Season 3 Episode 2: Klausbernd Vollmar on Beauty

“Since the beginning of philosophy people thought about beauty, what it is and by what it is caused. This question was dealt with in mythology and literature in Homeric Greece. Paris, the son of the king and queen of Troy, should choose the most beautiful of three goddesses Minerva/Athena, Hera/Juno, and Aphrodite/Venus. This shows the three major characteristics of beauty: wisdom, domesticity and erotic. For us nowadays, it is surprising that this tale sees domesticity as a property of beauty.”

Klausbernd Vollmar, Scientific Psychologist, Author

Klausbernd Vollmar (Photo Credit Hanne Siebers)

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia. 

Thank you for listening in.

I am travelling over 7,500 kilometers to Cley-Next-The-Sea, an idyllic artists’ village situated on the River Glaven in Norfolk, England. I am meeting up once again with my dear blogger friend, and professional author, Klausbernd Vollmar, who is an authority on colour theory and in the language of symbols in dreams and art.   In our last podcast, we explored the influence of colour. Klausbernd has come back for another riveting conversation on the concept of ‘beauty’. This promises to be an extraordinary discussion. So, put the kettle on and add to your thoughts on Tea Toast & Trivia.  

Klausbernd Vollmar graduated with a (MA) in German and Nordic literature, philosophy, geology, and linguistics at the University of Bochum/Germany. In Finland and Germany, he worked as assistant professor specializing in symbol systems. Winning a postgraduate scholarship by the Canada Council, he came to Canada and worked for four years as lecturer at the McGill University/Montreal. He was an editor of several magazines in Germany, Canada, and Greece.

Klausbernd studied and graduated in general and clinical psychology at the Ruhr-University/Germany. Working in Germany and England in a private practice, his writing specialized on colour and symbolism.  His website is www.kbvollmar.com

I enjoy following the extraordinary adventures of The Fab Four of Cley on their blog, The World According to Dina. I continue to learn from the vibrant discussions that open new avenues of exploration.

Robbie Cheadle on Writing Children’s Books Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

  1. Robbie Cheadle on Writing Children’s Books
  2. Klausbernd Vollmar on Beauty
  3. Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia Season 3
  4. Aaron Launches Family Book Challenge 2021
  5. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

93 Comments Add yours

  1. Timothy Price says:

    Interesting.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      So glad you listened in, Tim! Beauty has so many different meanings and influence the way we look at others and ourselves. Klausbernd has given me a fresh perspective on how to engage with the idea of beauty.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Timothy Price says:

        If we rely on most cultural standards of beauty, we are blinded and miss all the beauty that surrounds us all the time.

        Liked by 7 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        So very well said, Tim!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Timothy,
        it’s an illusion that we don’t rely on cultural standards. We do that unconsciously and consciously and we don’t have any other means to judge. Especially those people believing the illusion that they don’t they do most. I think the way to understand what we call beauty is to think about all norms defining beauty. Freedom lies in seeing these different norms and choose which one you like.
        Thanks for commenting
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  2. Dear Rebecca and Klausbernd, I really enjoyed your discussion about beauty and its inside. For me, too, it has been overrated in the last years, if I just see it in skinny women, but the way you connect it with kindness,simplicity and to belonging to, I just love it:) Many thanks for passion in what you do:) Very best regards Martina

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for listening in, Martina and for adding to this special conversation. There are so many aspects of beauty that influence our lives subliminally. I want to be more deliberate in the way I view the world around me. It is so easy to dismiss something that I don’t understand. Many thanks for your friendship over the miles!! Hugs

      Liked by 7 people

      1. I am more and more convinced that this period leads us on a slower, more deliberate, slower path, as you say, which in the end gives us more! I think the miles, of distance, my dear friends, are not really of importance for feeling near:) Hugs Martina

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Klausbernd says:

        I absolutely agree, dear Martina.
        Have a cosy evening and thanks
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Klausbernd says:

