Typos p. 152: preferable [= preferably]; p. 164: di ease [= disease]; p. 169: cogenital [= congenital]; p. 171: cogenital [= congenital]; p. 171: cogenital [= congenital]; p. 172: cogenital [= congenital]; p. 172: thoery [= theory]; p. 173: cogenital [= congenital]; p. 174: cogenitally [= congenitally]; p. 192, n. 4: TWO GENTLEMEN VERONA [= TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA]
The More Fundamental Desiderata
3. Beauty and Ugliness (Generally Considered)
I closed the last chapter with general conclusions as they affect national policy. I have now to state how the findings of the last two chapters affect the individual in the choice of a mate.
Some readers may think I have gone to unnecessarily great pains in order to establish the case in favour of inbreeding and incest. When, however, they appreciate the momentousness of the conclusions I am now enabled to draw, and which had to be drawn with certainty before I could continue my task, they will agree that the undertaking was both necessary and justified in a book of this nature.
The conclusions from Chapters II and III which affect the individual are:
(1) That no argument can be derived from either history, anthropology, or biology, in favour of the marriage of dissimilar or unlike mates; consequently that all the popular tags and superstitions recommending this practice are due to modern degenerate notions and the democratic bias against blood, tradition and family pride. 1
All people should, therefore, try as far as possible to select their like in mating. This is an instinctive impulse in both normal men and animals, but in modern man it has become corrupted through sickness and false doctrine.
Strictly speaking, my book might and should end here. For the precept, "Marry your like!" seems all-sufficient, and there can be nothing to add.
The precept, as it stands, however, is not clear or fool-proof. In the first place, because in the highly differentiated stocks of modern Europe and America, "like" must remain an elastic term capable of only approximate application even among
1 See R.H., pp. 2324, where Rice speaks in warm support of pride in family and its importance.
Furthermore, as ignorance concerning human points may, and undoubtedly does, extend so far as to make people to-day unaware of their own position in the scale of desirability, a detailed discourse on human morphology may remove many of the obstacles to that precise knowledge of self, which is an essential prerequisite of choosing one's like.
(2) That there is no valid biological or eugenic argument against the marriage of near relatives. If there is any sense (only from the sentimental standpoint) in forbidding such marriages, it is confined wholly to unsound stocks. On the other hand, although, by prohibited degrees, to force such stocks to marry outside their own families with sound, strange stocks may be the saving of the progeny of their marriages, this, as we have seen, is at the expense of sound stocks; because such mixed marriages of sound and unsound merely spread and conceal taints without getting rid of them, and therefore pollute sound stocks. So that in ultimate analysis, the law of exogamy is a means of sacrificing the sound to the unsound.
It should be everybody's aim, therefore, especially if he or she is sound, to marry as close a relative as possible. As, however, for the moment', the laws and prejudice prevent the choice of any one nearer than a first cousin, it should be a sacred rule in healthy stocks (until the laws are altered) to marry at least a cousin (preferable a first cousin), or failing that, to seek out a mate who individually, and in his or her stock, is as like oneself as possible.
The corollary to this is, that any member of an unsound stock who refuses to marry a relative and attempts to marry into a sound family, should be regarded as a conspirator, trying to undermine that family's soundness.
(3) We have seen regarding human appearance:
(b) That ugliness or disharmony and asymmetry is a bad sign, and is to be considered as a warning against mating. It is so frequently the result of constitutional disharmony or degeneration, as to make it unsafe to believe, even when evidence to this effect is to hand, that the ugly person is really an exception to the rule. Even the ugly or asymmetrical member of a stock, otherwise consisting of good-looking people, is likely to be the result of disharmony of inherited characters, and as this disharmony is not necessarily confined to the features of the face, such ugly or asymmetrical people are to be regarded as disharmonious throughout, and therefore discarded.
No argument about their possessing beautiful souls, or about their ugliness or asymmetry not being their fault, should prevail against this rule.
(c) That beauty, apart from the reason to be adduced in the elaboration of this section below, must, in any case, be sought and pursued in the choice of a mate, because as we have seen, harmony, both physical and psychical, is impossible without it. But, to escape the danger mentioned under (d) an individual's beauty should be checked and, as it were, verified, by a reference to that individual's stock. It is essential, therefore, even when dealing with a beautiful person as a possible mate, to find out about his or her family, and to see as many of his or her relatives as are accessible.
(d) That looks, however beautiful, are not in themselves a sufficient guarantee of desirability the reason being that, in the permutations and combinations of the developmental factors, a good-looking person may be just a "lucky stroke" in an undesirable stock; that is to say, despite his or her prepossessing exterior, he or she may come from undesirable stock, and therefore bear in his or her germ-plasm undesirable recessive genes. Hence the wise Norwegian proverb: "Never marry a girl who is the only beauty in her family."
Having found a beautiful person as a likely mate, it is therefore
(4) We have also come to most important conclusions regarding mind and character, and all that has been said about physical beauty applies with equal force to psychological desirability.
(5) We have seen regarding health:
(a) That the appearance of health, and even a good bill of health, in the individual, are no guarantee of that individual's real soundness. He or she may be merely a lucky combination of the stock's developmental factors, and may conceal recessive determiners of morbidity. It is essential, therefore, even when dealing with an apparently wholly healthy person, to find out as much as possible concerning the family history, collaterals, etc.
(b) That health must be sought and pursued in the choice of a mate, because happiness is impossible without it. The real devil in this world is not the embodiment of "sin", but the embodiment of disease. No condonation of "sin", no excuses for "sin", can possibly do a hundredth part of the harm that condonations of sickness and excuses for disease can do and have done.
Now these are momentous conclusions, without which it would have been impossible to proceed, and which could not have been drawn with authority had I dealt less fully with the subject of the last two chapters.
I shall now deal with the conclusions more fully.
Conclusion 1 has been dealt with so exhaustively in the two previous chapters, that there is little more to be said about it. It is now established that, from every point of view, whether eugenic or hedonistic, national or domestic, political or private, it is best for all people to marry their like.
This might well be extended to the like not merely racially and biologically, but also socially and vocationally an extension of the idea not merely accepted but also, as we have seen, practised among all endogamic peoples, even the English during the Middle Ages, and largely practised in all civilized countries to this day. In fact, in the modern world, it is the last remaining trace we possess of bygone endogamy.
The principle involved is, that one knows one's own class, and therefore that one's criteria of criticism apply best to people
The Jews of the past, apparently anxious to secure a proper attitude of reverence in their wives, believed in going down a social step to choose a wife; and the Talmudic passage to this effect has been put into rhyme by the Rev. I. Myers as follows:
"Step down in life 1
To take a wife;
One step ascend
To choose a friend."
But, whatever may be said in favour of this practice in patriarchal communities, in modern civilized societies it would seem to be a golden rule to select a mate from one's own class, quite apart from the fact that all people will more easily find their psycho-physical like in their own class. 2
Conclusion 2 has been sufficiently substantiated in the two preceding chapters and there is little to add.
With the inferiority feelings that have spread over civilized mankind through biological unsoundness, it will be difficult for vast numbers to-day to control or check the humble impulse they feel "to get away from themselves", or "to correct themselves" by seeking an opposite in mating. These inclinations, which probably arise from faint semi-conscious nausea over self in the comparatively sound, and from pronounced disgust with self in the very unsound, must, however, be checked. Among the former (the sound) they should be regarded as a menace to their soundness, and among the latter (the unsound) as a menace to the sound.
Conclusion 3, which requires elaboration, will now be more narrowly considered, with special reference to sub-divisions a, b, c, and d.
(a) The doctrine which, as we shall see, was prevalent among ancient civilized peoples that the appearance of a man, the visible parts of him, are important as indications of his value whether as a possible sire, a friend, a mate, or what not, received a heavy blow when Socrates deluded his world, and Christianity deluded later generations, into believing that the body was of no con-
1 T.J.C, p. 26.
2 See W.S.H., pp. 58 and 88, where two of the contributors support this view. See also S.H.I.M., p. 176 for a similar view.
One of the first to oppose the Socratic doctrine of the negligible character of the visible man was Aristotle, who says: "An animal is never so generated as to have the form of one animal and the soul of another; but it has always the body and soul of the same animal; so that a particular disposition must necessarily follow a particular body. Further still, those who are skilled in the nature of other animals are able from the form [of the body] to survey in each [the passions of the soul]. In this way, he who is skilled in horses, surveys horses, and hunters dogs. But if these things are true (and they are always true), there will be an art of physiognomy." 2
The belief in the use of physiognomy as a guide to character and personal value was held right through classical antiquity in spite of Socrates; and the Roman writers, Suetonius, Juvenal and Pliny were familiar with it. Even the Christian Fathers attached importance to it, and, of most men of independent thought since, it may fairly be said that there is hardly one who has not believed in a certain correlation between physical or outward form and physiological and psychological worth. The sixteenth century produced a crop of writers on the subject; and names as famous as Bulwer, Lavater 3 and Franz occur in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Owing, however, to the association of physiognomy, as an art, with fraud and quackery, its study must have been greatly discouraged; and, as the imperfect discoveries of science throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries seemed to supply no knock-out blow to the Socratic
1 Socrates is certainly said to have predicted the promotion of Alcibiades from his appearance (PLUTARCH'S LIVES: ALCIBIADES) and Apuleius (DE DOGMATA PLATONIS. Book I, Chap. I. Trans. by G. Burges, 1859) also reports that he perceived Plato's ability when the latter was a child. Olympiodorus, in his life of Plato, confirms this. But his doctrine of the paramount importance of the invisible in man, and his tell-tale remark on physiognomy, when he bade a man speak that he might see him (Apuleius: FLORIDA II, Bohn trans.) show that he did not really believe in what he read from the body, and could not rely on his vision in judging men.
