Film and Family

Ep. 14 - Beauty Reveals the Beholder

October 29, 2020 Kent & Anna Thalman
Film and Family
Ep. 14 - Beauty Reveals the Beholder
Film and Family
Ep. 14 - Beauty Reveals the Beholder
Oct 29, 2020
Kent & Anna Thalman

What is beauty? Is it subjective? What do you find beautiful and what does that say about you and what you value? In this episode we talk about the role of beauty in art and life. Enjoy!

Show Notes Transcript

What is beauty? Is it subjective? What do you find beautiful and what does that say about you and what you value? In this episode we talk about the role of beauty in art and life. Enjoy!

Hi, I'm Anna. And I'm Kent. And this is film and family, a podcast for professionals in the film and entertainment industries who would like to have greater satisfaction and joy in both their family and career. Let's jump right in 

So today we want to talk about beauty and value. And how those are related to each other. So 

what is beauty? What do you think? Well, we've talked about this before and I feel like, we definitely know that a lot of people would say beauty is subjective. That's true. I think. And. We also have talked a lot. You see a lot in the media when we have this topic of discussion, we almost always, we almost always go to two, two people to a conversation about people. 

Right. beautiful people. What is beauty? Right. and, and things like that. But, in terms of like, what is beauty with a capital B sort of this. Idea. I think that beauty reveals what people value. It reveals what's really important to them. I think it also reveals maybe a feeling I know of, at least for myself, like when I see something that I think is beautiful, It can produce a number of different kinds of emotions, but there's definitely like a pleasure center. 

I think that it, I experienced when I see something that I would consider beautiful. maybe there's a science to that, but I do think that there is, also very personal psychological side to that. So I. When on a very long car ride with a was an older gentlemen who I really bonded with great guy, but. 

I mentioned how in Peachtree city, we go running a lot and we see a lot of deer and this guy hates deer. He calls them DG, DS the dad, gum deer. 

He really hates deer because they eat everything he wants to plant and. To him. They're like squirrels, they're like pests. and he likes to hunt deer. on the other hand, I really like looking at deer. I think deer really, really, for some reason they just are. So I don't know. It's like that weird deer ish looking thing in that high on me is AKI film, princess Monon. 

Okay. And everything goes utterly silent and there's just this sacredness to Deere. So even today we weren't running and we saw, we almost always see DOE. And babies little fonts and they're just, I mean, it's always majestic. They're always, it seems like they're always backlit and everything always goes still or it's foggy or sunny or whatever. 

Yeah. Super peaceful. And, today we saw this huge buck in someone's yard, super close to us, just like a hundred feet, maybe a couple of hundred feet really close anyway. So. To me that that was, there was a very emotional response to me. I think it's like an excitement and yet almost like a peace in that particular context of beauty. 

So I'm speaking very subjectively right now. At least I'm just thinking of something that I think is really beautiful and it was, it was. Intensely foggy this morning on our run. And it wasn't like from our car window, it was like, we could hear its hooves kind of beating the ground as it was jumping on something grass or weeds or something. 

And it had a totally different feel than the dough. The dough are so graceful, like ballerinas and this buck was just like muscular. So muscular. You could see all of its muscles and it's. Big old horns, like air antlers, I should say it was just gorgeous. Anyway, it was really beautiful. Well, I love that you brought up the emotional aspect because I think that that might be the more objective universal experiences. 

Like the feeling that we get when we see something beautiful, like we've all experienced beauty and I think it feels similar for everyone it's sort of this admiration or this, ah, Or reverence even it can, it can vary, I suppose. But, I hadn't thought about like what it feels like to look at something beautiful or experience something beautiful. 

Cause I think music could also be beautiful and you don't see that necessarily, but, yeah, I think you can experience those emotions. Similar emotions. It's just that music is in and of itself, extremely emotional. So like, it can point you to almost any given emotion, but, certain experiences might someone might call beautiful, because of their, their thoughts. 

about it, which reveals that they value it well, and it could even be a feeling that you value a feeling that you value. That's really interesting about this. And we said, you know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And so, which is just another way of saying it's subjective. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that what we find beautiful does reveal what we value. 

Like, like you said, and so. That's interesting to think about the feelings also being something you value. Yeah. I think that is interesting. I, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm drawn to this, this conversation in terms of like, I think that relates to, I think about this a lot because I study cameras a lot and. Test footage is always of some girl usually wearing a bikini on the beach or something, or like a girl wearing normal clothes. 

But it's like bathed in a sunset, you know, like it's always like, or it's a girl wearing an deep red. Dress, which shows off the awesome color bit depth of the camera or whatever, but it's always girls and they're always like, sort of sexy and it's like always the same, right? I'm like, boys can be beautiful too. 

Well, I just don't understand why this is the only subject. All of our brilliant technological minds can come up with. They're just like, let's get sweet footage of girls and that'll have now make all these guys realize what. Good cameras. This is, these are like, and I'm always just like, you could literally shoot footage of a number of things. 

