Art


Art and Music and Relationships13 Aug 2016 09:28 am

Album Release and The Art of Living:

People attain a sense of meaning and purpose in their life through a variety of means. An abbreviated list of ways would include: tasks and accomplishments, thought and ideas, experience and emotions, faith and belief, and events and adventures. The way we derive meaning, joy and satisfaction from our lives could be referred to as the Art of Living.

I advocate for an approach which attempts to maximize the moment by integrating sensorial, visceral, emotional, conceptual and psychological elements as often as possible. Both experience and logic seem to verify that such well rounded and comprehensiveness provides our lives with much depth, richness and satisfaction.

While everyone is free to find what best works for them I must admit a sense of wariness and fear when people employ methods that emphasize mind, spirit and consciousness at the expense of dismissing, ignoring, devaluing and sometimes demonizing the body and sensorial life.

If we lived in a global community that was life affirming all personal preferences would be safe and acceptable. Yet, when our and all of organic life’s continued existence is threatened through war, intolerance, etc. the respect for and valuing of physical organic life becomes essential. The less one values and appreciates our bodies and tangible organic life, the more likely it becomes that we will engage in or tolerate actions which harm and destroy organic life. The more the body and the world is a burden, obstacle, temptation, illusion or thing to transcend the less likely we are vigilantly insure its survival.

My music and lyrics are a major way in which I personally grow and find meaning in life. It is also the means by which I try to have a positive impact on the quality of life of others as well as have a life affirming influence on the world as a whole. I, therefore, greatly appreciate your taking the time to listen to my songs, and ask that you introduce and share it with others.

So, here are 2 songs from my latest release Go!
Below for those who are interested is a little insight into how I create music and write songs.
Just tap on links immediately below and enjoy!

 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/feelin…
 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/track/carniv…

To read lyrics and listen to songs from all currently released albums go to:

 https://guido2.bandcamp.com/music

Just tap on any album cover and go from there.

Me and my music

Occasionally when writing a song I’ll start with an image, or a phrase and then find a couple of chords which fit. Yet, the vast majority of the time I start with a totally clean slate and play chords on the guitar (or piano) until they create a distinct emotional environment.

Out of this musical mood/environment a tentative vocal line emerges. After singing nonsense words for hours over a number of days, the song usually coalesces into a few distinct musical sections with their own chord patterns. Then the dance between actual words and melody lines begins to happen which shapes the length and order of each section, verse and refrain,

My entire songwriting process is extremely organic and as reflexive as speech or driving a car. I usually enter a kind of emotional trance state trusting that words will come to me which elicit and evoke what I’m feeling. In many ways I experience the bulk of the process as me listening and paying attention to my emotional and sentient body. While my ego does help in the decision process by and large my ego spends its time trying to listen and portray what I’m feeling.

Songwriting is a form of personal therapy in which I learn about me as I create. I often find that the longer I sit with my original lyrics the more comfortable I become with them making it unnecessary to make many changes or alterations. While words serve many purposes in my lyrics I find a certain hierarchy of preferences. I most often use words to evoke and elicit an experience or mood, next I prefer words that express, after that comes words that articulate and my least favorite lyrics are those that explain.
I would learn little about myself if I all that I created was managed or filtered through my self-conscious ego. The learning of myself comes after a songs completion when i reflect on and savor what I’ve created.

Ironically, I find that my music is easiest for people to enjoy if they start first by reading the lyrics and my liner notes. In this way most people find a way to appreciate the mood and intensity of the music. Most modern music is a consumable, while my songs are more art than easily digestible sound.

I seldom find music that moves me more than that which arises out of me. I feel that my music speaks and shares many aspects of myself in an intimate and powerful fashion. I invite you to viscerally enter my world and inspires you to further explore yours and maybe even motivates you to share with me some of your reactions and experiences.

Jim Guido

Art and Music and Poetry16 Jan 2014 06:47 pm

This is a copy of the release announcement for my new album.