2 ON PHYSIOGNOMY (trans. by T. Taylor, London, 1812, Chap 1).
3 Lavater himself (17411801) quotes with approval Christian v. Wolff (16791754), C. F. Gellert (17151769), J. G. Sulzer (17201779) and J. G. Herder (17441805). See ESSAYS ON PHYSIOGNOMY (trans. by Thom. Holcroft, 17th Ed., pp. 2430)
As early as 1598, by an Act of Elizabeth (39, c. 4), "all persons fayning to have knowledge of Phisiognomie" were liable to be publicly whipped. This was more or less confirmed by 13 Anne, c. 26, and again by 17 George II, c. 5, though the Vagrancy Act of 1824, which re-enacts the latter, specifies only palmistry.
Such acts, though they doubtless suppressed much fraud and quackery, were not calculated to encourage the scientific study of physiognomy, at least in England, and that probably accounts for the hesitating manner in which a profound student of humanity like Shakespeare refers to human features as a guide to character and personal worth.
In two plays he seems to endorse the view that sound inferences can be drawn from the reading of a face, and in two others he denies it. 1 This is reminiscent of the author of ECCLESIASTICUS, who first says: "Commend not a man for his beauty; neither abhor a man for his outward appearance", which is tantamount to affirming that we cannot infer enough from appearance to warrant a definite attitude; and then says: "A man may be known by his look and one that hath understanding by his countenance when thou meetest him." 2
La Bruyère is another who wavers between a denial and a full acceptance of physiognomy. In one chapter he says: "Il n'y a rien de si délié, de si simple, et de si imperceptible, où il n'entre des manières qui nous décèlent. Un sot ni n'entre, ni ne sort, ni ne s'assied, ni ne se lève, ni ne se tait, ni n'est sur ses jambes, comme un homme d'esprit"; and in another he says: "La physiognomie n'est pas
1 MACBETH, I, 4. "There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face." And MEASURE FOR MEASURE, III, 2: "O what may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side." Now compare RICHARD III, III, 4: "For by his face straight shall you know his heart," and CORIOLANUS, IV, 5: "I knew by his face that there was something in him." Bacon is less hesitating. He says (OF THE PROFICIENCE AND ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING, Book II): "For the lineaments of the body do disclose the disposition and inclination of the mind in general."
2 Chaps. II, 2 and XIX, 29, respectively.
Lavater, although too subjective to be scientific, is among the first and greatest to insist on the necessary connexion between the visible and the invisible aspects of man. 2 Schopenhauer also believed the visible to be a reliable guide to the invisible aspects of man. He says: "Every human face is a hieroglyph which can at any rate be deciphered, and the key to which each of us bears complete in himself. As a rule, indeed, a human face speaks more interestingly than the mouth; for it is the compendium of everything that the mouth can possibly say." Further, he says: "A human face says exactly what the person is, and if it deceives us, that is not its fault but our own." 3
Most of the great novelists, including Dickens, 4 Scott, 5 and Balzac were believers in physiognomy.
Balzac says 6: "The laws of physiognomy are exact, not merely as applied to character, but also in regard to the fatefulness of life. There are such things as prophetic faces."
History has recorded one or two instances of the instinctive and learned use of physiognomical science by people of note. The means employed by Joan of Arc in discovering Charles VII among his courtiers at Chinon, and by Galeazzo Visconti's son (the future first Duke of Milan) in selecting Petrarch from among a number of other visitors and leading him up to his father, were doubtless instinctively physiognomical. But when Philip, Earl of Pembroke, who had great judgment in painting and possessed
1 L.C. (DU MÉRITE PERSONNEL and DES JUGEMENTS respectively). Bacon said much the same thing about the "motions of the countenance and parts of the body", and said it before La Bruyère. (See ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING, Book II.)
2 Op. cit. See particularly pp. 13, 14, and 15. "Calm reason revolts at the supposition that Newton or Leibnitz ever could have the countenance and appearance of an idiot" . . ., etc.
3 PP., Vol. II, Chap. XXIX.
4 "We are all natural physiognomists, our fault lies in not heeding our instincts, or first impressions sufficiently by allowing people to come too near to us, by their false actions explaining away their real characters." This is strange confirmation of Schopenhauer, who says (P.P., Chap. XXIX): "A face gives the right impression the first time. In order to get it purely, objectively and unadulterated, we must not enter into any personal relations with its owner aye, if possible, the latter should not have spoken." How much more profound Dickens and Schopenhauer here are than old Socrates, with his "Say something, that I may see you" !
5 Examples abound. See especially IVANHOE, Chap. VII, with its analysis of Prince John.
6 UNE TÉNÉBREUSE AFFAIRE, Chap. I. See also LE COUSIN PONS, Chap. XIII. Byron also believed in physiognomy. E. J. Trelawny reports him as saying: "I always watch the lips and the mouth: they tell what the tongue and eyes try to conceal." (RECORDS OF SHELLEY, BYRON AND THE AUTHOR, Chap. XII).
But when once we have recognized the soundness of Aristotle's position, as stated above, and appreciated the inevitable interdependence of body and mind and the consequent oneness of the invisible and the visible man 1 i.e. when once we have called the ingenious bluff of Socrates, we must conclude with Schopenhauer that, if we go wrong in reading character and personality from externals, it is not that the externals lie, but that we ourselves are inefficient or untutored in the reading of the signs.
It is, of course, true that the long neglect in Christian countries of human "points" and the strong prejudice of Socratic and Christian tradition (backed by all the unpleasant-looking people on earth) 2 against judging men by their visible aspects, have apart from legislation impaired all native human skill and knowledge regarding physiognomy, so that only the very few are now able to rely even on their instinctive reactions in this matter. But this, again, does not mean that the knowledge is not there to be learnt, or that there is no such things as a correlation between appearance and inner nature. It merely means that, owing to a false philosophic and religious doctrine, widely circulated, greatly welcome to a vast number of people, and almost universally held until a century ago, mankind in civilized countries has neglected to learn or elaborate the alphabet of that mute language which is personal appearance. 3
Nevertheless, widely as the belief is still held among thousands of ignorant and pious people that appearance counts for nothing,
1 A position which modern science is rapidly establishing. Dr. Draper does not speak of man as body and mind. He calls man a "psysome" (D.M., p. 147). See also Sir C. Sherrington: THE INTEGRATIVE ACTION OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM (Yale Univ. Press, 1926, p. 387).
2 Who, in random-bred populations, are always bound to be plentiful.
3 Only in vitally important services (the Navy, Diplomacy and certain Colleges) does a candidate for election still have to be passed as desirable apart from his academic achievements and health. Physiognomical criteria are a dead letter almost everywhere else, and people are wholly dependent on references and credentials.
As a rule, therefore, it will be found that what undermines modern people's faith in physiognomy is not the unreliability of the sign language of the art, but their own complete ignorance of this language, associated, as it often is, with a Socratic prejudice against such sign-language in general.
It was not, however, until a scientific investigation on modern and objective lines was begun, that any hope could be entertained of establishing authoritative rules of physiognomy, and for this investigation, which is still (compared with other sciences) in its infancy, mankind is indebted to such thinkers as Sir Charles Bell (1806), Herbert Spencer (185 4), Darwin (1872), Mantegazza (1890) and the modern school of human morphologists, including Dr. Ernst Kretschmer, Dr. MacAuliffe, Dr. George Draper, Dr. Louis Berman, Professor Achille de Giovanni, and a man who claims to have preceded all of the latter class, Karl Huter all of whom have written between 1890 and the present day.
It is to be hoped that the discoveries of these men may reeducate Christian populations in the long-lost art of physiognomy; and, although many of the conclusions so far reached may be tentative and transitory, the advances made in the last forty years have been enormous.
Perhaps the most powerful, convincing and lucid statement of the scientific case in favour of physiognomy as a guide to character and disposition is the comparatively early contribution of Herbert Spencer in his memorable essay on PERSONAL BEAUTY, published in 1854. It is, of course, impossible to reproduce it in extenso, but it is so valuable that everybody should read it. As I have said before, Spencer had few Socratic, and hardly any Christian prejudices, and this freedom from shackles which hamper the thinking of most people on this subject, enabled him to open
He shows conclusively that character and appearance must be related, and with his customary clarity adduces numerous examples "in which the connexion between organic ugliness and mental inferiority, and the converse connexion between organic beauty and comparative perfection of mind, are distinctly traceable." 1 But more of Herbert Spencer anon.
Dr. Kretschmer has stated categorically that "In the majority of cases, indeed, on the average . . . the psycho-physical correlation may be clearly and unmistakably recognized. We see a similar correlation between the physical and psychic characteristics in the pathology of the generative glands among castrates and eunuchs." And, further, he states as regards a person's physical nature: "The face is the visiting card of the individual's general constitution." 2
Dr. MacAuliffe declares tersely: "C'est une prédominance physiologique et morphologique qui donne à chacun de nous ses caractères spécifiques," 3 and in a series of manuals he works out this principle in great detail.
Dr. George Draper, as I have already shown, can draw no distinction between the psyche and the soma (mind and body), and, as we shall see, definitely associates not only different propensities, but also different diseases with specific types and sexes. 4
Dr. Berman, with some exaggerations which time and further investigation may help to moderate, connects definite types of character and appearance with particular varieties of endocrine balance. Professor Achille de Giovanni works on the basis of Kretschmer and MacAuliffe, while Karl Huter, who claims to have preceded them all, anticipates Kretschmer and MacAuliffe. There are several other minor people, disciples of Kretschmer and MacAuliffe, but none greater.
Dr. Van de Velde who, as a scientific critic, it may be assumed is interpreting the conclusions of the above investigators for his
1 P.B., p. 389.
2 P.C., pp. 38 and 39.
3 T., p. 12. "Each of us (derives his specific characteristics from his predominant physiological and morphological traits." See also M.L., p. 313: "All individuals possessing the same genetic contribution, i.e. belonging to the same genotype and having experienced the same history, will exhibit the same characterisation, i.e. will belong to the same phenotype."
