A thought from Rome

A friend just asked me to define “ugly”…

Not easy…but considering what I have in mind just now, I think his question makes sense and I can give him some kind of answer.

They say Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Does this apply to ugliness as well…? Can beauty understand ugliness…? Can the ugly ever perceive beauty?

As it happens I am in Rome for a short vacation. Today I went to the beach in Latina, – a little town just outside the Italian capital – together with my girl friend and her sister. As always, I sit and watch people. I may seem rather judgemental and I ask to be excused, but with the exception of some tattooed young girls who vaguely reminded me of some Etruscan statues, I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing so much ugliness around me.

What do I mean with ugliness…? Total lack of personality and expression, emotional absence, empty kind of glances, sufficiency and frightening vanity…- yes, ugliness is inarticulate and vapid,  the ugliness I talk about is ugly not because it is “ugly” but because IT IS ABSENCE – neither beautiful nor ugly… Countenances with no trace of passion, presence or interrogative awareness…Unfortunately, vividness or beauty can hardly be described. Yet, in the nearness of beauty though, there is order, there is a sense of balance, some kind of beneficial vibration.

In the nearness of ugliness there is an overwhelming feeling of disproportionate inutility, disorder, unbearable flatness and appalling tastelessness.

Ugliness is the icon modernity prays to.