Hey,

This email is to announce the fourth album of mine to be released on Bandcamp.com. The album is entitled Opportunity Lost, and joins Flesh of Life, Life in the Shadows, and Edge of Eden on the site. To access all four albums click on or type in  http://guido2.bandcamp.com and scout about to your hearts content. All albums and individual songs come with notes and credits to help you better digest all that is there. Please read my sneak preview of Peek-a-Boo that follows……sneak preview…… (peek-a-boo)….. okay one pun down many to go.

Peek-a-Boo

Shortly after the first glimmer of self-awareness a child develops the life long need to be recognized and appreciated for being a unique individual while also feeling connected to and loved by others. These two basic dual needs of humans often become a source of interpersonal conflict and ambivalence in adolescence when teenagers demand total autonomy and privacy one moment and then bemoan being ignored and abandoned by others the next.

In infancy these dual needs get met simultaneously in the game of peek-a-boo with mom, dad or a caretaker. Most infants wriggle, giggle and squeal in delight at the prospect of being discovered anew time and time again during a peek-a-boo session. At this moment the child feels recognized and appreciated for being a unique entity while feeling swathed in their mothers love and care. Most parents have experienced the urgent cries of a child who feels the game is being terminated too quickly.

Since the desire to be loved and recognized lasts throughout our lives we usually find ways to encourage others to recognize us (think bellbottoms, or candy colored hair) and to be emotionally connected to us (teams, play groups, clubs, etc.). In latter childhood peek-a-boo gets replaced with more sophisticated games of being discovered and recognized like hide-and-seek, tag, red light, Marco Polo and even less obvious games such as Simon Says, Mother May I and Charades.

The primal need for recognition, a sense of belonging, and being appreciated for one’s uniqueness is demonstrated by the emotional power contained in live artistic performances, award ceremonies and personal tributes. We can attend a ceremony or watch a tribute or award ceremony and get a lump in our throat at the prospect of a total stranger getting a standing ovation. Similarly the emotional power of a wedding ceremony is often heightened and amplified by the number of people witnessing the public acknowledgment of love and appreciation of one person to another.

Actually the whole veil aspect of the wedding does seem to go out of its way to replicate the whole peek-a-boo moment of discovery and unbridled (pun intended) attention given at the moment preceding the exchange of vows.

So, one of the ways in which I personally seek to continue to play the game of peek-a-boo and hopefully get re-discovered, validated and appreciated for my uniqueness is through my art. The time and care that goes into every lyric I write and song I compose is my attempt to share the most intimate parts of myself with friends and the world in general. Anyone who has seen my drawing and handwriting immediately realizes that as a child I did not get the usual “props” when I brought home such works from early school years.

While the desire and need for appreciation, validation, recognition and connection never leaves us, it does appear that most of us find few avenues in our adult lives to get those needs met (charades and Pictionary only go so far).

All in all I can’t tell you how much it means to me when any of you take the time and care to read my words and listen to the songs. In many ways my music is my public personal diary. There is little in life I enjoy more than sharing with others. As many of you know I treat the average conversation as a hungry man approaches a smorgasbord. Please click on http://guido2.bandcamp.com and dine on my musical offerings. Come visit often and invite friends to dine there also. If you get a chance email or write me your thoughts and feelings whether they are related or inspired by my songs or just to satisfy your need for a round of peek-a-boo.

So the last thing I have to say is: “Tag, you’re it”.

United in Compassion,

Jim

The album and lyrics can be downloaded at Bandcamp. Click on the music tab above if you’d like to listen to some more of my music. Yet you can only download music at http://guido2.bandcamp.com.

Art and Music and Poetry30 Aug 2013 09:24 pm

Hey,

My music is now being released on Bandcamp.
All of you loyal listeners of my music can now download my album on Bandcamp.
You can also download individual tracks for as little as $1.
Just go to Bandcamp and type in Jim Guido, or GuidoWorld and the album Flesh of Life will be there for you to listen to and download.
The songs have been remixed and are of a higher quality than on this website.
Each and every month I plan on releasing another of my albums on band camp.
Let me know what album you want me to release next.
If you’ve never listened to my music, just click on the music tab on the upper right and have a listen.