      Thank you VERY much, dear Martina.
      It would be interesting to research when beauty changed from a positive concept to an authoritarian concept.
      For Friedrich Schiller beauty was a concept connected with political freedom. Nowadays beauty is a concept connected with the freedom of consumerism. Interesting, isn’t it?
      Thanks a lot for commenting
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Ich schreibe auf deutsch,lieber Klausbernd, weil unser Buch von Zygmut Bauman und “Leben als Konsum ” in dieser Sprache ist. Er sagt also:” Ich schoppe, also bin ich! Ich würde sagen, dass das Schoppen, z.B. um attraktiver auszusehen und im Beruf Erfolg zu haben, nach seiner Überzeugung keine Freiheit mehr ist, sondern ein Zwang- man wird zur Ware-, denn, wenn, man nicht mitmacht in dieser Konsumwelt oder diesem Konzept als Unterklasse bezeichnet und diskriminiert wird, also schlimmer behandelt wird, als wenn man arbeitslos ist!
        Many kind thanks for your interesting thoughts and should anybody want my message being translated, the person has just to tell me!! Very best regards Martina

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Klausbernd says:

        Liebe Martina,
        in der Warengesellschaft wird jeder zur Ware. Ich habe das Buch von Zygmut Bauman allerdings nicht gelesen (aber vor langer Zeit Karl Marx studiert). Ich würde sagen, im gewissen Sinn sind wir bereits alle zur Waren geworden und zu folgsamen Konsumenten, selbst wenn wir uns dessen bewusst sind.
        Ich schreibe auch lieber deutsch. Die Kritik an der Gesellschaft ist doch bereits seit Büchner, Marx, Engels, Luxemburg und Brecht, um nur einige zu nennen, stets in Deutsch vorgebracht worden 😉
        Mach’s gut und danke für deinen treffenden Kommentar
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Ich muss zugeben, dass mich dieses moderne, autoritäre Konsumkonzept ziemlich traurig stimmt und ich frage mich nun, wann der Wendepunkt wirklich stattgefunden hat und warum!
        Ich danke dir für deine zusätzlichen Angaben und wünsche euch eine gute Nacht:) Martina

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Klausbernd says:

        Liebe Martina,
        das kann ich dir auch nicht sagen. Ich denke mir, der Konsumterror kam nicht mit einem Mal sondern eher schleichend. Erich Fromm spricht das teilweise in “Haben oder Sein” an. Das einflussreiche Werk über das Besitzstreben 1976 zuerst veröffentlicht. Ich denke mir in Alexander Sedlmaiers “Consumption and Violence: Radical Protest in Cold War West Germany” findest du auch einiges deine Frage betreffend. Ich habe das allerdings nicht gelesen. In den Endsechziger und siebziger Jahren, als ich Student war, war Konsumterror und Warengesellschaft ein viel diskutiertes Thema. Interessant dazu ist auch vom Rabbi Jacob Needleman “Geld oder der Sinn des Lebens”. Ich habe das Buch vor Jahren mit großem Gewinn gelesen.
        Mit lieben Grüßen vom regnerischen Cley heute
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      5. Lieber Klausbernd,
        du hast ein sehr gutes Beispiel genommen mit Haben oder Sein, das mich damals tief beeindruckt hat. So ist es mir auch leicht gefallen das Buch zur Hand zu nehmen und kurz einige Zeilen, die ich damals unterstrichen hatte und die auch, so denke ich zum Thema passen, durchzulesen.
        Immer mehr Menschen werden sich bewusst, schreibt Ericht Fromm, dass unsere Gedanken, Gefühle und unser Geschmack (z.B. SCHÖNHEIT) durch den Industrie-und Staatsapparat manipuliert werden, der die Massenmedien beherrscht.
        Zu Geld oder der Sinn des Lebens werde ich mich noch informieren.
        Wir haben weder Regen noch Schnee, aber starken Wind.
        Vielen Dank 🙂
        Martina

        Liked by 3 people

      6. Aus dem Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny von Bertold Brecht: Das einzige, was verboten ist: kein Geld zu haben – darauf steht die Todesstrafe. Entschuldige Klausbernd, aber diesem Satz konnte ich nicht widerstehen! L.G. Martina

        Liked by 3 people

      7. Klausbernd says:

        … und in “Die heilige Johanne der Schlachthöfe” wird der Mensch vom Produktionsmechanismus verarbeit.
        Liebe Grüße
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      8. Ich habe mir das Buch nun gekauft, lieber Klausbernd, und gesehen, dass es uns mindestens in die 192o-30iger Jahre zurückgehen lässt! Hab vielen Dank:) Ich hoffe, dass es bei euch inzwischen nicht mehr regnet. Cari saluti Martina

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Klausbernd says:

