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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Duality of Beauty

As you may have noticed, Coffee Lovers, we have a whole new look here at Stronger Coffee. It's pretty exciting (in my opinion), and I hope I don't get sued for using this fantastic picture of a man in the rain.

In keeping with new appearances, I'd like to talk today about presentation. They say (don't they?) that it's nine-tenths of the law. Why is that? Why would we peg a whole nine of the tenths of our law on how we look?

Everybody is a dual being. Our duality is the key to our humanity. There is an "inside" and an "outside" to everyone (even those people with the emotional depth of a teaspoon). The inside is, of course, more important. But to ignore the outside (and the relationship between the two) is a serious crime of ignorance.

To be perfectly honest, I'm rather vain, but I don't respect vanity. I think it's a commonly accepted form of extreme arrogance. However, I do believe that we should foster a healthy relationship between both sides of ourselves. My inside can be great, but if I only shower once a week, how can I hope to connect to other people? I can look stunning, but if none of that "stunning-ness" has seeped through to the thoughts I'm thinking and the words I'm saying, why even try to connect with people?

I'm not saying we should judge on appearance. That is, in fact, the opposite of what I want to communicate. A lot of words and paper are used every year to draw attention to eating disorders and insecurities in our culture. What if (humor me for a second) we stopped writing about being lovely and beautiful just the way you are. What if, instead, we wrote:

Sure, you may hate yourself now. But remember, in a few days, when you're
eating a slice of pizza (that you're undoubtedly going to punish yourself
for later) that you are the same after the pizza as you were before. You are the
same now as you will be tomorrow. You are the same as you were when you were
born. It's not about looking perfect. It's not about feeding that ego until
you feel perfect. It's about seeing both sides of yourself - the physical
and the spiritual/psychological - and saying, "Hell, I look like crap. Oh well.
I'm me."

So you see, life is a balancing act. So is blogging. If you logged onto this blog every Thursday or Sunday and saw a stark white screen with tiny black words, would you really want to stare at it long enough to take in what it's saying to you? Same if it was flashy and beautiful and I just talked about cats the whole time.

I didn't do so well last week. And, as always, the blog posts that weren't as great weren't read as widely. So I guess that means that, even if Stronger Coffee was in a gorgeous mug, you'd all still be here for the java.

Do me a favor this week: look great. But (but for God's sake!) don't forget to feel great.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.


  1. Everything you say here is true, Michael, and very well said. Now project this truth a few decades. The reality of time is that we reach an age in which nothing we can do about our outside can put us in sync with our interiors. I am, and will be until I die, an old man. No one your age can look at me and not see me as dominatingly aged and old and therefore uninteresting and largely useless. That is life. If you knew me personally, as my students did, you might overcome that perception, but you have to get under the skin. What you will learn (and already show signs of understanding!) is that the aged people around you are in their interiors pretty much the same people they were in their twenties or thirties. The inside does not age at the same rate as the outside. I am going to write more on this topic myself, one of these days.

  2. Thank you very much. I'm glad you appreciated this blog post. To tell you the truth, I have a hard time seeing "old" people as really old. I've always thought that the sooner we start seeing the commonality between all people, the sooner we actually get somewhere with our relationships. Since I've thought this for so long, old people haven't been old to me in a long time. They're just really wise teenagers, right? ;)

    I may not know you as personally as I'd like to, but I have a feeling you're twenty-something (MAYBE thirty) underneath all of those extraneous years, eh?

  3. Hey Michael! Great post--thought-provoking as always. However, I thought the expression was "possession is 9/10 of the law." But it works the way you said it too :) Keep those posts coming!

  4. Michael you're amazing! You're so uplifting and inspirational, you should be a motivational speaker/author one day.