Also let me know what songs you like best. I will keep track of your votes and combine them with sales from Bandcamp and give you updates on the top songs.

Currently the most listened to songs on this site are:

1) Dancing Hippos (Edge of Eden)
2) Live Until You Die (Flesh of Life)
3) Preening Like A Peacock (Priorities)
4) Haunted (Edge of Eden)
5) Dance For Me (Take Me)
6) Making Money (Opportunity Lost)
7) Inexhaustible You (Flesh of Life)
8) Feeling Me, Feeling You (Go!)
9) Every Bit of Your Heart (I’m Just Saying)
10) Take Me (Take Me)
11) Talking About Yesterday (Mortal Joy)
12) Too Many ?’s (I Rock Therefore I Am)
13) Table 4 1 (Significance)
14) Inexhaustible You (Flesh of Life)
15) Bonsai Beauty (Visceral Vicissitudes)

Please also vote for your favorite lyrics.

Happy listening, and I do appreciate your support.

Art and Music28 May 2012 10:06 pm

Hey,

Check out seven new songs. Click on the music tab.

Go to the Visceral Vicissitudes CD and enjoy the 7 songs that are completed.

While you’re there check out the lyrics and music of some of the other near 200 songs posted.

Should have another 10 to 20 up this year, along with other updated mixes.

Let me know of your favorite and least favorite mixes.

Enjoy

Jim Guido

Art and Philosophy28 Aug 2010 11:14 am

Imagine you’re sitting in a drawing class and all eyes are focused on a bowl of fruit at the front of the room. All have been instructed to draw what they see, and have received identical technical instruction on how to draw the image before them.

After all have finished you walk about the room to see all the drawings. Though impressed with the accuracy with which they have rendered the bowl of fruit you can’t but help noticing the fact that no two drawings are identical. In fact, the longer you look the more unique and different each drawing seems from another, while at the same time still “accurately” capturing a relative photo of the bowl of fruit.

There are many reasons for these differences. First in even a simple pencil line drawing there are numerable subtleties in each pencil stroke in terms of width, darkness, and interface with the next line. There is also slight differences of focal point of the picture where your eye is drawn to see as the true center of the drawing. There are variances in the play of light and shadow, in what is highlighted and what is more background.

The list of variances of drawings in a single class could fill up pages in a book. While some of these variances are due to slight differences in motor skills and physiology of each individual artist, there are also differences caused by the individuality of each artist experience of the bowl of fruit.

Each artist is occupying a unique position in the room and with it a unique vantage point of the fruit bowl. This causes slight changes of perspective in the view and perception of the bowl. This unique perspective not only influences the angle and focus of the drawing, but also makes significant alterations in the play of light and shadow.

An artist who is attempting to truly draw what he is seeing in terms of shapes and lines will render the scene much differently than an artist who is drawing a bowl of fruit. The one drawing a bowl of fruit will be influenced by the preconceptions of banana, apple and orange. The one drawing lines and shadows rendering may look more abstract in that the fruit may not immediately maximize its apple-ness or orange-ness, but rather look and feel more like geometric shapes than pieces of fruit.

The emotional state and the feelings evoked by the bowl of fruit will also be part of the artist’s end product. One who is bored or neutral to the scene will draw a much different portrait than one who is hungry or finds the scene nostalgic or fascinating. Likewise a happy artist draws even the most simple line differently than the mantic or depressed one.

Many of the variables which cause each drawing to be different and unique are also changing during the time spent drawing the bowl of fruit. Often times the play of light and shadow are changing, any shift in position or body posture of the artist changes the perception of the scene, and at every moment the artists emotional and psychic experience of the bowl of fruit is in flux. In many ways the artist is changing at each and every moment and so, therefore, each finished drawing is a composite of different artists (the same person at different points in time).