        Bei uns hat es geschneit, liebe Martina. Alles war wunderschön weiß heute morgen, aber jetzt tat es leider stark und der Charme ist weg.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Das freut mich für euch!!:):):):)

        Liked by 2 people

      11. Klausbernd says:

        Danke, liebe Martina 🙏 🙏
        In den siebziger Jahren haben sich viele Leute damit beschäftigt. Eine Dekade später war dieses Denken aus der Mode gekommen.
        Ich wünsche dir ein rundum schönes Wochenende
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave Astor says:

    Fascinating and erudite conversation, Klausbernd and Rebecca! Interesting to think about how the concept of what is beautiful has changed and not changed over the centuries. And I’m glad beauty within was brought up along with “surface” beauty.

    When I saw the topic of this podcast, I couldn’t help thinking of Zadie Smith’s compelling novel “On Beauty” — which is not “on beauty” per se but does address that subject here and there.

    I look forward to the future discussion of “ugliness” you mentioned at the end. I’m sure it will be equally fascinating.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Dave – I have already downloaded Zadie Smith’s novel “On Beauty” on my Kindle. This looks like a brilliant read – looking forward to putting the kettle on and settling down for a “long winter’s read.” Thank you for listening in. I am delighted that you enjoyed the conversation. I am looking forward the to “ugliness” conversation too!!!

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Rebecca,
        I just did the same 🙂
        Hugs
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Klausbernd says:

      Dear Dave,
      I suppose the problem is not so much between inner beauty and the beauty of the surface. Hegel wrote in his “Aesthetics” “appearance is essential to the being” – well, in the original it rather says that the appearance is reflecting the essence (Der Schein ist dem Wesen wesenhaft). I see the challenge much more in what we call beauty or what a society judges as beautiful. This seems to me always a political statement.
      Thanks a lot, dear Dave.
      Keep well
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    3. I, too, am looking forward to the conversation on the concept of ugliness.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Klausbernd says:

    Dear Rebecca,
    thank you very much for giving me the chance to speak about beauty here. That was a great conversation that Don brought into a perfect form. Thanks to Don as well.
    If you like to read more about beauty (with beautiful pictures) have a look at
    https://fabfourblog.com/2021/01/12/beauty/
    With lots of love from the sunny sea, big hugs
    Klausbernd 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for your generosity in sharing your insights on beauty, Klausbernd. I have been over to https://fabfourblog.com/2021/01/12/beauty/ which provide a more in-depth written discussion. Sending much love and many hugs from rainy Vancouver to the sunny land of my dear friends, The Fab Four of Cley.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        It’s wonderful!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Rebecca,
        it’s easier to be more in-depth in writing but it doesn’t has the charm of our talking. It’s more scholarly. I see the blog and podcast as complementary.
        Love xx
        Klausbernd

        Liked by 4 people

  5. Mary Jo Malo says:

    What a vibrant and comprehensive survey of aesthetics contained in this too brief podcast! I thoroughly enjoyed how Klausbernd wove together its history and our current mis/understandings of it. And I love how you always bring into these discussions, kindness and nature, our real connections. What stands out in particular is objective beauty based in universal principles found in biology and physics, or what I call Truth. Our subjective response to the beauty found in nature is real, but our response to superimposed constructs of beauty found in advertising and media isn’t ‘natural.’ If beauty is connected to our desires, then it can be easily manipulated. Art however, as Klausbernd says, is something else altogether. Through its creative representations, it prompts unique responses to beauty. We question and see things differently and perhaps more authentically than ever before. Art can actually help us appreciate the truth of natural beauty. I’d like to hear more about Novalis’ blue flower. My own little research reveals it to be something rare and therefore symbolizes the impossible made possible through love. That’s symmetry! Klausbernd brought together objective and subject beauty in ways I’d never considered. Until today I hadn’t understood Keats’ sometimes poetic words…

    Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

    (Ode on a Grecian Urn, 1819)

    Thank you, Rebecca, for this stimulating and important conversation. Beautiful! 🙂

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      So glad that you enjoyed this discussion. Frances agrees with you – the podcast was too brief. Thank you for adding depth and breadth to this discussion, Mary Jo. I remember studying Ode on a Grecian Urn and the words, Beauty is truth. A huge message contained in three words. Klausbernd has a more in-depth written discussion on beauty on https://fabfourblog.com/2021/01/12/beauty/. Sending hugs and love along with with my gratitude!!!

