One of the topics that has evolved over time for me is the importance of visual attractiveness. When I was younger I casually discarded the importance of outward appearance, citing the politically correct adage that “its the inside that counts!”. I held this statement to be true not just for evaluating people (including myself), but also for book covers, movie posters and on and on. I don’t need to tell you that this attitude wasn’t particularly helpful in my social life, during job interviews and the like.
More recently I’ve amended my wayward beliefs and recognized that outward appearance can in fact be quite important. A great example often used by Stefan Molyneux is the case of the fat author of a dieting book. You wouldn’t buy it in the first place. If the author’s prescribed path to thinness actually worked then why A: didn’t the author follow it him/herself or B: it doesn’t work based on the rotundity of the author on the picture. Proper aesthetics mean the difference between having yourself and your ideas taken seriously and having them casually dismissed. It is true that one in life don’t have time to carefully evaluate everyone one desires to interact with. We are often relegated to making quick judgments based on the visual first impression.
Another way to put this is that a great mind deserves a worthy vessel (i.e. your body). Taking care of yourself is an expression of the greatness contained within your mind. Now, back to books. As an avid reader of books, I do judge them on their covers when I weigh whether to buy them or not. If the author couldn’t be bothered to find a compelling cover, then why would I assume that they put effort into the words contained in the book? Failing to understand the yin/yang nature of what A.J.A Cortez calls “physicality is mentality and mentality is physicality” would deprive the world of important ideas and knowledge if the author is out of balance.
At the same time visual judgment can be incredibly useful. A sloppy cover will statistically warn me away from a sloppy book that is more money grab than useful intellectual stimulant. People with sloppy clothing and appearance do warn us away from wasting time on them. I include myself in this, I didn’t have a good body/mind understanding or balance at the time and people that judged me for it were well served for doing so. Appreciating the visual can also be applied to politics. Underinformed or somewhat naive people often assume that good, sound, rational and logically consistent arguments always carry the day. Sadly, this isn’t always (or it seems even often the case) true. I myself am naturally more drawn towards “visually pleasing” people if I have a choice between who I listen to. Surrounding yourself with “bad” imagery is anti-persuasive. Political optics is an extension of visual aesthetics. The same argument applies to the fat dieting book author as it does to politicians or political movements with negative visual branding.
Don’t make the same mistake that I made. Learn about and appreciate the role and importance of the visual. Use it both to enhance your own desirability and to evaluate others and their work.