Why is that always the thing? And, and you remind me that like, well, a lot of people value the feeling of sexuality. Mm, a lot of people value the feeling of arousal desire. Those are feelings that honestly, even people sometimes in their marriage are trying to generate more of. And so, anyway, I, I'm just thinking of like, what are the feelings I'm pondering? 

What are the feelings that I. Most of the value that I like to experience that when I see something that I would consider beautiful, I just had never considered that idea. That it's the feeling that we value, not just the, the thing itself, like the deer have become valuable to me because, because they generate that feeling for me, where I. 

I see something natural or in the natural world, and it's just takes my breath away. but I've associated them with that feeling. It's not necessarily like the deer themselves are highly valuable to me, you know, like I don't, I don't own any of them, I guess to me, it's sort of this feeling of, of reverence for God and nature, and I feel kind of a connection with the earth and with heaven, maybe I feel a connection with my. 

Where I live. Yeah, because I go running, I go run. Yeah. I go running on these golf cart, passes every morning and it gives me this access to nature that a road or a sidewalk does not give me access to because the path can go right through lots and lots of woods. And so you just see way more Hawks, owls, turtles, deer, you see way more of those. 

Oh, the blue Heron. And in Peachtree city, there's like at least two or three of them that you see around quite frequently that are just totally majestic anyway. Yeah. It's a beautiful place. We really good. but, so how do you think this ties into. Film and art. Well, I think most of the time what we're doing with art is those two things we've touched upon. 

We're trying to create, man. I think that's a great question. And there, we're trying to create this sense of beauty. Sometimes. I think we're not trying to do that. We're trying to tell like a really cool yarn. We're trying to tell like a real snappy story and those can be really cool. I mean, like when I think of a real yarn, I think of knives out or something like that, where you're just like, It's so genius. 

It makes you feel stupid almost, but yet you feel smart when you watch it, like, but you could never come up with something like that. You'd feel really good about yourself. And it's just so brilliant, but I would describe that movie as like a beautiful experience where I watch it and I go, Oh, wow. Like I just feel so understood. 

I feel so human it's really like an interesting political commentary with the snappy yarn. This really. Zinger of an ending and all these cool things. So on the other hand, I watch movies like the black stallion, which has very little, You know, super hyper brilliant narrative, whatever, it's pretty standard story, but there's something about the way it's made that access, the sense of beauty, this sense of, of adolescents and of nature and everything that I think is so amazing. 

I guess I was just thinking about how film is a language. I think all art is a communication. Of sorts, which usually the end of the end goal of communication is connection. And I think we can connect with other people by sharing what we value. And when we're able to capture that in a film. Or in whatever art we do. 

And then other people watch that their appreciation for that thing that they probably also value can deepen. we can be introduced to things that we didn't know that we valued before. We can be more empathetic with people who we may not have understood why they valued, what they did. And, we can learn. 

So I just think there's a great opportunity to connect with people there really interesting. I think that's why so many sub genres have been centered around niche audiences, which is usually a collective of people that value similar things. I even think of, the very end of the newest little women film, where Jo March is walking with her sisters and she says something about like, Why would we write about something that's domestic? 

Like, it doesn't seem very important. And Amy says, well, by writing about it, you make it more important. And I think that word important kind of represents value. Right? Cause it's also subjective words. So it's kind of indicating what we think is. Worse talking about worth value, right? So sometimes that is a comedy or an interesting laughing, like, yeah, there could be something that's not beautiful necessarily, but it's an, a shared experience that we connect with other people by enjoying the same joke or, Or relating to a moment, but I've heard the word beautiful used in the context of someone crying out of laughter and saying, that's so beautiful. 

You know, like I've heard that like, a good joke or something really funny, or like, I don't even think they realize they say it. It's just, it's just so feels so good to them that they have to say that's so beautiful. You know, I think it's kind of funny. But yeah, it's, it's whatever feeling we really value and maybe even shared experiences, like what you were saying, like, since film creates that connection, it can, that's definitely something that you and I value in film. 

connection over conversion is something that I feel strongly about, that, A lot of people value that as well. That sense of connection, that sense of being able to reach out across time and space and realize that there are people who've experienced similar, if not very similar things, to you, we've been talking a lot about these ideas of, an, a question we've been exploring and we're exploring with a film we're actually working on development right now. 

Why. Wired. Children's so important. It's something that for various reasons, traditions, socioeconomic reasons, evolutionary reasons, we value very much the, Continuation and propagation of our species, but also just this experience, this very human experience of having children and the very complex human experience, which I think is more complex than the animal experience of Parenthood. 

And it's often called by many, many people. Very beautiful. I think childbirth is very beautiful. A lot of people, various aspects of it and children are often considered very beautiful, to a lot of people. what are your thoughts on that and why, why do you feel that that might be the case? Well, I think this is an excellent example of something that is beautiful to me. 

And, and to you, I believe, well this just got awkward. yeah, I mean, I do think that Parenthood is beautiful. And it's funny how, even as I look back, not that we're that far into it or that there's like tons of history we've been at this almost five years, almost six. Yeah. But, I think that I value also some of the hardest moments of Parenthood and like proud of them. 