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Mary Jo Malo says:

        I visited immediately after listening to your podcast, and it was beautiful! 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Rebecca
        “Beauty is truth”, that was the idea of the classic authors. Goethe inspired by the German art historian Winckelmann saw beauty as truth. Influential was Winckelmann’s idea of beauty being good and real. Plato had similar ideas many centuries before.
        With love from the sunny sea
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Mary,
        thanks for quoting this Ode on a Grecian Urn. Keats goes back to the classic idea of beauty being truth. The classic writers took it for granted what truth is. For us, it is not. Up to the 19th c. the (Greek) classic very much idealized. I would see it as a kind of intellectual emancipation to leave this ideal behind.
        I would ask, what does it mean “beauty is truth”?
        Keep well
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Klausbernd says:

      Dear Mary,
      “The Blue Flower of Romanticism” goes back to Novalis’s novel “Heinrich von Ofterdingen”. This novel is a fragment. Especially in early Romanticism, the fragment was a liked form in writing. In the first chapter of this novel the protagonist, that’s Heinrich, sees his love – as a classical Anima-figure – in a dream in a blue flower. Actually, it’s quite amazing how often Novalis mentions the colour blue in this first chapter. Of course, that’s because blue is the colour of longing and longing is one of the central topics in Romantic philosophy. But this is the one side only. If you read on you will find another basic idea of Romantic thinking. You’ll come across the sentence “God is mathematics”. Unfortunately, later generations suppressed this side of Romanticism. This tension between objective mathematics and subjective longing It’s typical for the Romantic philosophy.
      Thanks for commenting
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

  6. Ms Frances says:

    I was carried back to my university days as I listened to this worthy podcast–just as intellectual and as full of enlightening information as any lectures of those past days. I am reminded of beauty all around us in nature, but also in the love and kindness of our fellow humans. Thank you for all the positive words that caused me to look to a broader influence of beauty. I’m looking forward to the next positive exchange between the two of you! ! !

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I knew that you would enjoy this podcast, Frances. I remember when we were in University together and I attended one of your psychology classes. Those were amazing days. When I was listening to Klausbernd, the quote that came to my mind was by Carl Jung: “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” I think that beauty is an internal conversation that requires a more deliberate approach to understanding how we engage externally. Thank you for adding to this discussion. Sending hugs and love!!!

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Ms Frances says:

        I am so grateful that I am able to listen to your intelligent exchanges with your podcast friends!

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Rebecca,
        I agree with Jung and that applies to beauty as well. What we see as beauty is a reflection of our thinking and feeling in the end. But Jung was in a way old fashion as he couldn’t see that our thinking and feelings are far less indidividual than we think. In a way he had a romantic approach – seeing the Romantic era as the time when the individuum was discovered and praised.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Klausbernd says:

      Dear Frances,
      thanks a lot for your kind comment 🙂
      This podcast should open one’s eyes for all the beauty around and open one’s mind to think about it.
      I am so happy that you recovered. Stay healthy and happy
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ms Frances says:

        🌿🌷🌹🦋⚘🥀💕

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ms Frances says:

        🌿🌷🌷🌹🦋🥀💕

        Liked by 2 people

    3. I, too, was carried back to my university days by Klausernd and Rebecca’s far-reaching discussion of beauty. I seem to remember essay by Walter Pater about art for art’s sake . . .

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Liz,
        Walter Pater dared to write subjectively in a beautiful style. I only know his writings about the Renaissance. I like his impressionist style, kind of flee floating and associative. Of course, from a scientific point of view, he got criticized quite a lot. I think, his writing about art is art.
        `Art for art’s sake´ was quite a popular idea in time he was writing during the 19th c. He was influenced by Romantic authors like Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg).
        Thank you very much for reminding me of Pater.
        Keep well
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      2. You’re most welcome, Klausbernd. I was quite taken with the notion of art for art’s sake. I still am.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Liz,
        `art for art’s sake´ comes from the French l’art pour l’art. The phrase was used first by the French philosopher Victor Cousin in the 19th c. But the idea goes back to Immanuel Kant who wrote that art should be purposeless. I am not quite sure about this idea of purposeless art. On one hand I like that in our society is a place for something purposeless, on the other hand, I doubt if something in our society can be purposeless. I rather think that art has a pedagogical and political responsibility.
        Thanks for answering. Keep well
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      4. I’m going to have to think some more on this. Thank you for your thought-provoking response.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Liz,
        you are very welcome.
        All the best
        Klsusbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Paul Andruss says:

    It was illuminating to hear Klausberned’s wide-ranging erudite musings, as he and you, navigated the minefield of beauty as both a Platonic aesthetic and a biological imperative. It is such a wide ranging topic that impacts so much our evolutionary, cultural inheritance and common humanity. The idea of beauty starting with kindness is so true for beauty is not only over-rated (and often airbrushed in advertising) but also fleeting. The idea of beauty being revealed through kindness is often found in folktales. Can’t wait for Klausbernd’s UGLY truth, which I expect will be just a dazzling.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I love those photography filters that makes me look like I’m 20 again and 30 pounds lighter! LOL. I am fascinated by kindness in folktales, Paul. There are many more conversations for 2021. Thank you for listening in and being a guest on TTT. Hugs!

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        I am looking forward for you talking with Rebecca about folktales.

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Dina says:

        I’m sure you’ll love the new neural filters in Photoshop as well, Rebecca; they can make you look 20 years older! 😳 Maybe I’ll have a go at some portraits and create a blog post about it.🙄😂
        Hmm, when I look at the image in my passport I think I can’t possibly reach the age I’m looking. 🥺
        Hugs and hugs to you in Vancouver!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. Clanmother says:

        I am looking forward to seeing those “ancient” portraits that show the wisdom of years. Hugs and more hugs!

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Dina,
        Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma and me we love it if you make people look older. That’s revolutionary as everywhere people are photoshopped to look younger, this “for ever young” idea. Making them looking older is a great idea!
        🥰🤗🤗🥰

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Clanmother says:

        I agree wholeheartedly!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Klausbernd says:

      Dear Paul,
      thanks a lot for your differentiated comment. Yes, actually it was a minefield speaking about beauty as so much is written and thought about it.
      I agree, it would be interesting to study beauty in folktales. In Grimm’s collection of fairy tales we often find the symbol of the beautiful princess and of the beautiful prince. I am sure you have much more knowledge of beauty – and of ugliness as well – in folktales than I have. Wouldn’t that be an interesting field of research?
      Keep well
      Klausbernd

      Liked by 5 people

    3. Klausbernd says:

      P.S.
      I just had a short break for thinking. It came to my mind that in fairy tales the outer beauty seems to be often the reflection of inner beauty.
      By the way, is there a difference between folktales and fairy tales?

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Paul Andruss says:

        I am no authority on folktales (although I have used a lot of tropes in my work) or fairy stories but if I had to differentiate the two …
        Folktales are the original stories that gave rise to the literary form of fairy tales. The fairy tale form originated with Perrault in 17th century French Salons with his Tales of Mother Goose. Fairy stories were sanitised versions for polite society.
        Every culture has its own folk tales, all with versions of supernatural beings. Celtic, Chinese and Turkish stories all contain creatures we would recognise as fairies. Celtic fairies are more normal sized humans. Tiny supernatural humans with or without wings more readily correspond to genius loci or lares and the household gods (pixies, brownies, gnomes).
        Both Perrault and The Brothers Grimm (largely) used folk tales that had already passed into literary form. Cinderella is a good example. They both developed versions from Straparola’s story La Cenerentola. He published his collection of 75 folk tales in the 1550s. A century later it had fallen into obscurity. Cinderella stories are found in Ancient China, Greece and Egypt. Some maintain an original version involved Isis looking for the resting place of her husband Osiris’ body.
        The Brothers Grimm version is dark, as are a lot of their tales. Aschenputtel (ashes girl?) has her cute little birdie friends peck out her stepsisters’ eyes after they have cut off their toes and heel to fit into the glass slipper. (In your face, Disney!)
        The tale, like you said Klausbernd, reflects the idea of domesticity in a woman being a trait of beauty. The basic idea is found in the story of Griselda in the Decameron (1300s) where a commoner marries a king and has to suffer all sorts of humiliations to prove she is more virtuous than higher class women. We still find variations of the theme in Hollywood movies and soap operas- the ‘tart with a heart’ character.
        The continuation of folklore tropes through millennia are probably the origin of Jung’s Archetypes and his collective unconscious which if I remember right, he never maintained was a form of genetic memory – so more likely to be a form of societal memory. And, of course, Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces
        The only story off the top of my head about beauty being revealed from ugliness comes from Irish folklore which also uses the innocent fool archetype. A king sends his 3 sons to gather water from a well. All meet a hideous hag who offers a pail of water for a kiss. Only the youngest son agrees. After a right old smackeroo, he opens his eyes to find the crone is a beautiful woman- Sovranty, the Goddess of Ireland. By passing the test he gains a throne.
        PS- it’s so nice to have these conversations

