Yesterday’s post prompted thoughtful comments from readers, both visible on the site and invisible via the contact button. Apparently facial symmetry fascinates all of us and has much to do with how beautiful or handsome we appear to the general public.
Scientists and poll-takers have started a debate about perfect faces, joining plastic surgeons and make-up artists, who’ve already been there for decades. Researching on line, I learned that precious few people are born beautiful.
Brad Pitt and Kate Moss are supposedly two examples of perfection. Their faces have been measured by experts and found to be exactly even in feature dimensions. In other words, neither of them have a “bad side” when they walk Hollywood’s red carpet. It’s just all good.
My friend Terry, a mathematical genius, blog-commented that she’s also studied facial symmetry and has experimented with her high school students. “I had them bring in a picture of their faces as frontally dead-on as possible. Then they put a mirror down in the middle of the picture to see what they’d look like if they were symmetrical. Rarely did it improve the look.”
Fascinated, I went on line to check her statement, because scientists were claiming that all of us are naturally drawn to perfectly balanced faces. Louisa and I found web sites displaying celebrity photos in which a person’s good side was mirror-imaged and put in place of his/her bad side.
Terry was right. They all looked a little off, like an altered version of the faces we knew.
Terry went one observation further. In her classroom experiment with mirrors, she asked students to note the age-difference from one side to the other: “There’s an ‘old’ and a ‘young’ side to each face, depending on which way the mirror is facing, though it might not be apparent in the very old or very young.”
The most famous example of this is Abraham Lincoln’s face as carved in stone inside Washington DC’s Lincoln Memorial. I remember as a child, running from one side to the other, checking on what Dad had told us: “The sculptor wanted to show Lincoln’s inner struggle as president. One side looks old and exhausted, representing war. The other looks youthful and rested, reflecting peace.” It was true, although from the front, Lincoln still looked like Lincoln.
The last comment Terry made, however, was the best: “Since the Holy of Holies and heaven itself are described as a perfect cube, I can only assume that all math will be redeemed in eternity, and perfect symmetry will be restored from the effects of the curse.”
And Terry, whether or not your face has two good sides, you’ve got Brad and Kate beat with your mathematical genius. That is both good and beautiful!
The angel “showed me the holy city. When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles.” (Revelation 2:10,16)