4 D.M., p. x.
"The character of the individual is chiefly determined by his or her constitution, and . . . this constitution is also expressed in the physical formation." A little later on he acknowledges "the connexion between the character and the formation of the body, in the sense that we can deduce in typical cases from the visible what is probably the nature of the invisible." 1
Thus we are back at the position of Aristotle and the ancients, though with this difference, that modern discoveries in human physiognomy and morphology are based upon objective rather than subjective data, and are the outcome of a method now approved by international science as the only one capable of yielding practical and reliable results.
In the choice of a mate, therefore, we must act on the assumption that appearance counts for a very great deal, that it is a language that can be read with a certain amount of accuracy, and yields reliable information concerning the invisible qualities behind the visible facade.
But it is of the utmost importance in applying this conclusion in our daily lives, always to bear in mind the consequences of the two rules laid down on pages 60, 71, 72 supra, which may now be paraphrased as follows:
(1) That in an individual who is like the other members of his or her stock, whose stock does not show much variation, and who is therefore not improbably the outcome of inbreeding, appearance is a very certain guide to character and disposition.
(2) That in an individual who is unlike the other members of his or her stock, whose stock shows marked variation, and who is therefore not improbably grossly cross-bred, appearance is not such a very certain and reliable guide to character and disposition.
The latter rule holds good more particularly when the individual in question is either above or below his stock in appearance.
For example, if in a stock consisting or variously ugly or repulsive people one member is very attractive (a setting we can sum up briefly and graphically by the idea of a Rose among Thorns) a good appearance, because it may conceal all the undesirable qualities of the rest of the stock in a latent form, is not to be
1 S.H.I.M., pp. 197 and 198. See also La Rochefoucauld (MAXIMES): La force et la faiblesse d'esprit sont mal nommés; elle ne sont, en effet, que la bonne ou la mauvaise disposition des organs du corps."
On the other hand, in a stock of good-looking and desirable people, if one member is exceptionally unattractive (which is the case of the Black Sheep), his or her unattractive appearance in this situation may obviously conceal, in a latent form, all the desirable qualities visible in the rest of the stock. Ergo, all Black Sheep should be classed rather above the plane their appearance and character seem to suggest.
Let all unscrupulous Christian debaters, however, be reminded that if here our conclusion appears to be the same as that recommended by Christian morals, it is not because Christian values assume a biological attitude towards Black Sheep, but simply because in this case, the sentimental attitude happens, by a fluke, to coincide with the biological.
Now this is a principle, and a set of rules, I have not found mentioned, much less, therefore, emphasized, in the works on human morphology and physiognomy referred to above, and its omission in them constitutes a grave blemish.
In all my references to the conclusions reached in these works in the sequel, therefore, the reader is requested to bear in mind the two essential rules outlined above, which, for convenience, we may call the Rose-among-Thorns, and the Black-Sheep rules, otherwise he may go as far astray as the scientists just referred to have frequently done.
The reader now sees the value of having prefaced these chapters on human appearance by the elaborate investigation of Chapters II and III; for it is owing to an inadequate understanding of the laws of breeding, that the average scientific morphologist and physiognomist has hitherto failed to produce the rules above outlined.
1 In the ancient tale of CINDERELLA, it is significant that Cinderella is always depicted as the only beauty in a group of related ugly females. But the latter are her step-sisters, i.e. not blood-relations, thus her desirability is biologically feasible. Had the story been invented recently, Cinderella would probably have been made the only beauty in a family of blood-relations, and such is the biological unsoundness or modern thinking, that no doubts would have been expressed as to her desirability, although an exception in the stock.
Conclusion 3 (b). Mankind has always had an instinctive dislike of ugliness, for which science has only recently begun to find a justification.
Whatever insincere highbrows like Socrates and some of the Christian Fathers may have had to say in defence of human ugliness, the people, the common folk, in their instinctive wisdom, have everywhere regarded it as ominous, and observed the invariable habit of depicting their bad men and evil spirits as ugly, and their good men and benign spirits as beautiful. Even now, after two thousand years of Christianity, it is only in middle-class drawing-rooms, saturated with Christian and Puritanical sophistry, that beauty is suspected as a mask for wickedness, and ugliness as a mask for divinity. The people still think that wicked and dangerous people must be ugly and that good and desirable people must be good-looking.
The very fact that the ugly have, until Socratic and Christian times, been at a disadvantage, is perhaps best proved by the Socratic and Christian transvaluations themselves. For there would have been no need of the Socratic bluff about man's invisible side being his most valuable side, had not ugly Socrates and all those like him wished to save their self-esteem.
Deep down in the human ganglia there must very early have been established a profound suspicion of ugliness, owing to the countless examples of physical and mental disharmony with which experience had made mankind familiar, and to the unpleasantnesses humanity had invariably suffered at the hands of disharmonious people. Physical and mental disharmony, as we have seen in Chapters II and III, is, however, associated not merely with temperamental lability and unreliability, but also with di ease and aberrations of all kinds, and above all with ugliness.
Naturally, therefore, the plain, the ugly and the deformed, must, almost from the beginning of human consciousness, have found themselves at a disadvantage; and it is not surprising that,
The uglification of humanity then began in all earnestness, owing to the fact that the rapid elimination of the ugly, hitherto effected by the difficulty they found in mating, to all intents and purposes ceased; and we have now reached a stage of development when plainness, or actual ugliness, is so common that a beautiful woman and a handsome man are phenomena sufficiently rare to be talked about.
It is not, however, only the Christian and Socratic hoax about the superiority of the soul that has promoted ugliness, but also the very definite hostility to life which is implicit in Socratic and Christian values. As I have shown above (pp. 3132 ante), the Christian regards beauty as dangerous because it is a lure to life and the pleasures of life. A beautiful woman, like a fine man, stimulates the instincts of procreation. Now this is, of course, very wicked, according to Christian notions, seeing that sexual intercourse was the original sin of mankind. The consequence is that, wherever Christianity has prevailed, ugly people have been favoured and regarded as particularly safe and holy, because in them there was no emphatic lure to sin, to life, to procreation. Inevitably, therefore, Christianity was bound to imagine its own highest man, Christ, as ugly, and, as we shall see, it did not scruple to do this. 1 In this way Christianity has exerted a powerful influence in favour of ugliness, and hence in favour of degeneracy and disease.
As there is now no doubt that psycho-physical disharmony and therefore sub-parity is the characteristic of the ugly person, modern science has reached the conclusion that definitely morbid health-readings are to be made from the mere fact of ugliness.
Thus Kretschmer, speaking of various "dysplastic" types, says: "In all these cases the æsthetic valuation 'ugly' coincides with the medico-biological valuation 'abnormal'." 2
1 See pp. 183184 infra.
2 B.M., p. 309. "Dysplastic" means, "such forms of growth as vary markedly from the average and commonest form of the type in question" (P.C., p. 65). Kretschmer also says: "The same physical creations which are outside of æsthetic 'good proportions' are also usually physically and spiritually outside the realm of the greatest 'healthiness'" (B.M., p. 309).
Long before any approach to certainty had been attained in these matters, Herbert Spencer, in the brilliant essay already quoted, wrote: "The aspects which displease us are the outward correlatives of inward imperfections." 3 Here, the intimate correlation now known to exist between the visible and the invisible man, is stated as a fact by Spencer, a conclusion which adds great lustre to the reputation of a man too often foolishly belittled by the pygmies of to-day.
Writing thirty-three years after Spencer, H. T. Finck, in an enlightened work, said: "From the æsthetic point of view, ugliness is disease", 4 and in three different passages in his two volumes he lays stress on the fact that owing to the influence of Christianity "physical beauty was looked on as a sinful passion in the Middle Ages." 5
Many years before the Great War, when these various views on the significance of ugliness were quite unsuspected by me, I was struck, when visiting the asylum of Waldbrühl in Germany and the asylum at Epsom, by the disturbing ugliness of the inmates as a whole. But I appealed in vain to my medical friends for data, if any were known, concerning the relationship between ugliness and insanity.
There is, however, one observation which it is open for anyone to make, and that is to note the consistent association of extreme plainness, merging into disgusting ugliness, with abnormality, among mental defective children. Anyone living near a school or home for mental defectives, who has opportunities for seeing the pupils out for exercise, cannot fail to notice this. And yet, incredible as it may seem, it is an association hardly
1 "Ugliness makes the prognosis a bad one."
2 D.M., p. 59.
3 P.B., p. 393.
4 R.L.P.B, II, p. 93.
5 R.L.P.B., I, p. 173, and II, pp. 81 and 287.
In an old work, SANITY AND INSANITY, Dr. Mercier certainly refers to the "indisputable fact that the vast majority of idiots and imbeciles are stunted and undersized," 1 but does not associate ugliness with dementia. Describing the children in reformatories, Dr. E. S. Talbot, writing eight years later, does speak of the boys as being "ugly in feature", and says that they "have, as a rule, repulsive appearances"; 2 but as he is speaking of the criminally weak-minded, and the factor of morality enters as a term into the argument, the statement is not very valuable. Modern people can always be found by the thousand who, owing to their moral indignation, will say even untruthfully of a criminal or immoral person that he or she is ugly; but they are less inclined to be merely truthful regarding the ugliness of the afflicted, whether insane or mentally defective; because, with the latter, the absurd plea, "Oh, it isn't their fault," arises, and seems to justify either a glossing over of their ugly appearance, or else deliberate blindness to it.
Nevertheless, Dr. E. S. Talbot seems to have been unusually vigilant with regard to this question of bodily asymmetry or defect associated with a defective nervous system or low intellectual power. He says: "It is very common to see disordered conditions of the nervous system in children with defective construction of body." 3 He also points out that in the degenerate classes "the ears of the same individual differ as much as one inch in height," and that nearly 50 per cent of the criminals of the Elmira and Pontiac Reformatories had arrested development of the upper jaw. 4 Further, he says: "As excessive asymmetry of the body is one of the most noticeable of the stigmata of degeneracy, it is not astonishing to find that this asymmetry expresses itself both in the position as well as in the size and structure of the eye," 5 and "since deformities of the head, face, jaws, nose, antra, vaults, etc., are common in neurotics and
1 London, 1890, p. 173.
2 D.C.S.R., p. 19. See also D.O.M., pp. 3336 and 601, where Darwin, on the authority of Vogt, etc., says: "Idiots are very often hairy and they are apt to revert in other characters to a lower animal type."