        Liked by 5 people

      2. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Paul,
        thank you so much for your knowledgeable answer 🙂 🙂
        The brothers Grimm with their influential collection of German fairy tales changed these fairy tales following the morals of their times. One may wonder why are there so many stepmothers in their tales. Originally it was the evil mothers but that mothers can be evil wasn’t acceptable in the 19th c. And the Grimms revised their tales quite often.
        I always prefered the literary fairy tales of the Romantic time. For me, they are beautiful whereas Grimm’s fairy tales are often quite brutal. On the other hand that shows that they go back to much older sources.
        Concerning “Aschenputtel”: `Aschen´ is ash but I didn’t know what `puttel´ meant neither. I found it in my etymological dictionary: `puttel´ is (mostly a young) girl that does the dirty work in the house. It’s a dialect of the Rhineland.
        Interesting is this connection of the beauty and the beast which one finds in the stories of 1001-nights as well. It seemed to be a kind of archetype. Usually, beauty is connected with the Anima, the female, but in the tale “Froschkönig” (The Frog King) it’s the man who becomes the beauty. The brothers Grimm knew that this fairy tale is quite old therefore it became the number one in their collection. It maybe goes back to the “Satyrican” by Titus Petronius (around 50 ACE). I find it interesting how the frog as a symbol of ugliness changes into a beautiful prince after being kissed. I would read it that love changes ugliness into beauty and this transformation we find quite often in fairy tales.
        All the best
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Paul Andruss says:

        Thank you, Klausbernd, I learned so much. Yes you are right about the Brothers Grimm their brutal versions do seem to reflect an older (And more authentic?) tradition. It would be brilliant to simply to sit down with you and let the conversation roam where it would. This is the joy of what Rebecca does. In this snap-chat age, she brings back genuine conversation. All my warmest regards to you and yours and of course to our hostess.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Paul,
        yes, that would be great indeed, having a drink and sitting together chatting. We are so lucky that Rebecca provides an atmosphere for us that’s nearly like sitting together and talking.
        In Germany we have the tradition of Volksbücher (Folk Books – I don’t know if that is the correct translation) like the “Schildbürger” and that of Doktor Faust (going back to a version inspiring Marlowe and surely inspired Goethe). I find it interesting that in these folk tales beauty doesn’t play an inportant role. Most of them are more like the stories of Mullah Nasruddin, more funny in a sophicated way.
        With very warm greetings from the cold sea
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  8. Dina says:

    Thank you both for sharing your knowledge and passion in this discussion about beauty – and kindness, Rebecca and Klausbernd❣️
    Fascinating how much room kindness becomes in the comments, it speaks to the heart and is more important than ever. Mother Teresa demonstrated that genuine kindness is a gift of rare beauty, bless her.
    Since the pandemic, there’s the big sign along the road when you enter our little village; BE KIND. I like it, it works, it removes part of the ugly side.
    As for the beauty-is-good stereotype: physically attractive people are perceived and treated more positively than physically unattractive people. But haven’t we all met attractive people who went from hot to not the second they opened their mouths? Vice-versa, some people are so kind and awesome that you can’t help but be attracted to them, regardless of their looks? Which makes me wonder: beautiful is often perceived as good but isn’t good also beautiful? We are an extremely looks-obsessed culture, and research does show that the people we initially perceive as physically attractive tend to follow a very predictable pattern: they are average, symmetrical, and have hormone-dependent features. But don’t things like character and goodness also factor into our perceptions of physical attractiveness?
    In a world where you can be anything, it’s a great virtue to be kind.
    Sending you love and hugs
    from The Little Village next the Sea 🌊
    Dina-Hanne
    “Kindness is like snow- It beautifies everything it covers.” – Kahlil Gibran

