Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ephebism: Gods Among Us

In a lot of traditional cultures, care was taken to display the human form in a perfected light. Often signs of age and disease were erased from a person's face, and physical imperfections such as moles and scars   were removed. In Greek culture in particular, emphasis was placed on physical strength and vitality because the Greeks believed that the outward beauty of a person reflected their spiritual beauty as well. They even represented their gods in this same manner, creating sculptures of their deities that reflected the human form in its physical prime. Since the Western world is based heavily on Greek culture and art, we can see traces of Ephebism in our own society. In modern times, we idolize the beauty of athletes and actors, isolating them from the rest of the population and placing them on pedestals. Photo editing and make-up allows us to get rid of the physical imperfections that make celebrities human, elevating them to demigod status. If we are as progressed as we believe we are, why do we still put so much emphasis on physical perfection and not the beauty of a person's character? Are there really gods among men in this day and age?

Ancient Ideal

Modern Ideal


  1. You're right, Andy. We do seem to place such a value on physical characteristics, and not focus on the character. Yet now, we don't really focus on strength as being as important, but conquest is still the goal - the continuation of a family line.
    Personally, I do believe Ryan Gosling is a god among men.;) At least one of God's greatest gifts.

  2. Maybe we're just trying to fool ourselves into thinking that we have progressed, which is a mistake. Beauty has always been cherished and thought to be associated with good things. We also show more "beautiful" people social leniency like we do artists.