I’ve often wondered what would happen when technology/medicine/surgery would get to a point when we all could become as thin, sculpted, symmetrical, and luminous as we’d want. Would differentiating people based on their beauty be irrelevant? After all, everyone would be beautiful right?
Well, as all human history has shown, we seek to create distinctions among people — for better or for worse. These differences are often based on religion, skin color, intelligence, wealth and beauty. We all want to feel special. Fast forward to the future when we’re all “perfect” aesthetically speaking, I still believe we will seek ways to standout from the rest.
In fact this is already happening! When prefect teeth became a reality thanks to great orthodonture work, veneers and bleaching, people started seeking an imperfect smile. Gap teeth are the rage (Lara Stone and Georgia Jagger’s pearly whites are on the front of every magazine these days!); expensive “natural looking” (i.e. a bit crooked) ceramic veneers are in high demand; and gleaming, twinkling teeth are now seen as gauche. (“When That Smile is Too Perfect”, The New York Times and “Lara Stone and Georgia Jagger make gap teeth the new face of fashion“, guardian.co.uk)
What’s next? Will people seek out zits and chunky calves? Maybe. As exhausting as it sounds, no matter what next body part we perfect, we’ll find something else to change, some other quest to fulfill. Are we just hamsters in cages always running but never getting anywhere?
As depressing as that sounds, there’s something hopeful about it too. Of course I don’t think we should obsess about improving our beauty just like I don’t think we should obsess about cleanliness, getting our kids into college or our cars. The quest for improvement stems from our belief that a better future awaits, and the desire for differentiation reflects our sense of self-worth and uniqueness.