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Dina-Hanne, your insights resonate with my experience. “Beautiful is often perceived as good but isn’t good also beautiful?” As I look back, what I remember is the kindness that was offered during times of uncertainty and transition. As few years ago, I spoke with a friend who had just recovered from a near death experience. He said that all he thought about at the time was the love that he had received during his lifetime and the love that he had given in turn. Klausbernd has opened my exploration into a new way of embracing beauty, of delving deeper into an internal conversation. The “BE KIND” sign is very much like the mantra of our B.C. Providing Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry: “Be Kind, Be Calm and Be Safe”. Sending much love and many hugs back across the pond.🤗🤗🤗❤️❤️❤️🙏🙏🙏

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Klausbernd says:

      The connection beautiful is good seems to be archetypal. Its seems to be a spontaneous reaction of human perception. But in more modern interpretations the devil is a beautiful seductive guy as well.
      The connection of kindness and beauty seems to me is going back to the kind of thinking of the Romantic era. And I agree, to be kind makes a person beautiful. Well, that’s the often quoted inner beauty.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Dina says:

    Fellow bloggers have made us aware of the BBC documentary “Why Beauty Matters”. Louise Lockwood made a documentary based on Scruton’s “Why Beauty matters” and I have bookmarked it for tonight. (Also, I hope to find Waldemar Januszczak’s documentary on “Ugly Beauty”)

    So a bit later on, we’ll put the kettle on and watch the documentary and get back to you.

    Hope you have a great, little birthday party❣️🍀 Many happy returns to Don from all of us. xxxx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Dina, for this information. Heading over to BBC Youtube now. Had a great birthday celebration. Wish you were here in person, but felt your were celebrating with us on your side of the world. Hugs and much love.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Klausbernd says:

      Thanks a lot – that’s the big question why beauty matters.
      😘🤗🤗😘

      Liked by 5 people

    3. Klausbernd says:

      Dear Don
      Happy Birthday and many healthy and happy returns. You do a great job!
      With lots of love
      Klausbernd, Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        P.S.
        Sorry, we are bit late

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        🤗🤗🤗🤗🎉🎉🎉🎉🎁🎁🎁🎁

        Liked by 2 people

    4. Klausbernd says:

      Scruton’s “Why Beauty Matters” presents an extremely one-sided, reactionary view on beauty. Modern and post-modern art is seen as negative and ugly. There is no mentioning of modern art theory. I am amazed how such a text could find a publisher. But an ideal book to study prejudices about modern art. Actually, I would call this book populistic.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Klausbernd says:

    Getting inspired by all the comments here as well as on Dina’s and my blog I have the feeling that we often see beauty too idealistic and as one-dimensional. Beauty is very much connected with harmony and in a world lacking harmony beauty is a lie. But one could see it the other way round too that beauty is revolutionary in a world lacking harmony. I suppose it’s both and that’s what makes the concept of beauty interesting.

    Liked by 6 people

  11. I remember reading about a study done with infants shown photographs of women who weren’t their mothers. The infants always responded more positively to the photographs of women considered beautiful. The conclusion of the researchers was that the infants were responding to the symmetry of those faces.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Klausbernd says:

      Dear Liz,
      we repeated this experiment when I a student in our institute for experimental psychology as well. We found out the same. Our interpretation: It’s the symmetry that matters. We then used pictures of women in which we had reflected one side of the face so that right and left side were exactly the same. The little children reacted with big smiles. For us, that was proof of the proof that symmetry matters.
      Thanks for commenting 🙏 🙏
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Isn’t that interesting! So your findings were that regardless of the proportions of the face, if both sides were symmetrical the babie’s responded positively?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Klausbernd says:

        Indeed. But I can’t remember to which age that lasted.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. HI Rebecca, this is a fascinating discussion. I have often pondered on the first world ideal of beauty and how seemingly destructive it can be for our young girls who become obsessed with a concept of beauty that is impossible for most healthy young women. The media is responsible for a lot of the eating disorders that arise and also all the dissatisfaction people have with their looks. Young people have surgery and use Botox in pursuit of this elusive idea of beauty. I personally, have always associated great beauty with either a selfish and horrible person like the snow queen in the book of the same name, the queen of Narnia, or the queen in Snow White or as something that brings you great difficulties in life like Cinderella. I have never been a person to pursue physical beauty through alteration. I do love beauty in nature, but have you noticed that it is never perfect? Perfection and beauty don’t really go together in nature. It is usually the unusual and different that is extraordinary and beautiful.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you for adding breadth and depth to this conversation, Robbie. I remember the time, in my early 20’s, when I went to a plastic surgeon to correct what I considered was a crooked nose. The plastic surgeon was as wise as he was brilliant. (I found out later that he did a great deal of reconstructive surgery for people who had experienced accidents.) By the time I left his office I had decided that my nose was not crooked and that I really didn’t need the surgery. To this day, when I look into the mirror, I am thankful for my nose and for the surgeon who took the time to refocus my vision. Sending hugs your way.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        Dear Rebecca,
        fortunately, you met a wise plastic surgeon.
        It would be a special topic to think about how we are seeing ourselves and how we are judging our appearance. For women, these women’s magazine had a big influence but men were free from it. But that has changed with magazines like Men’s Health. Men were not any longer allowed to accept themselves as they are they have to follow a norm as well.
        Love and hugs
        Klausbernd 🙂 who thinks your nose is beautiful

