology. This is the best decision I have made; it has changed me only for the better.
    The fact that this guy was working so hard for what he wanted was beautiful and the fact that it had an impact on me was even more beautiful!

  20. Seeing beauty is all a matter of perception, wether it’s with your eyes of with something else. You technically go through several stages to perceive something (your eyes, the nerves conducting the message to your brain, where again several zones are involved : visual areas to construct the image, and then other areas to finally interpret, understand, what you see). In the end, wathever you see, psychology is involved, and you always understand what you perceive in the light of your memories, your knowledge of the world, your mood, etc.
    That’s where beauty comes from. A lot of elements work together to let you decide if what you see is beautiful or not ! This complex mechanism explains how everybody can have different visions about what’s beautiful and what’s not.
    Anyway, I like the way Dr Seaburn lets us understand that you can see beauty even in ugliness. It really is all about that change of perspective.
    We are still left with a lot of questions. One of them could be : should we even see beauty in everything ? Or is it important to have some ugliness left, because ugly things are the ones we want to change, in order to make them beautiful ?

  21. Excellent choice of topic. In my opinion, there can be no right answer to most of these questions, subjective as the matters of the abstract can be.

    I feel most of the questions didn’t have a particularly right answer. The most common interpretation of “beauty lies in the eye of the beholder,” as I have heard, implies that the definition of beauty given by every individual is different. Some find beauty in love, some in faith, some even find it in pain (me included).

    Now many people would be horrified by the thought of finding beauty in pain, and immediately term off these individuals as “sadists,” since as humans we find immense comfort in being able to objectively label everyone and everything. But, as you may have guessed, it is not so. There are people who get tattoos not for the “aesthetic” purpose but simply for the pain. Pain shows you’re alive, for you can feel, and is one of the most primal senses as an animal. If that is where someone finds their calling of beauty so be it.
    Quoting post-hardcore band, Pierce the Veil,
    “you know the only way to cure pain is add a little more,
    Because everything new distracts you from the old. ”
    Many tribes hold painful rituals as a sort of ” coming of age” rite, for the ability to bear pain for a cause shows growth as a person, the will to make sacrifices for it. Battle scars are held as a mark of pride, to show these sacrifices someone made for a cause such as their country. Indeed, many people find beauty in this. Now I do not support or condemn such cultures or behaviour, it merely helps me as an extended example to support my claim that beauty is subjective.

    All in all, good article, Dr. Seaburn’s answers were thoughtful and thought-provoking at the same time. Your introduction and conclusion were adept at framing the interview for a better overall picture for any reader, and I commend you for that.

  22. Dr. Seaburn provided an interesting and optimistic perspective on the nature of beauty and its mode of transmission, reception, internalization etc. However, as he talks about the many different perspectives available through which one may “see” beauty, we must acknowledge this his is but one perspective of those many. His conception of beauty and ugliness makes it seem as though the two are mutually exclusive, inherent characteristics of objects. But of course, beauty is subjective and truly is in the eye of the beholder. Seaburn identifies beauty as the the absence of ugliness, however, many see “ugliness” itself as beauty. Even more basic, what one person sees as ugliness, another could consider beauty. To talk about the depth of beauty, then, is to talk about the depth of human emotion, perception, rationale, etc. The philosophical nature of beauty is dynamic and fluid, one which has spacial, temporal, and spiritual ground.

  23. In my personal opinion, this article is rather reminiscent of a blog post, rather than an interview-based article. The asking of what Dr. Seaburn’s favorite Van Gogh painting seems very juvenile, and it seems somewhat like the author is restricting Dr. Seaburn to the post-impressionist style of painting by Van Gogh rather than other works and styles of art. The article would prosper immensely from adopting a far more professional air, and to include scientific facts and citations of reliable studies between different quotes from Dr. Seaburn to perhaps assist his opinion, since he did not cite specific works when referring to things such as Holocaust literature. I feel that the author would prosper from refraining from more narrative, personal perspectives and to become more professional and ‘business like’ when interviewing specialists such as Dr. Seaburn in the future. However, it was enlightening to understand more interpretations of beauty past societal standards and expectations. This article, despite this, seems more opinionated and less scientifically based and the headline should perhaps convey such.