3 D.C.S.R., p. 155. He admits that disordered conditions are also found among the apparently normally constructed, but does not say they are common in the latter.
4 Ibid., pp. 183 and 186.
5 Ibid., p. 206. See also pp. 213214, 218, 266, 269, 280281.
For the sake of the reader who is fresh to the study of the æsthetic values "ugly" and "beautiful," as they relate to humanity, particularly in mating, it ought, however, to be pointed out that when used inter-racially these words have not only no necessarily aesthetic significance, but also no necessarily morbid or other implication. When a fair young Parisian lady, confronted by a negro waiter, exclaims: "Dieu qu'il est laid!" or when a fair Cockney girl, meeting with a Chinaman, mutters under her breath, "Christ! what a clock!" it is surely obvious that the word "ugly" (implied in the second remark) can have no æsthetic or morbid implication. It is merely the instinctive reaction of one race to the ideal of another, a reaction by which that ideal is rejected.
It is only when races grow unhealthy, sophisticated, lose their taste, and allow their sound instincts to be corrupted, that the word "ugly" can be used inter-racially (from the mating standpoint) to imply a recognition of morbidity. Otherwise the word used inter-racially means in extenso merely this: "You may be sound and all right as a negro or a Chinaman; but to me you are repulsive and therefore to be rejected."
As we shall see in a moment, every race postulates its own highest examples as the standard of absolute beauty. A race, uncorrupted and sound must, therefore, pronounce the word "ugly" in regard to all other racial standards of beauty (and this it does and always has done), otherwise its mating judgments would amount, in practice, to bringing about the evanescence of its own race an end which, as we have seen, no healthy race desires. 2
Consequently, it is only within the same race that "ugly" should have implications of psycho-physical abnormality and morbidity. Though this too requires some explanation; because "ugly" even within the same race, often acquires peculiar connotations unconnected with morbidity.
For instance, in a mild, urban and rather effeminate culture, the word "ugly" is often carelessly used to reject a person
1 Ibid., p. 283.
2 See Charles Comte: TRAITÉ DE LÉGISLATATION (Paris, 1835, I, Book III, Chap. IV, pp. 3444) for interesting examples of the rule that each race imagines its own ideal of beauty as perfection and other ideals as "ugly".
I have come across so many examples of this that it seems to be worth while to dwell on the matter a moment. "Ugly" used in this way cannot have any implications of morbidity. It is simply an offensive comment on someone unlike the person making it, and is a further indication of the instinctive tendency of like to mate with like.
Ferocity, severity, sternness, or sensuality, are no more necessarily "ugly" than lack of these qualities in a face, provided they are not accompanied by the disproportion and disharmony above described. Evidences of great passion in a person's features also often provoke the comment "ugly" in smug, middle-class folk, whose passions have all been bred out. I have actually come across a mother who, confronted with a picture of unusual passion in the features of one of her daughters (possibly the only one to have collected up in her person all the passion of the rather passionless stock), described this one daughter as "ugly" and the rest as pretty. 1
Here again, "ugly" can have no necessarily morbid connotation. It is simply an ignorant manner of commenting on a personal appearance, which promises to reintroduce into a smug, safety-first home the disturbing element of a great passion.
In the same manner, the inter-class and inter-caste use of the word "ugly" need not necessarily have any morbid implication. When an aristocratic woman calls a coarse ploughboy or a blowsy dairy-maid "ugly," and the latter gazing at the aristocrat and her children, pronounces the same word, it need not have any condemnatory value from the æsthetic or health point of view. What happens is this the aristocrat, thinking subjectively, says "that ploughboy and that dairy-maid do not comply with my standard of beauty, therefore they are ugly." And the other class thinks the same.
1 Once at a party in Suffolk, a robust middle-class girl almost apologized to me for her bursting health. Evidently she used the comment "ugly" about herself because of her conspicuous departure from her debilitated and bloodless human environment. See also R.L.P.B., II, p. 80: "A pious dame in Boston seriously meditated the duty of having some of her daughter's sound teeth pulled out, so as to mitigate her sinful beauty."
A good proportion of the alleged "ugly" people of history, who were nevertheless estimable or desirable, probably fall under this head; that is to say, they were classed as ugly by their friends, enemies and biographers, probably because they either departed from a class ideal, without being necessarily morbid or disharmonious beings, or else departed from an ideal of a whole Age by being too fierce, too sensual, too hard or too soft. Lorenzo the Magnificent certainly comes under this head now 1 as did probably Du Guesclin in his day. On the other hand, a really ugly and repulsive man, like Leo X, receives an embellished exterior from his biographers because of the high favour he enjoyed during his lifetime. A more recent, and presumably less-biased writer, however, is able to describe him as follows: "Leo X was of middle height, with a large head, a reddish complexion, and projecting eyes; he was so short-sighted as to be always obliged to use glasses . . . suffered much from a disease that made it unpleasant to approach him . . . and was very corpulent and unable to endure any prolonged fatigue." 2
There is another class of so-called "ugly" person, however, who in everyday life or in history should be exonerated of any charge of morbidity or biological inferiority, and that is the person whose "ugliness" is the result of a disfigurement received during his lifetime. A superficial Puritan, like Madame de Sévigné, might inveigh against Pelisson's extreme plainness; but on the whole, healthy, normal women are particularly gifted at seeing behind the mask of mere disfigurement, as is shown by the great love Mirabeau inspired, not only in Sophie, but in other women, although he was alleged to be exceedingly ugly, and suffered from the same accidental disfigurement as Pelisson. Both had had virulent attacks of small-pox, and both had violent and passionate features; but there is no evidence, as far as I can
1 See Adolf Stahr's withering criticism of his features in FRA GIROLAMO SAVONAROLA, EIN LEBENSBILD.
2 Prof. Pasquale Villari: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI (4th Edit., London, II, p. 235).
These cases furnish yet another reason why the verdict of history concerning so-called "ugly" people should be accepted with caution, particularly when the extreme Christian uses the examples of such historical "monsters" to argue that one may be very "ugly" and yet very desirable. 1
In mating we are not concerned with the superficial disfigurements of a temporary illness, accident or fight, we are chiefly concerned with the "ugliness" indicating some deleterious factors in the germ-plasm, revealed by constitutional and physiognomical disharmonies in the individual. It is this sort of ugliness alone that cannot and must not be excused; and, left to themselves, and unbiased by unhealthy values, sound women usually detect and reject a mate betraying it.
When, therefore, Caroline Schlegel, in one of her letters, hastily concludes from Sophie's love of Mirabeau that "what women love in men is certainly not beauty," she is writing nonsense. If, as a rule, women fail to be sexually stimulated by the so-called "barber's model" sort of man, it is not because they are insusceptible to masculine beauty, but because such beauty as the barber's model possesses is frequently effeminate, and more rugged and more stern features in the male are often and quite erroneously regarded by an effeminate age as "ugly." To argue from this, however, that women are not concerned with cogenital male beauty, denoting biological superiority, is fallacious. 2 But more of this anon.
Another form of ugliness should be referred to, namely, that which Darwin mentions in his DESCENT OF MAN, as "an approach to the structure of the lower animals," and which
1 See, for instance, the Puritan Emerson, who says (ESSAY ON BEAUTY): "Those who have ruled human destinies, like planets, for thousands of years, were not handsome men." He gives no evidence for this wild statement. But it shows the Socratic tendency of his thought. What about Buddha, Mahomet, Confucius?
2 See p. 35 supra. Schopenhauer too thought women indifferent to male looks, but adds, "they never love an unmanly man" (W.W.V., II, Chap. 44). Weininger, who raided Schopenhauer's works and stole from him his theory of the complete male (M.) and complete female (F.) necessary for "true sexual union" (cf. S.C, p. 29, with W.W.V. . II, Chap. 44), also believed women were not attracted by male beauty. Regarding Weininger's lack of originality, see G.K., I, pp. 484485, where Hirschfeld says Weininger stole his theory from him (Hirschfeld). But Schopenhauer preceded them both.
This type of ugliness, since it denotes, in a superior and cultivated race, a state of reversion and therefore degeneration, is quite rightly rejected in mating. It is frequently seen among very much crossed stocks.
To sum up this section on ugliness, we have seen that there are serious reasons for associating repulsive or plain features (when they are not merely different from either race, class, fashion or type ideals) with biological inferiority. We have also seen that it is important to distinguish the ugliness of an accidental disfigurement from that which is cogenital, the former being of a kind that may be safely overlooked, the latter being of a kind that may never be safely overlooked.
The very positive statements regarding the connexion between beauty and health, which we shall be reading in a moment, denote, if we consider their negative implication, that ill-health and ugliness must be related; and, as we have seen, the conclusions of modern science are tending to regard this relation as established.
In mating, therefore, congenially ugly people should be avoided as biologically inferior, and this rule applies to all such people, although a less severe judgment may perhaps be made in the case of the "Black Sheep" whose whole stock reveals superior and attractive traits. And, seeing that there can be no such thing as biological inferiority without correspondingly objectionable traits in the psyche, ugly people should be avoided also because, as a general rule, they have ugly minds.
