The Metaphysics of Beauty
“The Philosophy Cosmetic” is a phrase that rings strangely in the contemporary ear.
“What has beauty to do with philosophy?” is a question many will ask, but even those who know the answer to that may well ask, what has makeup to do with philosophy?
The Philosophy Cosmetic, or the metaphysical science of beauty, is, of course not primarily about “cosmetics” in the modern sense. But, as we shall see, they can actually have a far greater significance than some may think.
Let us begin by looking at the word “cosmetic” itself.
“Cosmetic” comes from the Greek word cosmos, which does not actually mean “beauty”. It means “order”.
Of course we are most familiar with the word “cosmos” as meaning “universe”. So why does the word for the universe originally mean “order”? And why does it also mean “beauty”? And when it is applied to the enhancement of feminine beauty, is it still part of the same profound family of meaning?
Let us start from the beginning. For the Greeks, the creation of the world (or universe) was the creation of order (kosmos) out of chaos (Kaos). Thus the universe is “the Order”: the Cosmos.
Interestingly, this is absolutely in line with modern physics which measures the existence of the universe in terms of ectropy (molecular and systemic order) as opposed to entropy or disorder/chaos. The inevitably increasing entropy – or disorder – of the cosmos – or order will lead to the final dissolution of the universe.