The differences between line drawing are minor compared to the differences that arise when colors and different mediums are introduced. A fruit bowl rendered through charcoal, oils, water colors, or clay will be dramatically different than through a pencil line drawing. The relatively infinite variety is found everywhere from brush strokes, to density, to pixels.

The amount of shade or brightness will greatly affect the shade of green or red of the apple in the fruit bowl. Even whiteness will be altered by the contrast induced by the neighboring fruits and open spaces. Yet, despite the myriad of differences the experience of the same bowl of fruit persists.

Our life experience could be looked at as an innumerable number of snap shots of our life world. Each and every moment we are the artist taking note and documenting his perception of his environment. Like the still life drawings, we are all seeing the same things but our individual experiences and perceptions are unique and different from each other and from our past experiences of the same object.

Who hasn’t read a book or viewed a movie a second time and been struck with how different the experience was the second time? A favorite book I read as a teenager or young adult is not the same book as the one I read now in my fifties. In each reading I perceive and take away something different from the previous one.

This potential of human growth, change and development is not an exhaustible resource. As long as we are a living and sentient being we are always capable of new and significant perceptions and experiences. In fact we are incapable of ever truly duplicating any life experience, for each and every moment we are a slightly different person with a new history and emotional perspective.

Yet, the inevitability of human change in all aspects of perception, thought and experience does present some challenges. It does make it obvious that no one can truly experience what we do and that we are always alone in the universe. It also tends to put limits on how much certainty and finality we can have in terms of self and worldly knowledge. Yet, that is the cost of being a truly unique and individual person who is able to grow and change.

Though our experiences and perceptions are always redefining and composing ourselves it does not mean that we and our lives are random, chaotic or meaningless. What it does mean is that our sense of self and life experience is an ongoing process. While some might view a sense of certainty as reassuring and secure, it also is very limiting and opposed to the way we experience life.

The uniqueness of our every experience and our never ending sense of who we are should not be a threat to our ability to share with others and feel apart of the world. Likewise, our ability to feel connected and to love others should not dampen our ability to feel unique and special.

As humans we have both a need to belong and a need to be a unique individual. The built in irony to this is the fact that we need others to validate and appreciate our uniqueness. So even our ability to feel unique is dependent on the validation we receive from others.

The good news is that our needs fit in with our very experience of life. Though no one can truly duplicate our thoughts, feelings and perceptions we all see the same bowl of fruit. In general we all see and feel the same world, we all sense that others have similar feelings and reactions to the way others behave and conduct themselves.

We can see joy, fear, concern and love in the eyes of others, and in the way they act even if they do not speak the same language as us, or live in a culture very different from ours. We can see we have many of the same needs and concerns and can derive great joy from making others feel good about themselves and safe in the world.

We can all enjoy looking at the renderings of others while still not detracting from our own view of the fruit bowl. We can hear and appreciate the articulations of others on how they view the world without it detracting from our experience.

Even when we are drawing a still life, it is still life.

I enjoy the opportunity afforded me through this website to articulate my individuality as well as hopefully render our shared reality. I feel very fortunate to be a human being, and aspire to help others get to a place in their life where they can appreciate the beauties and wonder of human existence.

Humanity is a composite of all of our individual perceptions and feelings. Sometimes our desire for certainty and truth blinds us to the true beauty and wonder of human experience. Instead of providing all with a pencil and paper and let them draw and express who they are and what they feel we hold up the official painting of reality for all to agree to and revere.

Certainty is dangerous because it is so foreign to how we actually experience life.

Jim Guido

Art and Philosophy and Psychology15 Aug 2010 05:02 pm

This post will be some background thoughts and reflections on the poem Awed which I posted last time.