Balzac says: "In order to incur the least possible amount of misery in marriage, the twofold prerequisite of success is that the woman should be very gentle and tolerably ugly." 2
The great novelist and psychologist is evidently thinking, like a typical Frenchman, chiefly of the dangers of cuckoldom. But, for once, Balzac reveals a lack of penetration. He seems not to have known of the thoery of compensation in psychology, 3
1 D.O.M., p. 584 and P.B., pp. 390391.
2 P.M., p. 96.
3 Yet both Bacon and Byron had written about it before him. In his essay on DEFORMITY, Bacon said: "Whosoever hath anything fixed in his person that doth induce contempt, hath also a permanent spur in himself to secure and deliver himself from scorn. Therefore all deformed persons are extreme bold. . . . Also it stirreth in them industry, and especially of this kind, to watch and observe the weakness of others, that they may have something 'to repay'." In Byron's THE DEFORMED TRANSFORMED (Part I, Sc. I) we read:
"Since I am so ugly," said Du Guesclin, "it behoves that I be bold." 1
This is typical.
The inferiority feelings of the ugly person also make him or her resentful, and resentful people are torn by conflicts. They long to "pay some one out" for what they resent, and their attachment to, and dependence upon, those about them often makes it difficult for them to do so. Like the kitten whose tail is pinched by accident, and who turns to bite the guiltless soft cushion at its side, so the resentful person will, if possible, annoy or ill-treat those closest to him or her, simply because they happen to be sentient creatures at hand, and "someone must suffer for what I am suffering."
If the sentient creatures near at hand happen to be powerful and the resentful person is dependent on them, then someone outside the intimate circle will be selected as a victim, as the "cause" of the resentful person's misery.
Now this makes ugly people difficult to live with, quite apart from the fact that their cogenital ugliness in itself, as we have seen, presupposes mental discord and emotional conflict, hence instability of some kind. They are people not only at war with the world, but also at war with themselves. And Balzac was perfectly aware of the danger of living with people at war with themselves. "It is impossible," he says, "for a creature per-
"I ask not
For valour, since deformity is daring,
In its essence to o'ertake mankind
By heart and soul, and make itself the equal
Ay, the superior of the rest. There is
A spur in its halt movements, to become
All that the others cannot, in such things
As still are free to both, to compensate
For stepdame Nature's avarice at first."
Alfred Adler could hardly have stated it more plainly!
1 He was Constable of France and the most famous warrior of the fourteenth century. He is said to have been an object of aversion even to his parents, and to have been brutal and bad-tempered as a child. Queen Philippa of England once met him and commiserated him.
Spiritually too, therefore, the cogenitally ugly are to be avoided in mating, and all those who appear to hold views against this rule by saying, as so many modern people do, "He, or she, is frightfully ugly, but so charming 1 "are really guilty of a confusion of thought. Having found somebody ugly, who happens to be charming, and being too lazy or ignorant to discover whether this person's alleged "ugliness" is anything more than a matter of fashion, class difference, or a difference of feeling about sternness, ferocity, passion or sensuality in a face, they too readily use the condemnatory value "ugly," as if it connoted biological inferiority, and then make a remark which seems to conflict with the rule that "ugly people are undesirable." The remark does not, however, conflict with any such rule. It is merely a frivolous abuse of a useful word. The particle "but" in the remark reveals the fundamentally sound instinct of the speaker. The word "ugly" is, therefore, simply misapplied, and if the person speaking had been wiser, the remark would have been suppressed and some such thought as the following would have taken its place:
"At first sight that person struck me as ugly, and therefore undesirable. Closer scrutiny revealed that the ugliness was due simply to an uncustomary amount of severity, passion, sensuality, or what not, in his or her face. Now none of these things are necessarily 'ugly,' i.e. biologically inferior, consequently I ought not to have been surprised to find him or her really a charming or desirable person."
Conclusion 3 (c). Just as there has always been an instinctive dislike of ugliness in humanity, so there has always been an instinctive love and admiration of beauty. And the fact that it has survived to this day in most of us, in spite of Socratic and Christian influence, is the best proof of its original strength.
We are inspired, stimulated aye, and often shamed by the sight of great human beauty, because perfect harmony and health in another leaves us in no doubt about two things, the superiority
1 LE CURÉ DE TOURS.
2 H.S.W., VII, p. 145.
The fact that this sense of superiority in another has been a perpetual cause of envy in mankind, particularly among women, probably accounts for much of the slander that has been hurled at human beauty ever since Socratic and Christian influence gave the ugly and the semi-ugly a chance of valuing.
There is, however, another cause behind the slander, and that resides in the beautiful people themselves.
For the last two thousand years and more, living in a human environment growing every century more and more predominantly ugly, the beautiful in Europe have often found things too easy, too smooth. Trading on the profound and ineradicable instinct in mankind, present even in the ugly, though frequently stifled by them, that beauty is a visible sign of general desirability, the fair and the handsome have found in their own appearance a too easily acquired passport into the hearts and good opinion of the majority a passport not striven for, not paid for and not begged for. 1 Their path has always been strewn with roses, and this tends to make some of them careless about everything except appearance. These elements among the good-looking, by neglecting to cultivate what the ugly cultivate, by allowing to rust what the ugly polish, and by losing what the ugly find, procure for the handsome and the fair a bad name.
When once human life had become a hard struggle, particularly of wits, many of the beautiful were thus handicapped; because, leaning on their beauty, they frequently neglected other, particularly intellectual weapons. Hence the common remark, "So beautiful but so stupid!" which leads scores of superficial people in every European circle to believe that a connexion exists between beauty and stupidity.
But, truth to tell, there is an inconsistency here; for a beautiful face must have good proportions, and since good proportions mean that a face has its quota of breadth and height in the brow (the usual morphological counterpart of a normal intellect), a beautiful face cannot be a stupid face.
The beautiful person thus probably starts with an advantage in brains over the ugly person; but whereas many beauties yield to the temptation to be idle and easy-going, the ugly person, spurred on, as we have seen, by his sense of inferiority, often
1 In Shakespeare's sense (THE RAPE OF LUCRECE, stanza 5):
"Beauty itself doth of itself persuade
The eyes of men without an orator."
Of course, it may and often does happen that a superficial person calls "beautiful" or "handsome" a face which is not well-proportioned or harmonious, and has only a few of the "properties" of beauty a fair skin, curly hair, good eyes, or what not. In such cases, it may well be that this "pseudo-beauty" is a hopeless fool. But the mistake is not with the theory advanced in this book, but with the superficial person who uses the epithet "beautiful" indiscriminately.
The connexion of beauty with immorality, or wickedness, or slyness, or falsity, as for instance, in Shakespeare's "But there is never a fair woman has a true face," 1 has, of course, no foundation whatsoever, and is merely part of the consistent slander levelled at the beautiful in our Christian culture.
When we appreciate what beauty is namely, harmony, sound proportions, and the health that these guarantee it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that it is the best endowment a human being can receive. And if in our plain and generally ugly communities, a beautiful person finds himself or herself so much the cynosure of all eyes as sometimes to get a swelled head and to neglect other parts of his or her excellent equipment, this is not an argument against the possession of beauty, but against our modern communities, too full of ugly and therefore biologically inferior or degenerate people.
Darwin collected a mass of evidence to show that each race has its own idea of beauty, regards its own best types as the ideal, and condemns all other ideals as ugly. Incidentally Darwin also showed that man usually attaches great importance to beauty, particularly in mating, and as Darwin's examples are drawn chiefly from savage life, we may assume that this is a primitive instinct. 2
Havelock Ellis also endorses the view that each race regards its own type as the ideal of beauty, and quotes Humboldt as having said: "Nations attach the idea of beauty to everything
1 ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, II, 6.
2 D.O.M., pp. 573585. See also O.S., p. 251. Also p. 168 supra. Dr. Briffault (MO., II, pp. 157160) has many data showing that the savage's regard for beauty in mating often conflicts with economic considerations and yields to them. But he admits (p. 158) that the savage generally prefers "youth and plumpness over emaciation and age" in the female. See also MO., I, p. 143, where he says the savage discriminates for "the physical qualities of youth and beauty, which are, ultimately, expressions of the suitability of the female for the rearing of offspring of the best type."
We certainly find, whether we examine the history of ancient India, ancient Egypt, or ancient Peru, that these great civilizations have rightly held a beautiful appearance in high esteem. As we shall see, when I come to discuss the canons of beauty in the human body, not only India and Egypt, but also the ancient Jews, the Greeks and mediæval Europeans, were deeply concerned about this momentous question, and each nation had its own table of values governing taste in regard to human form and mating.
According to an early Peruvian legend, the first Incas who acquired a hold upon the uncivilized population of ancient Peru impressed and awed this subject people by their beauty. 2 Reibmayr also speaks of the great beauty of the Egyptian aristocracy. 3
In the Laws of Manu, the code of the ancient Hindus, we find that a father is commanded to give his daughter to a suitor who is not only of equal caste, but also handsome, 4 and as it is important that the beauty of a Brahman should be preserved, he is urgently advised to select as wife a beautiful woman, 5 and to avoid her who "has black hair on her body," or who is "subject to hæmorrhoids, or weakness of digestion, or epilepsy." 6 Neither must he marry a girl with a "redundant member" nor "one who is sickly." 7 The Japanese, as their culture reveals, were and are great worshippers of personal beauty, perhaps even greater than any other contemporary people. So far, largely unpolluted by Christianity and Western philosophy, and, it is to be hoped, using Western civilization only to the extent necessary for the technical equipment of their political strength, the Japanese appear to have no degenerate notions about a beautiful soul sanctifying bodily foulness, and have carried the admiration even of artistic beauty to lengths which might be considered exorbitant. 8
1 S.P.S., IV, p. 175. See also R.L.P.B., pp. 9699.
2 C. Letourneau: L'EVOLUTION DE L'EDUCATION, p. 196.
3 I.U.V., p. 171.
4 L.M., Chap. IX, 88.
5 L.M., Chap. III, 6062. See also R.R., p. 44, where it is stated that "a girl of ugly appearance should not be selected for marriage."
