Dear Amazon: Truth and Beauty Available to Ship Prime?

Dear Amazon: Truth and Beauty Available to Ship Prime? September 29, 2017
The notion you can buy beauty is . . .

Dear Amazon,

I was pleased to receive your recommendation that I purchase beauty and truth from you. This thanks might be read as sarcasm by more jaded people, but there is much more here than mockery. There exists appreciation: you sell real things and beauty and truth are real.

You have gotten an important idea right. Beauty and truth are real. They are objective, outside our minds. In theory, they are the sort of thing you might be able to sell. However, you have made a critical mistake. Like a book or a broom, they are part of objective reality. You can pretend beauty is just in the mind of the beholder, but beauty is still out there. Like a broom, you can get swept up by beauty. Beauty is out there and we can know it.

Beauty is eternal and so not for sale.

While you can sell beautiful things, you cannot, thank the Good, sell beauty itself, because beauty is eternal and unchanging. Some of your products, one thinks of the Echo, partake in beauty of form while others, one is forced to look at the weird hinge on the Surface Book Pro by Microsoft, do not. Beauty is never perfectly anywhere, which is good since if we were to see absolute beauty, the vision would fry our minds. Too much of a good thing is fatal.

You need water to live, but sailing on Titanic, while aspirational, is longing for too much of a good thing.

When I went to see what you were selling as “beauty and truth” it appeared to be some sort of stuff to smear on my skin. I am in “the youth of old age” as my mom calls 54, but that is another name for old. I am not opposed to helping my aging skin, but I am skeptical that looking young is the definition of beauty. After all, the woman I love has not smeared this stuff on her skin and she is beautiful . . . and not just in my eyes . . . really. She is participating in beauty . . . one look at her eyes, full of hard-bought wisdom and participation in Beauty, would show you.

Take this proposition: “Beauty does not come in a bottle.” Is this true? We would know if the assertion corresponds to external reality. Let’s look around us. We see many people who are beautiful in ways that the product hawked on Amazon does not even consider. They describe their two products as “A match made in heaven!” I see the most beautiful person I know and her beauty does not come in a bottle (!) and she has never used this Amazon product.

In West Virginia, as in ancient Athens, we called corresponding to reality “truth” and selling the opposite “a grift.” Beauty does not come in a bottle, see those beautiful people who have never used the product, and Heaven is not in the business of making marketing matches.

Truth applies to propositions: this may make your advert problematic.

photo-1447023029226-ef8f6b52e3ea_optCan you buy truth? Amazon told me I could, but truth seems as free as getting a sentence right. That is not easy, but it does not require money, just a good teacher. Truth is about what we assert compared to reality. A proposition can be true, but that comes for free if the sentence corresponds with reality. Making a sentence is hard enough, only a few types of creatures can do it (angels, gods, men), but making one that is true is much harder.

“There is a unicorn in my yard.”

Think . . . creating that sentence requires a brain that is more complex by itself than the entire cosmos excluding human brains! Sadly, while very impressive (in terms of making a proposition), the impressive brain has asserted a sentence that is entirely false. There is no unicorn in my backyard. My backyard contains a badminton set and not much more, dying tomato plants, but no garden.

So Amazon your advert seems problematic to me. I do not think I can buy beauty and truth from you. They are not easy to obtain, they are rare, but they are not costly. They are rare and free . . . an important category that includes romantic love, family values, and truth.

Somewhat Sincerely,


Rachel Motte edited this post.


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