Beauty and the Grotesque


Voluptuous conjures up the image of Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigidia. Marcel Proust in In Search of Lost Time added intelligence to voluptuous and created the phrase “voluptuous intelligence”. Since the moment I first laid eyes on this combination of words I fell deeply and hopelessly in love. What a divine concept, the reverence of the space within our skull, the repository of an unknown number of hopes, dreams and stories. 

VI – very important, voluptuous intelligence, vampish ingenue and six in roman numerals.

Voluptuous intelligence rolls off the tongue, lilting and turning, showing a flash of ankle here, a hint of skin there. How can we obtain this mystical charm? In my opinion the journey to voluptuous intelligence is never ending. We can move towards the target by seeking both the beauty and the grotesque of the world and tying to understand the world and our place in it.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; I will not use this post to give you a 5 point plan on finding beauty – that would be an insult to your voluptuous intelligence. I can only share what I find beautiful and see if it sparks something in your brain and soul.

Where I find beauty in my world

My feet in crisp clear seawater and the sun beating down on my back, perfect notes hit by a tenor in a 19th century aria, National Trust properties and the feeling of history, sharing space with those who have travelled this journey before us. Surrounding myself with books and art allows the beauty of the world to visit me in my cozy home.

Yin and Yang – opposites that combine to give a stronger whole. In order to appreciate yang (beauty) we must face the world’s yin (the grotesque). Like beauty the grotesque is a product of our social conditioning. To find the grotesque I look to media: trauma, terrorism, terrible injustices.

When we seek the beauty and the grotesque and apply the filter of duality, we increase our empathy and do our part to make the world a better place. The individual payoff is that we move along our journey to voluptuous intelligence.