6 L.M., Chap. III, 7.
7 L.M., Chap. III, 8.
8 Okakura-Kakuzo: THE BOOK OF TEA, p. 112.
Manu also appreciated the importance of beauty as a stimulus to sexual desire (one of the qualities of beauty, by-the-by, which made Christianity condemn it); for he said: "If the wife is. not radiant with beauty, she will not attract her husband; but if she has no attractions for him, no children will be born." 3
The ancient Jews also held personal beauty in very high esteem, and, as we shall see later, had definite ideas about minima and maxima of height, breadth, pigmentation, etc. They certainly must have cultivated a high standard of beauty among themselves; for, according to the Talmud, the foremost Romans, who believed the appearance of offspring could be influenced favourably by the contemplation of beauty during sexual intercourse, used, in early times, to have "paintings of beautiful faces over their beds, in order that, by looking at them tempore coeundi, they might beget beautiful children"; but, after the restoration of the temple, "they caused Jewish youths to be tied to their beds instead, so radiant was their beauty." 4
This seems to show, not only that the Jews reared unusually beautiful types, but were also renowned among the people of antiquity for doing so. 5
A curious story is also told of Rabbi Simeon ben Eleazar which, from another angle, points to the exceptionally high esteem in which beauty was held by the ancient Jews. This Rabbi, one of the Talmudic sages who lived about two thousand years ago, actually insulted an ugly man on the grounds of his ugliness alone. 6 The reader has also only to think of that mar-
1 JAPANESE GIRLS AND WOMEN (New York, 1891, pp. 58, 59, 70).
2 Op. cit., p. 162.
3 L.M., Chap. III, 61.
4 T.J.C., p. 11. This is substantially what Dr. Feldman says. It contains, however, a slight discrepancy. The Talmud, as far as I can discover, does not mention "paintings of beautiful faces", but "cameos on signet rings" (see TAL., Gittin, V, vi, p. 375). Dr. Feldman also says the Romans envied the beauty of Jewish youths, and gives Gittin 58a for this. I can find no such passage in 58a, but I may have missed it.
5 There is Biblical evidence of this; for Abraham's wife, Sarah, was so beautiful, even at the age of sixty-five, that the Egyptian Pharaoh did all he could to possess her. GENESIS xii. 1120.
6 T.J.C., p. 15. For the official Jewish account of this incident see the JEWISH ENCYCLOPÆDIA, II, p. 349.
Who, nowadays, would ever dream of withholding access to the altar of a church from persons with physical blemishes, for fear lest they profane it? On the contrary, everything is done to convince the men, women and children with physical blemishes that they above all are entitled to approach the altar and lean on the bosom of the Lord, which has become a sort of lazaretto.
Does this mean that the Lord's taste has deteriorated since the days of the Old Testament heroes, or that the men who invent the Lord afresh in every new era have altered their values and adopted dysgenic standards?
The Greek regard for beauty is notorious. They not only worshipped beauty, but, as their art shows, also produced a very high type of beauty among their own people a type that has dominated the ideals of Western civilization ever since. They were, moreover, so utterly incapable of separating external or visible beauty from internal or invisible desirability, that their word meant beautiful and noble both in the physical and moral sense. 2 Although Socrates, with his predecessor, Xenophanes, introduced a deteriorated taste in this matter, it must not be supposed that their views easily prevailed. The very fact that Socrates was got rid of for the good of Greece, proves how much his healthier contemporaries detested his outlook; and although, unfortunately, Plato survived to place Socratic bad taste on record, it took some time before the ancient world became corrupted by it. And the fact that until the period of decline the best Greeks could not distinguish a beautiful, from a desirable or "good", person, shows how absolutely sound their outlook was.
Speaking of the Greek appreciation of physical qualities,
1 LEVITICUS xxi. 1623.
2 Listen to a Christian and even Puritanical writer on this subject! Lecky, in his HISTORY OF EUROPEAN MORALS (II, p. 292), says: "In no other period of the world's history was the admiration of beauty in all its forms so passionate or so universal. It coloured the whole moral teaching of the time. . . . It supplied at once the inspiration and the rule of all Greek art. It led the Greek wife to pray, before all other prayers, for the beauty of her children. It surrounded the most beautiful with an aureole of admiring reverence. The courtesan was often the queen of beauty. . . . Praxiteles was accustomed to reproduce the form of Phryne . . . and when she was accused of corrupting the youth of Athens, her advocate, Hyperides, procured her acquittal by suddenly unveiling her charms before the dazzled eyes of the assembled judges."
"'Beautiful and good' is their habitual way of describing what we should call a gentleman; and no expression could better represent what they admired. With ourselves, in spite of our addiction to æsthetics, the body takes a secondary place; . . . and in our estimate of merit physical qualities are accorded either none or very small weight. It was otherwise with the Greeks; to them a good body was the necessary correlative of a good soul . . . they could scarcely believe in the beauty of the spirit, unless it were reflected in the beauty of the flesh." 1
This, of course, as we have seen, is the only sound view. But it was abandoned by Socrates and later by Christianity. 2
The Romans, as we have already implied, paid great heed to beauty, though their conception of personal beauty was certainly more rugged, 3 and less philosophical than that of the Greeks, and the latter days of the Republic distinctly show the morbid influence of Plato and later Greek thought. Cicero, for instance, whose life covers the last years of the Republic, acknowledges this influence. In his letters to his son on Morals and Goodness, he declares he is a follower of Socrates and Plato. 4 But his appreciation of physical beauty is still fairly sound. He speaks of it as though with a knowledge of its biological foundation, although we cannot suppose that, except instinctively, he had this knowledge. He connects it with that "harmonious symmetry of the limbs" which "engages the attention and delights the eyes, for the very reason that all parts combine in harmony and grace." 5
Ovid, who was born in the year Cicero was killed, shows even more strongly the influence of Platonism. His idea of beauty is already confused and uncertain. He acknowledges rather du-
1 THE GREEK VIEW OF LIFE (2nd Ed., London, 1898, p. 130). The italics are my own. A.M.L.
2 See pp. 2024 supra.
3 See P.L.R., p. 598600, particularly in regard to beards and pate-hair in early Rome and later. Suetonius also shows in AUGUSTUS DEIFIED (LIVES OF THE CÆSARS, Book II, lxxix) that in Rome it was customary for the men to cultivate only the beauty of the soldier, i.e. of a man trained in camp life, otherwise it is difficult to believe that an Emperor could have had ill-kept teeth, as Suetonius says Augustus had.
4 DE OFFICIIS, Book I, 2 (trans. by Walter Miller. London, 1913).
5 Ibid., I, 98. See also I, 130, where it is interesting to observe that Cicero conjures his son to acquire a good complexion "so necessary to dignity of mien, through physical exercise." Thus he admits that in the Rome of his day (therefore certainly earlier) a healthy look was an essential part of male beauty.
Still further on, however, he becomes painfully modern English 4 and reveals how well Stoic doctrines were preparing the way for the acceptance of the teaching of Christianity. And if Anthony Trollope was able to call even Cicero a "Pagan Christian", and Petrarch thought he spoke like a Christian Apostle rather than a Pagan philosopher, we can picture the extent to which late Greek philosophy, started on its downward course by Platonism, constituted the propylæum to the Christian temple.
Nevertheless, that a healthy atmosphere must have prevailed in Rome down to a very late date, is shown by the fact that, according to Suetonius, Augustus "abhorred dwarfs, cripples and everything of that sort, as freaks of nature." 5
Now Augustus was an exceptionally popular emperor, literally worshipped by those he ruled. It is, therefore, unlikely that his sentiments differed much from his subjects'; and, if he loathed human freaks of nature, cripples and monstrosities, the Romans probably hated them too. The fact that they had certainly done so in the past is proved by the law of the Twelve Tables 6 which allowed a deformed or crippled child to be killed instantly at birth, 7 while Dionysus of Halicarnassus mentions a law ascribed to Romulus, according to which, in the year 277 of the Roman State, ill-constituted children could be destroyed after five wit-
1 DE MEDICAMINE FACIEI LIBER, 4446.
2 ARTIS AMATORIÆ, I, 251252.
3 Ibid, I, 509513. See also Martial (X, 12).
4 ARTIS AMATORIÆ, II, 113114.
5 Op. cit., Book II, lxxxiii.
6 Circa 450 B.C.
7 H. Ploss: DAS KIND IN BRAUCH UND SITTE DER VÖLKER (Leipzig, 1911, I, p. 162). See also Fustel de Coulanges: LA CITÉ ANTIQUE (22nd Ed., 1912, p. 99), who says that in Greece and Rome the original right of rejecting a child rested with the father.
Throughout the Middle Ages, the doctrine of sin, together with the increasing insistence of the Socratic accent on the soul, conspired in two ways to render physical beauty negligible. In the first place, by making the body the source of sin, and therefore the dangerous side of man, mediæval thought did not mind how much the body was vilified and slandered, both, as we shall see, in the graphic arts and sculpture; and, by exalting the soul far above the body, it made beauty of body of no account, in fact, actually a drawback.
From the very earliest times the pronouncements of the Fathers of the Church regarding beauty laid down the principles upon which the whole of mediæval thought on this matter was to be based; and from which also most of popular modern values have been derived. It is, therefore, important to see how the early Christian Fathers reflected and amplified the Socratic bluff.
John Chrysostom, who lived and wrote in the fourth century A.D., said: "Love depends not on beauty." 3 And in addition to this positive assertion of the Christian value, he denied that there is any other than spiritual beauty. "For even the bodies of the dropsical shine brightly, and the surface hath nothing offensive." 4 His whole argument, in fact, supports the Socratic doctrine that "the only true beauty" is the "beauty of the soul".
Augustine, slightly junior to John Chrysostom, also insisted on invisible or spiritual beauty being the real beauty. Thus, in writing of this inward or invisible beauty, he says: "By this beauty, please ye Him, this beauty order ye with care and anxious thought." 5
St. Cyprian, who nourished in the first half of the third century,
1 ROMAN ANTIQUITIES (trans. by Ed. Spelman, London, 1758, Book II, XV).
2 DE IRA (trans. by T. Lodge, London, 1620, Book I, Chap. XV): "We strangle monstrous Births, we drowne our owne children likewise if they be borne deformed and monsters. It is not an act of wrath but of reason, to separate those things that are useless from those that are healthful and useful." Lodge has "unprofitable" for "inutilia", but surely "useless" is the better word. In the passage, it obviously means what I mean, when I speak of "human rubbish", so dear to the modern man and woman.