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Clanmother says:

        You always make my day pure sunshine!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I certainly haven’t noticed anything wrong with your nose, Rebecca. I would never undergo cosmetic surgery as I know the risks and I’ve suffered through to many necessary operations with my children. 30 in total.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Klausbernd says:

      The imperfect is the new perfect, isn’t it?
      Well, beauty is a kind of archetype and those basic symbols are always polar. In myths, fairy tales and literature, in general, you find the negative and the positive beauty.
      I changed my appearance with bleaching and colouring my hair, using make up for talk shows on TV etc. And I don’t have the feeling that’s wrong. Where is the limit I ask you.
      Cheers
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Klausbernd says:

    Having read and answered all the comments here and on Dina and my blog I want to make clear that I think we need beauty in our modern world. But it’s no longer this classic beauty of an idealised harmony or celebrating something glorious. We have to look for beauty in our modern world and it’s products, beauty in LCD sculptures (Tatsuo Miyajima) or Video and light installations and in street art (street art photography) etc. We have to emancipate ourselves from a classic understanding of beauty. We have to learn to see the beauty in our modern world and not looking back in a reactionary way to an idealised concept of beauty. The idea of beauty changes like every idea, it’s living. Van Gogh’s pictures weren’t seen as beautiful during his life, the same happened to the impressionists, to Picasso etc. It always took a while until the receivers saw avant-garde art as beautiful. Kandinsky thought it would take about 30 years. Our judging of artefacts tends to be quite conservative. Thinking about beauty – and such a podcast – can change this I hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you Klausbernd, for your eloquent discussion of beauty. I agree wholeheartedly that we must emancipate ourselves from a classic understanding of beauty. I often wonder, had I lived in Van Gogh’s and Monet’s time, whether I would have rejected their artwork. I shudder at the thought. But still I wonder…
      You have given me insight into how beauty has evolved within the confines of cultural structures. I especially appreciated your words: “The idea of beauty changes like every idea, it’s living.” I believe that your podcast on “ugliness” will add more understanding on how we view beauty. I think that Van Goethe wrote somewhere “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” (I hope that I didn’t take that out of context) Thank you for joining me on TTT. It was a honour to have this conversation. Thank you for adding more in-depth thoughts on the follow up discussions on Dina and your blog and TTT. With much appreciation for all that you do for our blogging community!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Klausbernd says:

        Dearest Rebecca,
        thank you sooooo much for you kind commentary that nearly made me speechless. I feel very much honoured.
        I noticed when I spontanously reject an aesthical object it changes after I have talked to my sister about it who is a specialist for post-modern art and works in that field. Without my sister’s help I would have rejected it. And that would have been the same with van Gogh or the Impressionists would I have lived in their times. Without somebody explaining their art I would have rejected it, I am afraid.
        We, The Fab Four of Cley, believe that blogging has to be entertaining but at the same time has to transport a message (by the way Brecht followed the same idea for his plays).
        We are so happy to work together with you. You are inspiring Hanne-Dina and me a lot. Thank you very much!
        With lots and lots of love ❤ ❤ ❤
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        I am thrilled that you introduced me to Bertolt Brecht. Speaking of messages, here is one of his unforgettable thoughts: “Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.” I had goosebumps reading this! Looking forward to the many conversations that are coming to us in the next months. Sending many hugs and love to my dear friends the Fab Four of Cley!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Klausbernd says:

        Good morning, dear Rebecca,
        Brecht had the ability to phrase ideas in a moving way.
        Wishing you all the best from sunny but stormy Cley. Big HUGs
        Klausbernd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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