The first part of the poem focuses on the incredible vastness of the universe. The next theme is how rare and precious life is in this vast and generally empty universe. Even more rare and precious than life is conscious life, or life being conscious of itself. It is this capability which makes it possible for the awesomeness of life and the vastness of the universe to be perceived and appreciated.

Only recently through the inventions of telescopes, space probes and radio wave technology have we been able to get a glimpse into just how vast and complex is the universe. Us conscious human beings have grown and developed to the point where we are beginning to understand the inner working of ourselves and the universe. If our current theories and observations are correct the time that humans have been conscious and self aware is an infinitesimal moment in the life of the universe.

Organic cellular life itself seems to be a relative babe in comparison to the existence of planets which are babes in terms of suns which are babes in terms of the theoretical beginning of the universe. Yet, without conscious life there is no awe, appreciation or understanding of our vast and ancient universe.

Though human life and consciousness are as incredible if not more incredible as our vast universe, we have a tendency to denigrate conscious life and to deem things outside of us as being more important and amazing. In man’s early history we totally denied our consciousness and often attributed our thoughts and feelings to gifts from the gods.

It seems highly unlikely that one day we decided to think, perceive. use language or feel emotions. These capabilities seem to be hard wired into our being human. This is not to say that our basic humanity hasn’t grown, evolved and developed, but only to point out that there is no reason to believe that we just one day decided to become conscious and have an awareness of self.

Yet, just because we didn’t create our own ability to be conscious doesn’t make our self awareness any less amazing. It also doesn’t make it necessary for us to create theories or beliefs regarding who or what created our consciousness. Though very few species show any signs of self-awareness approaching human kind, we are quick to imbue other entities with a superior level of awareness, motivation and intentionality.

Instead of simply appreciating the mystery and awe of being that rare form of life that is self aware, we have to supplicate ourselves before a higher power that not only is superior and more aware than us, but whose very definition negates all that makes up our perceptual and experiential world.

These superior entities always have an awareness, ability and intentionality far superior to ours. We ascribe and attribute to these entities oxymorons such as infinite and eternal being. Whether the concept be god, spirit, supreme being, nature or the creator the message is still the same, that something or someone is in charge and ultimately answers the question of ultimate beginnings and authority.

When it comes to our own consciousness and sense of self we similarly have a need to denigrate our own talents and attribute a superiority to an outside entity or source. We even downplay our abilities to perceive, think, and feel by focusing on our limitations and posing purities outside of ourselves. This is evident in the way we talk about the unconscious, ideals and Truth.

Our sense of self, the ego, is so often portrayed in a negative light. We are quick to point out how often our perceptions are inaccurate or incomplete, and how often we are unconscious of something important.

Tough it is certainly true that we are finite and imperfect, it is absurd to think it could be any other way. Life, experience and human consciousness is an endless process. We learn, grow and develop, yet who would want it any other way.

If we knew everything, or had no errors what would be the point and joy of day-to-day life. Experience itself is only possible through our sensorial and mental limitations. An all seeing person would see no thing (nothing). The same could be said of any other sense or thought, feeling, etc. At each moment we are selecting what to pay attention to and to anticipate next from a whole slew of sensorial input. What we see, feel, smell, hear, taste and cogitate is a selection process.

Without the selection process we would be perpetually inundated and overwhelmed. We would have no sense of meaning let alone an experience of present, past and future. Our sense of self, history and personal meaning are all acquired through the wonder of choice and limitation.

Those who focus on human limitations in a negative way are themselves misperceiving the process. Errors in misperception are rectified by another perception. The way we know that the earth isn’t flat, or that the earth isn’t the center of the universe is through an additional observation and perception. Perception, observation and experience are the only means of correcting misperceptions.

Likewise, modern psychology is often fond of talking about the unconscious, as if it were a thing. One speaks of the unconscious speaking to the conscious, as if the unconscious was superior and had an intentionality. Often times it seems as if the unconscious has become some kind of oracle or god trying to speak to us.

Yet, even if you want to believe this to be the case, the simple fact is that any previous unconscious memory that becomes conscious does so through an act of consciousness not an act of unconsciousness.