3 Op. cit., Homily VII (7).
4 Ibid., VII (8).
5 On the Good of Widowhood, 23 (trans. by Rev. C. L. Cornish, Oxford, 1847)
But the most significant and self-revelatory of all the Christian utterances on beauty were those of Clement of Alexandria, who flourished at the close of the second and the beginning of the third century A.D., shortly before St. Cyprian. Not content with insisting that "the best beauty is that which is spiritual", 2 and feeling that it was not Christian enough to say merely, "For in the soul alone are beauty and deformity shown," 3 he took the bold but quite logical step of arguing that, since external beauty meant nothing and that it was just as desirable, in fact more so, to be ugly, the highest and best man, in fact the divine man according to Christian notions, Jesus himself, was actually ugly, and what to-day would be called biologically inferior.
Thus he writes: "And that the Lord Himself was uncomely in aspect, the Spirit testifies by Esaias: 'And we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was mean, inferior to men' (ISA. liii. 2, 3). Yet who was more admirable than the Lord? But it was not the beauty of the flesh visible to the eye." 4
This was, of course, a death-blow to any high esteem hitherto enjoyed by beauty. The highest hall-mark had been stamped upon ugliness, since Jesus himself was ugly, and the graphic artists of the early Middle Ages, like all the rest of their craft in all times, faithfully expressing current values, therefore proceeded to a steady uglification of Jesus and man.
1 Op. cit., pp. 119, 122, 123.
2 PÆDAGOGUS, Book III, Chap. XI (trans. by Rev. W. Wilson, Edinb., 1847).
3 Ibid., Book II, Chap. XIII.
4 Ibid., Book III, Chap. I.
But this was only short-lived, and very soon, infected by the prevailing values, the painters transformed the type into one more compatible with the Christian outlook. We can watch the process at work. Already in San Paolo fuori-le-mura in Rome, which had been decorated about A.D. 450, Christ appears bearded, ugly and gloomy, and his apostles reflect his appearance and mood. 2 In the church of San Vitali in Ravenna, of the sixth century, the spirit of the antique had almost passed away; 3 in the basilica of San Lorenzo fuori-le-mura the bearded Christ is no longer sublime and dignified, but wan and emaciated, 4 while in the church of SS. Nazarus and Celsus at Ravenna, a mosaic of the fifth century depicts even the sheep as peevish and gloomy. 5
Examples could be multiplied almost indefinitely. In fact the early period of mediæval art is well described by Woltmann and Woermann as one in which the classical cast of figure and features gets swallowed up in ugliness. 6
Thus both values and the expression of them in the graphic and plastic arts, established a strong Socratic prejudice against beauty, and in favour of ugliness, throughout the Middle Ages; 7 and, in many quarters, this prejudice has prevailed down to our own time, although throughout the whole of these seventeen centuries, the healthy instincts of mankind have waged an incessant struggle against it, 8 just as they have against the inveterate sex-phobia of Christianity.
1 HISTORY OF PAINTING, I, p. 156.
2 For the material causes of this change of type, see Milman: HISTORY OF LATIN CHRISTIANITY, IX, p 324.
3 Crowe and Cavalcaselle: HISTORY OF PAINTING IN ITALY, I, pp. 2425.
4 Woltmann and Woermann, op. cit., I, p. 185.
5 Mosaics of the church of S.S. Cosmos and Damian in the Forum (A.D. 526530) show the apostles too as beginning to assume the Christian type. Their bodies are becoming longer and uglier. (Woltmann and Woermann, I, p. 171).
6 Op. cit., p. 230.
7 See R.L.P.B., I., p. 173, and II, pp. 81 and 287. See also R. Maulde de la Clavière: THE WOMEN OF THE RENAISSANCE (London, 1901, p. 201) for a similarly independent view of mediæval hostility to beauty.To offer but one example of this, the Queens of England appear to have been chosen fur beauty in the Middle Ages. The rhyming chronicler, Hardyng, for instance, speaks of the mission to the Court of Hainault, to Edward III's Queen,
Professor Villari quotes a letter written by Lucrezia Tornabuoni to her husband on the subject of their son, Lorenzo the Magnificent's bride, which is an interesting example of the extent to which southern Renaissance people concentrated on bodily or visible attributes, particularly in matters of mating.
"She is of seemly stature," she writes, "and of fair complexion, and has sweet manners, if less gracious than ours; she has great modesty, and so will soon fall in with our customs. Her hair is not fair, for there is no such thing here [Rome]; her tresses incline to red, and she has great abundance of them. Her visage inclines to be rather round, but it does not displease me. Her throat is well turned, but seems to me somewhat thin. Her bosom we cannot see, for it is here the fashion to wear it covered up, but it appears to be of good quality. Her hand is long and slender, and altogether we rate the maiden much above the common." 1
"But after this minute description of the bride's physique," says Professor Villari,". . . not a word . . . of her mind, talents, or character."
A modern English mother, writing to her husband on "Derek's" fiancée, would write more in this strain:
"I like Fiona very much. She's a thoroughly nice girl without any nonsense about her and plenty of common sense. She runs the Girl Guides in her village and is always ready to help in any of the other local shows. In fact she is a most unselfish creature. She has a keen sense of humour too always such a help in life, and is most tactful and considerate. I think Derek will be very happy with her."
Even the Renaissance period in England does not appear to have introduced such a whole-hearted return to biological values as in Italy. The feeling in this respect remained timid and hesitating, and is nowhere more perfectly expressed than in Edmund Spenser:
as being in quest of a beauty. And, commenting on the passage. Miss Strickland says: "Personal beauty was considered by our ancestors as a most desirable qualification in a queen-consort. . . . The Queens of England appear with few exceptions to have been the finest women of their time." LIVES OF THE QUEENS OF ENGLAND (1868, I, p. 378).
1 Op.cit., p. 143.
A comely corpse, with beautie faire endowed,
Know this for certain, that the same doth hold
A beauteous soul, with fair conditions thewed,
Fit to receive the seede of vertue strewed;
For all that faire is, is by nature good;
That is a sign to know the gentle blood." 1
The reader will observe that Spenser says: "Know this for certain." Here then is his conviction, backed by instinct and by the clean conscience that the Renaissance gave to all and sundry in the pursuit and exaltation of human beauty. But the Christian atmosphere was still too strong, even for such a lover of beauty as Spenser. The artificially-conditioned Christian reflexes in his own organism were too deeply rooted to allow him to let the position rest at the splendid stanza quoted above, and in two subsequent stanzas he ruins the effect of his first boldly stated conviction.
"Yet oft it falls" he proceeds "that many a gentle mynd
Dwels in deformed Tabernacle drownd," 2
and so on. And in the next stanza but one, he has these truly appalling lines, almost heralding the Prynnes, the Miltons, the Cromwells that are to come:
"Natheless the soule is faire and beauteous stille
However fleshes fault it filthy make
For things immortal no corruption take." 3
This flat contradiction of self, within about twenty-five lines is reminiscent of Shakespeare's similar hesitations already quoted. 4
Milton, however, does not waver. He throws in the whole weight of his majestic verse on the side of Socrates and Clement of Alexandria, and reveals that there was certainly something more than political sympathies behind his support of the Puritans.
1 THE POETICAL WORKS OF EDMUND SPENSER (London, 1891, V). An Hymne in Honour of Beautie. 20th stanza.
2 Ibid., stanza 21.
3 Ibid., stanza 23.
4 In THE PASSIONATE PILGRIM Shakespeare even outstrips Spenser in his Socratic condemnation of beauty. See stanza XIII. True, Shakespeare may never have written this poem, but there are many similar passages in his works. Bacon, who belonged to the same period, shows a confusion and hesitancy equal to Spenser's. His essay on beauty, for indefiniteness, is the worst of his essays. He clearly flounders between the attitude urged by his soundest instincts, and that suggested by his more recently acquired Christian reflexes. Schiller, as late as 1795, shows the same confusion. See his UEBER ANMUTH UND WÜRDE (Collected Works. Stuttgard, 1857, II, p. 569). See, however, Bacon's ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING for sounder views on beauty.
"In the admiration only of weak minds
Led captive. Cease to admire, and all her plumes
Fall flat and shrink into a trivial toy."
This was the note struck by Puritanism, and I have already shown the monstrous lengths to which it was carried by the Puritans themselves.
It may be said to have prevailed even until the present day, 2 and, had it not been for the courage of scientific inquiry, started in this matter most brilliantly by Herbert Spencer, there would be nothing in the outside world even now to help us back to our healthier instincts in regard to human beauty.
Persuaded by false doctrine and our own artificially-conditioned Christian reflexes, we should still be looking for beauty of mind and soul in the foulest envelopes, and scouting human beauty as merely a mask to conceal foulness, or as a lure to the sexual vices. Herbert Spencer opens his great essay by saying: "It is a common opinion that beauty of character and beauty of aspect are unrelated. I have never been able to reconcile myself to this opinion." 3
He then demonstrates very ingeniously that, since "expression is feature in the making," 4 and since definite proportions and types of features are unquestionably associated, both biologically and ethnologically, with certain well-known emotional and intellectual characteristics and habits, the correlation of outward aspect and character must be regarded as established.
The essay should be read in full. It leaves but little chance of escape to the Socratic or Christian sophist, and it concludes with the well-known and oft-quoted line: "The saying that beauty is skin-deep is but a skin-deep saying." 5
In the course of the argument Spencer anticipated, as I have shown, much of what has recently been established concerning
1 PARADISE REGAINED, Book II.
2 See a typical outburst on human beauty as late as 1902. "Beauty is a dangerous possession. It is apt to beget vanity, selfishness and wilfulness. Those who have it are often spoiled by doting parents. He gets a poor dowry who gets it all in his bride's face. It is but skin deep, and, like character, when once lost can never be restored. . . . On the whole, my observations lead me to think that plain women make the best wives." (THE WIFE TO GET, by G. S. Macdonald, Paisley, 1902, p. 18). See p. 172 supra.