  24. i think he is right about finding beauty in ugliness. especially when you’re going through tough times, the beauty can be figuring out a way to get past those tough times. Sadly not everyone can bring that beauty out but like he said it’s definitely there. in society today, especially with teens, being pretty and beautiful is being looked at as beauty. but like he said its more deeper than that. do you think the concept of beauty is the same in all societies? if not, how might other societies differ?

  25. First of all, I just wanted to say that Starry Night is one of my favorite paintings, I even have a large canvas of it in my home so I was super excited to see that it was the authors favorite Van Gogh painting as well! The topic of beauty is something that I think about often and discuss with close friends of mine. Being a woman myself, I find myself feeling very insecure and constantly shaken by society’s standard of beauty. I always think I’m not skinny enough, pretty enough, or feminine enough. I always tell myself that it doesn’t matter what others think but it is almost an automatic response when I am presented with articles and videos by the media.

    There is a close friend of mine and whenever I hang out with her, she points out almost everyone she sees in the street and says “wow they are so beautiful.” Half the time I say, “Girl what is wrong with you?” but then I think wow, my friend is so wonderful in the way that she can see beauty in every person she passes by daily. It makes me want to live a less superficial life and accept the beauty I was given and be proud and confident with myself.

  26. The answers that Mr. Seaburn provided were beautiful in their own way. He approaches life philosophically and provides amazing advice that everyone should consider. I personally have a difficult time finding the beauty in between the ugly; however, his example of the refugees brings up a great point.

    The article definitely left me feeling more hopeful towards the beautiful and the ugly in life, but as for the question about pursuing “true beauty” could have been phrased better. The term “true beauty” sounds too complex to be chased about. Nonetheless, the answer Mr. Seaburn gave was eloquently put. I also suggest that as for your 10th question of “What is beauty though?” could be elaborated. I feel that he answered this question continuously throughout the rest of the interview. If anything, the first question should be: “For the sake of this interview, how do you define beauty?” Otherwise, I really enjoyed reading it!

  27. In my opinion this is a very interesting topic, people have very unique perspectives on beauty and the questions targeted that. The questions are general and are asking Dr Seaburn’s perspective on beauty and ugliness, his answers are almost poetic. I find the comparisons between the beauty and ugliness to be relevant, as Dr Seaburn said “If there was no ugliness, would we be able to recognise beauty?” A thought provoking question for the audience. Overall this interview is well written, both the questions and answers leave the reader thinking about it for quite some time. Great read.

  28. This article is soo good written, it is so positive and realistic. I love it, every single word. I love the way Mr. Seaburn sees beauty, not as some superficially thing, and I also think that beauty is far more than the way we look. Art is beautfiul, even when it shows something ugly, it is beautiful because it represents something, some emotion, some situations, someones state of soul. And it is a real shame that we don’t encourage people to do more art (paintings, poems, music.. any form of art), because art can help us a lot more in life when it’s hard, so role of art is not just being beautiful, it is so much more than that. I would really like to read more about Mr. Seaburn work, and his view of beauty, art… This article left me without any additional questions , but just a hope I will read something more like this in general.

  29. This article and the interview were really really good. Most of the things Seaburn discussed were things I already knew. As he mention throughout the interview, I am a realist. Beauty goes far deeper than the yes can see, all senses are needed in order to truly admire something. Full attention and an open-mind are also required to embrace beauty to its roots. I do love how Seaburn brought up the concept of ugliness. Ugliness is not limited to physical features but something inside all of us. To an extent (and of curse varies among individuals) there is something dark and selfish about us, and that makes us ugly. To embrace every aspect of ourselves is the first step into accepting not only ourselves but others.

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