What we know best is that which we can sense, perceive and experience. Yet, what we perceive, observe and experience often losses out to what we believe. Being finite beings that live and die and that are full of limitations our lives are not capable of certainty. We do not know everything or even anything for certain.

I am fairly certain that the sun will greet me in the morning tomorrow as it has for every day I can remember, but I cannot say with 100% certainty that it has and alway will “rise” forever. I can say with a high sense of confidence that if I were to deprive another human being of oxygen they will die, yet I cannot say that humans always have nor always will need oxygen. In a finite temporal world of human experience there are possibilities and probabilities but few if any certainties.

There are some mysteries of life that have a high probability of finding an answer to, yet there are many mysteries that have a very low probability of being solved. What is fascinating about us humans is how often we forsake the things we have the most certainty of such as experience, observation and perception for that which we have the least certainty for which is what we believe.

We denigrate our feelings and perceptions while exalting those things which are beyond our comprehension or frame of reference such as God and Nature. Often times those who believe in God treat agnosticism or atheism as an act of egotism. They will often ask don’t you believe in a higher power, or something or someone greater than yourself.

My general response is that in such a vast and diverse universe it is hard for me to imagine that we are the only intelligent life or that there is no one or nothing more developed or powerful than humans. Yet, I’m not so egotistical as to think that anything greater or more conscious than myself has to be God or a supreme being.

Yet, any concept of an infinite, absolute being is beyond my comprehension. Everything I can imagine and logically understand is finite. By definition there can be only one infinite. Therefore no creator could be infinite. For a creator would have to create something, therefore, there would have to be both a creator and its creation. This makes two things hence the creator would not be infinite. Secondly, creating is an action, and an action takes place at a specific moment at a specific place which also conflicts with the concept of the infinite.

When I was young I went to a Catholic school and the nuns were fond of telling us of all the wonderful qualities of God. God was all loving, omniscient, omnipotent, all seeing, eternal, omnipresent and all forgiving.

What I could not wrap my head around is the simple fact that there could be only one infinite. So either God would have only one quality or he would not be infinite. What I did point out to the nuns was that if God existed he could not be infinite for to exist he must have a form and be in space and therefore he would be finite. The nuns responded that this is was just one of the great mysteries.

With that we were in agreement. How, when and why we were created seemed to me to be unanswerable questions. Yes, these were mysteries. So, why not leave them be mysteries rather than claiming with certainty that God exists and he loves, punishes, wants us to believe, etc.

Part of the awe regarding the universe and for our rare and precious self-consciousness is that many parts of it are and will most likely remain mysteries.

Science like religion has been very fond of certainty of finding unchanging laws and Truth. Yet, over the last century a healthy amount of doubt and mystery have been seeping in. In both religion and science everything seemed to be fated. Since God was all knowing nothing could happen that he didn’t already know, therefore, all is predestined. Though we had free choice, God already knew what choices we’d make. Likewise, science said that for every action there was a predictable and predetermined reaction and therefore, everything played out the way it is destined to play out following all the rules of motion.

Yet, when Einstein pointed out that Time is not absolute but is altered by perspective and that each individuals experience of time is different from anyone else’s he opened the door for true individual human experience and choice. Time experienced in a spaceship the speed of light differed from that of one on a plane, walking or sitting still. In addition time for a person changed with the amount of gravity they were experiencing.

A further blow to scientific certainty and its unpleasant counterpart of predestination was delivered by quantum mechanics when it was observed that light could be both a particle or a wave, or later that a particle could be two places at the same time. This branch of science went further went it noted that experiments showed that a given particle had options and choices and the best one could do is predict the probability of its movement.

It will be interesting to see if the scientific community will embrace choice and probability or once again try to make finite existence follow absolute laws, which do not match our internal experience of ourselves or of our environment.