3 P.B., p. 387.
4 P.B., p. 388. Here Spencer was anticipated by Schiller's paper on THE CONNEXION BETWEEN MAN'S ANIMAL AND SPIRITUAL NATURE (1780). See op. cit., X, pp. 4041.
5 P.B., p. 394.
Emerson, in spite of his many absurdities, and probably prompted chiefly by instinct, also acknowledged that physical harmony and desirability were the basis of beauty of aspect, when he said: "It is the soundness of the bones that ultimates itself in a peach-bloom complexion: health of constitution that makes the sparkle and power of the eye. 'Tis the adjustment of the size and of the joining of the sockets of the skeleton that gives grace of outline and the finer grace of movement." 1
In more or less the same vein, J. F. Nisbet says: "Beauty, practically considered, is nothing but fitness." 2
Kisch, the distinguished gynæcologist, writes: "Beauty and health are fundamentally identical", but adds this doubtful statement: "A human being endowed with beauty is usually also more moral than one devoid of that attribute." 3
This sums up the position to which science is tending. It means that after a long aberration which has lasted some two thousand four hundred years, science is at last directing man back to a sound biological attitude towards his own species, just as it has already directed him to a saner attitude towards human and world origins.
Kretschmer, the famous psychiatrist and morphologist, as we have already seen, associates ugliness with general undesirability, which is tantamount to correlating beauty with general desirability. But he also makes an important positive statement about beauty; for he says: "In the selection of mates a beautiful body promises a slightly increased chance of happiness for the prospective harmony." 4
In view of the immense difficulties of matrimony, and the fantastic odds against success even with the most favourably conditioned couples, this guarded statement is of great importance.
1 ESSAY ON BEAUTY.
2 M.H., p. 161. Bulwer Lytton also held this view, for he says: "There is more wisdom than common people dream of in our admiration of a fair face." ALICE.
3 S.L.W., p. 269. The morphologists, MacAuliffe and Giovanni, come to the same conclusion. If "moral" is rightly understood here, it is not objectionable.
4 B.M., p. 311.
It would be interesting to discover how many among the great legislators and contributors to culture (not scientists, for they are not necessarily concerned with harmony and order) have been good-looking people. Bacon mentions "Augustus Cæsar, Titus Vespasianus, Philip le Bel of France, Edward IV of England, Alcibiades of Athens, Ismael the Sophy of Persia", and says they "were all high and great spirits, and yet the most beautiful men of their time." 2 He might have added Alexander, Cleopatra, and her kinswoman Zenobia, 3 Mohammed and Cæsar Borgia, and, if writing now, Stratford, Napoleon, Wellington, Stratford de Redcliffe, Goethe, and scores of sculptors and painters, most of whom are mentioned by Vasari. 4
Thus we must conclude that beauty of the visible person is, as a general rule, a reliable indication of general desirability, and should, therefore, take a prominent place among the desiderata of the mate.
Conclusion 3 (d). This does not absolve us, however, from carefully applying the Black-Sheep and the Rose-among-Thorns rules in the selection of a beautiful mate, or from observing the limitations imposed by race. For although in primitive man the close connexion between beauty and race makes mistakes impossible, civilized man so often extends his notion of beauty outside racial or national ideals, that, as no protective conditioned reflex is present, he requires an intellectual check. But, in this matter, it should suffice for the reader to remember Conclusion 1 above, which, in view of the weighty evidence adduced in support of it, can hardly leave him the desire to err.
A word of caution is, however, necessary in regard to the choice of one's like. Beauty, in the differentiated populations of Europe, has a number of variations, and until values and types
1 M.A.R., p. 488.
2 ESSAY ON BEAUTY.
3 See the high praise of this Queen of Palmyra (A.D. 272) in Gibbon's DECLINE AND FALL, II, pp. 2021. Aurelian had a high opinion of her.
4 In Lemonier's ALFRED STEVENS ET SON OEUVRE, Aphorism CXXXIX, we read: "The body has its destiny. A botched person has never been a master in the plastic arts." See also P.S.M., p. 34, O.H.R.P., p. 20, and G.M., p. 197, where Kretschmer, speaking of the whole class known as geniuses, says: "dysplastic, abnormally developed physiques are more rare among them [than leptosomes and pyknics]!"
To establish a narrow canon of beauty is, therefore, beyond both the scope and requirements of a book of this sort. After all, in the genetic sense, as apart from the characterological and eugenic sense, each man and girl will tend to pursue the type which appears to promise him or her the best sexual adaptation and most sexual happiness hence Stendhal's perfect definition of beauty: "La beauté n'est que la promesse du bonheur." 1
All that need be added to this excellent principle is (1) that no genetic desire should be obeyed, in the pursuit of a mate, if marked ugliness or asymmetry is present, unless exhaustive inquiries have made it certain that the sexual object pursued happens to be an example of the Black Sheep rule. And (2) that in view of the corruption of instinct and the enormous number of unhealthy artificially-conditioned reflexes in modern people, a conscious pursuit of objective beauty, 2 as apart from what appears genetically beautiful in Stendhal's sense, or what is merely beauté du diable (charm of mere youthfulness) should be cultivated, together with a conscious avoidance of objective ugliness.
As, however, in order to apply the Black-Sheep and the Rose-among-Thorns rules we must know the stock from which the prospective mate comes, no mate should be decided upon whose stock parents, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts and cousins has not been seen. They should be observed from every possible angle. The importance of discovering their precise rank in the morphological and biological scale is, of course, primary. But they should also be observed with the view of discovering their habits how they decorate and furnish their homes, how they eat and drink, what they eat and drink, how they sleep, how they agree. Dr. Fritz Lenz says that "family quarrelling is hereditary", and that "even unhappy, and therefore also happy marriages are hereditary." 3 And there is much truth in what he
1 D.A., p. 34.
2 By "objective beauty" I mean that beauty which can be demonstrated as such, i.e. harmony, symmetry, savouriness, lustre, and good proportions, and does not reside in the mind of the lover alone. The fact that human beauty, like all beauty, is objective, is vouched for by no less an authority than Havelock Ellis. (S.P.S., IV, p. 153).
3 M.A.R, p. 474.
Plato was one of the first to emphasize the importance of this. He says: "For people must be acquainted with those into whose families and whom they marry, and with those to whom they give in marriage; in such matters as far as possible, a man should deem it all important to avoid a mistake, and with this serious purpose let games be instituted in which youths and maidens shall dance together, seeing one another and being seen naked, at a proper age, and on a suitable occasion, not transgressing the rules of modesty." 2
Thus, no amount of beauty, however bewildering, in a person should ever absolve us from the duty of learning to know that person's stock, if we are considering him or her as a mate; for one apparently desirable creature may be a mere happy accident in an otherwise undesirable breed.
Conclusion 4. What has been said regarding beauty covers the question of mind and character, as it is impossible to conceive of a person who is visibly desirable, not being also desirable from the standpoint of character and mind.
This does not mean that such a person may not nowadays be spoilt or corrupted by the anarchy of values and general lack of discipline that prevail. But these are matters of nurture and not nature. In careful hands the effects of nurture will always prove themselves to be superficial and modifiable, whereas nature is unalterable.
Conclusion 5 (a). It is, however, when we bear in mind the significant relationship of beauty (psycho-physical harmony and symmetry) to health that we hold perhaps the strongest argument in its favour. For, without health, none of the other conditions of sound mating, however carefully observed, can possibly secure
1 It is interesting to note that the Talmud sages did not allow a husband to repudiate his wife for a hidden bodily blemish, unless there was no bathing establishment in the town where they were betrothed. For if there were a bathing establishment "he would always be able to have her seen there by his [female] relatives" before marriage. TAL., Kethuboth, 75B, p. 242.
2 THE LAWS (Jowett, VI, 771772).
Curiously enough, one of the first of the moderns to emphasize the importance of health in securing happiness was none other than Paley of the EVIDENCES. Writing in 1785, he said: "Health in this sense 1 is the one thing needful. . . . When we are in perfect health and spirits, we feel in ourselves a happiness independent of any particular outward gratification whatever. . . ." 2
Paley calls attention to an important point here. The healthy man or woman is contented and serene; neither is constantly tempted to blame or envy his or her human environment when he or she feels wretched. The sick, on the other hand, are very prone, particularly if they are largely unconscious, despite all the reasoning in the world, to envy their human environment and to hold it not altogether blameless for their pain and discomfort. This makes them much more difficult to deal with than healthy people, quite apart from the deadly boredom of illness in the home and its appalling expense, and quite apart too from the psychological conflicts and aberrations which are usually the necessary accompaniment of a sick, inharmonious and ugly body.
Hence Manu's wise words on this matter. "If the wife," he says, "is radiant with beauty, the whole house is bright; but if she is destitute of beauty, all will appear dismal." 3 Perhaps also this is why Shakespeare says: "Beauty lives with kindness." 4 For beauty, being harmony, symmetry and health, is, as we have seen, less likely than ugliness to be associated with unkindness.
In this sense, and in defiance of accepted middle-class morality, it must be pointed out that it is a much greater blessing to live with a "sinful" person than with an unhealthy person; for the true devil in this world is not "sin", but morbidity and ill-health. I have known scores of "sinful" people in my life; but not one of them has shown a hundredth part of that genius for spreading gloom, bitterness and boredom about, which invalids
1 Meaning "not merely bodily but spiritual" i.e. "good spirits".
2 MORAL PHILOSOPHY, I, Chap. VI, Para. IV.
3 L.M. III 62.
4 TWO GENTLEMEN VERONA, IV, 2.
This concludes the inferences which Chapters II and III have enabled me to draw. More will, however, be said about beauty, health and hereditary disease in the next chapter.