I’d like to offer one more observation of those who claim its arrogance on my part which has me question the existence of god or a higher power. I enjoy being human, of being life becoming conscious of itself. I enjoy the lack of certainty, and relish in the opportunity to learn, grow and develop.

It seems to me that the person who tries to make certain that which is unknowable is more an act of arrogance. The false humility and modesty is no more apparent than in terms such as “the chosen people” or the faithful, who by there very title are given a special status or reward. Isn’t it interesting that to admit ignorance and embrace mystery is a sign of arrogance and egotism while professing that one knows with certainty the existence of the supreme being and what he wants us to do is a sign of humility.

As the poem says,

Is life a gift a miracle?
Perhaps,
yet there is no denying
it is the rarest of opportunities

The opportunity to live,
and be conscious of being alive

Jim Guido

Art and Philosophy and Psychology04 Aug 2010 07:16 pm

Awed

The universe we live in is vast
The universe is amazingly vast
The universe is surprisingly vast
The universe is unimaginably vast

Stars are incredibly hot
Yet they are but small random specs in the vast cold universe
Massive telescopes and space probes
Look through space and time
Radio wave technology
Seeks for evidence of intelligent life
Yet we have yet to find any other life conscious of itself

We are indeed rare us living and conscious beings
Though stars be small specs in vast space
There are far more stars than conscious beings

At the base of our personal universe
We lie in bed in gentle embrace
Silently greeting the day
We are two hearts beating warmth into a cold and lifeless universe
Our lungs are breathing life into a empty and sterile universe
How rare life is in this vast universe

Each day we wake and know we are alive
We accomplish the rarest of feats in the entire universe
We are in deed fortunate to live and breathe
To have experience and personal history

We are surrounded and cradles by life
Our teeming planet
A small oasis in an endless desert of space

We are so rare, so precious
So incalculably fortunate
Is life a gift a miracle?
Perhaps,
yet there is no denying
it is the rarest of opportunities

The opportunity to live
and be conscious of being alive

Jim Guido

Art and Gender Issues and Psychology and Relationships and sexuality and Social Issues09 Aug 2009 10:20 am

I’m always amazed at how many of us behave in ways which seem to indicate that we do not view the human body as a thing of beauty? In fact there is much evidence to lead one to conclude that we are not only not happy with our bodies but view them as something to overcome and transcend.

Since the onset of puberty when I started to become attracted to the female form I found the majority of female bodies beautiful in one way or another. It was rare that I found a female form without some alluring or at least redeeming quality. Being heterosexual I was neither drawn to nor desired the male body. Yet, this did not prevent me from admiring my own or other males muscle tone or physique.

As I’ve mentioned many times how the female form has been central to art and the definition of beauty for almost every culture on the planet. Yet, despite this fact there does seem to be a tendency for people to be critical of the human form and in many ways find the human body disgusting or something to overcome or transform.

The use of make up has become more pronounced through the ages. While it can be used to enhance or draw attention to particularly attractive aspects of a person such as their eyes or lips, it also can be used to hide perceived flaws. If you pay attention to the message given in advertising the major role of current make up artistry to cover up flaws and create false impressions rather than accent strengths.

The entire realm of cosmetic surgeries even goes further in its desire to remove flaws and overcome weaknesses. Referring to a woman as a natural beauty is becoming a rarer event, especially amongst females.

The percentage of woman who state that they are happy or even comfortable with their bodies is shockingly low if you believe the statistics in magazine polls and psychological self-esteem studies.

If you look at Woman’s magazine’s beauty ads and photos you see a very narrow and unrealistic form of beauty. The models build and body type look very similar and they are air brushed into a rather cartoon like existence. Though male nudity magazines often tend towards featuring woman with larger breasts and flat stomachs you can still find woman of many varied body types being presented in an erotic fashion. Though the air brushed female is on the rise in male mags there is still plenty of space given to celebrating the varied forms of the female body.

The male form is far less celebrated in our society, and is at least as narrow in its definition of masculine beauty.

Other than a few rare exceptions the general male body is not considered attractive by our culture. In fact many woman state they find a partially or well dressed man far more attractive than a nude one. Not many men would say they prefer a clothed female body over a naked one.

In fact, many woman and men are uncomfortable and even disgusted by the male form. In modern cinema the naked female body is posed as a thing of beauty while the male body is seldom naked as when it is it usually is used a vehicle for comedy. While woman may complain that the female bodies in cinema are unrealistic and idealized, everyone realizes a male cavorting around in his underwear is a recipe for hilarity. A nude woman dancing and bending over is often erotic while a nude man dancing and bending over is used as a comic device in cinema resulting in people laughing and shouting words of disgust such as “gross”.

If people’s discomfort with the sight of the human body is becoming more pronounced it is nothing in comparison to the campaign against the human scent. When was the last time you heard someone praise the natural scent of a person other than their lover or spouse. Our bodies exist in a world of deodorants, perfumes, colognes, and scented shampoos where any trace of a natural human scent is impossible to discern. Any hint of the body’s natural scent would almost usually be viewed as poor hygiene. There use to be a difference between body odor and its scent.

Sure bad breath and stench are to be avoided, but isn’t there a positive role for one’s natural scent. Is the smell of the human body inherently offensive and disgusting? And if we feel the human scent repulsive what does it say about our view of ourselves and humanity in general.

In future posts I’ll take a look at other ways in which we show a dislike for our very humanity, sense of self, and experience of life. Yet, before concluding today I want to offer a couple more observations regarding our view of the male form and beauty.

If you’re male try to spend some time listening to female’s inn conversation, if you’re female pay attention to how central the concept of beauty is to feminine dialogue. When entering a house, or a shop or when first meeting another female it is rare that no observation or compliment regarding the beauty or physical appeal of something is not made within seconds. Something worn or in the room or changed is noted or praised. A new hair style, clothing, ear rings, etc, will be noted, or the feel or look of some object will be brought to everyone’s attention.

Over then last few years I’ve been astounded by the percentage of conversation time females spend assessing, appreciating and describing the sight, feel, smell and taste of beautiful things. Yet, despite this preoccupation with beauty and beautiful things how rare it is for woman to appreciate or articulate the beauty of the male form.

Males who seldom talk of the beauty of objects, on the other hand, generally view the female form as the height of beauty. This irony is depicted in the following lyrics from Preening Like a Peacock.

Preening Like A Peacock

Preening like a peacock hormones out of control
Preening like a peacock putting on the show

Women find beauty in natural things
Sunrise/sunset, seashores and gems
Women see beauty in many things
Flowers, colors, in fashion and rings

She sees beauty everywhere, preening like a peacock
Why is she looking way over there, preening like a peacock

A woman feels beauty in every touch
In satin, silks and in a baby’s flesh
A woman smells beauty in every sniff
In perfumes, herbs and floral scents

Spending hours smelling roses or buying a new top

A man sees beauty in the girl of his dreams
His temptress, his partner, his goddess his queen
A man finds beauty in a woman’s form
A breast, a thigh, a hip bone exposed

She is the goal of art
She is his anchor and spark
She gives the milk of life
Without her he shrivels and dies

A man feels beauty in the passion of curves
Flowing from buttock to the small of the back
A man feels completion with a woman in tow
She’s his altar, his Eden, his castle and throne

While I preen my feathers I feel oh so hot
Every time I feel I’m pretty I hear the bubble pop

Nothing pleases like a maiden in heat
Itching for pleasure from her head to her feet

Yet lust fades as quick as it comes
From an 8 course banquet to a stick of gum
In a woman’s world of beauty men don’t make the cut
A few handsome faces maybe and the occasional butt

But we’ll never really get it, we’ll continue to strut
We’ll shake our tail feathers thinking we’re too much
We’ll shake our tail feathers we’ll strut our stuff

To listen to this song go to the Priorities CD in the music section.

Jim Guido