I'm proud of getting through long, hard nights and. That we were able to go through those things together. You and I, I feel like it lends strength to our marriage and to the bond that I have with every member of the family, because I've sacrificed for them. I was just gonna say that man, sacrifice. 

It's that whole idea of like, do you love because you care, do you care because you love. And sometimes people think if I love someone, then I'll take care of them. But some other people would say that when you take care of something, you grow to love it. It's like that idea of service. When you, if you want to learn to love someone, serve them. 

I think it's very true sacrifice. Like once I've sacrificed so much for my children, I, I, I become very dedicated to taking care of them and, and prioritizing them very highly because I've already poured so much into them. Maybe it's a sense of self gratification. Like I can't just give up now I put way too much into these little humans. 

Well, and I think about even the Ikea example of how, when you assemble your own furniture, you love it so much more because. You put all this hard work into putting it together and then you're like more attached to, or you resent it for like the 24 hours. It stole from you after you got it and bought it, but then you really don't want to give it away right. 

Or return it. You're like I put this whole thing together or buy anything from Ikea ever again. Well, I guess maybe that's what you're talking about. Thanks. 

it's a nice desk. I'm looking at it right now. It matches yours. That's what makes it nice. We didn't have to assemble the second one, so I feel much better about, okay. So w what was the question again? I guess we were using an example of, we find family, beautiful children. Why did we find them? Oh, yeah. Yeah. 

This is something we've been exploring and. You know, it's, it's, something will probably express in this film that we're making. But some of the thoughts that we're exploring right now are like, it's a gift that each of us was given. You know, each of us had a mother who birthed us and parents who brought us into this world and we wouldn't be here without them. 

And so we have this sort of debt, that we can't pay back. There's no way to go back and like, you know, give back all those nights of sleep that have been taken and all the sacrifice of time and money and, and love, but we can pay it forward. And I think there's sort of a responsibility that I feel to give someone the chance that was given to me to have a great life and have a great start. 

And. And so, you know, I feel like having at least two kids, or at least like doubling, you know, you and I, and then we're, we're going to have more, I don't know why. but that's part of it I think, is, is being able to give back or pay forward what was given to me. Yeah, I think, I think another thing for me, why it's so valuable, maybe not on a real level, but at least on like a, sort of theoretical level. 

I don't know. It's very helpful, but, We talk a lot about beauty being connected to meaning. And I think meaning is connected to value still very closely. Like the, the poem might be beautiful because of the way it makes us feel, for example, but also the meaning of the poem. Might make us feel something as well. 

or perhaps we feel certain way about a poem because of what it means. So for me, there are songs that beautifully. Composed or, or, written in its rhythm and word choice or musicality or melody or whatever instrumentation. putting that aside, the lyrics themselves are really, really beautiful. And they might express that beauty comes from the meaning of the lyrics, to some degree. 

So I'm not discounting all those other things. I think there. They're important. because music is probably the most emotional medium ever in my opinion. but it's the meaning that really derives a lot of, or generates, I guess, or represents a lot of value for us or for me in a lot of things. And so as I consider that how beauty and. 

I guess it was just say meaning and value are very connected as well. And beauty can sometimes be a reflection of meaning. in that sense, I think that a lot of art is also a reflection of the person who made it. so we're getting a sense of connection, like you mentioned earlier, because we're feeling connected to the person who made it. 

We're recognizing that in a movie sense, maybe that actor, or maybe that writer, or maybe that director, or maybe all of the people who made this movie are expressing a sense of having experienced what it is that is striking me as I'm, as I'm watching it. And on that same level. we've talked about nature and how nature is very beautiful. 

I think sometimes because we recognize maybe just in a way we can't quite explain, the maker of it and that connection feels, good. I'm not saying that's always the case. it's sort of an idea, maybe more than science, you know, it's not really like something I can fully explain, but I do feel the same connection. 

That same sense of connection. When I see those things, the unique thing about children is that they're sort of created by God and us. Hmm. And so there's sort of this sense of connectivity and they're also created by. Someone, you know, in a best case scenario, someone that we co-created by someone that we really love. 

So in a loving relationship, this is the creation of myself, this child, but it's also a creation of my spouse, who I have committed my life to and its creation of. My God who I've committed my life to, or who I seek to know better, or I want connection with. And, and so when I think about it that way, it makes sense to me that in some ways children might be the most beautiful thing in that sense, if you're just understanding it from that point of view, I hope that's not too esoteric. 

No, that's really interesting. Cause I was just thinking about this idea of creation and how a child or. A work of art is born and, it can be collaboration or not, but if it's born out of love, that's sort of like, A symbol of where it came from. That's left behind, you know, we've talked about, some of the philosophies of modern artists are like this painting is really just a Relic or like a record of a process that occurred here. 

I can't remember what artist it was. There's an artist who has a painting that was like, there's like bicycle marks on it. And I think he had made it with his son. And so it was like this process that they went through together, this experience that they had together and the most beautiful part to him was that process. 

And not actually the finished product, the meaning was valuable more than the, Just the feeling, but then I'm sure as he looks at this canvas and sees the different markings on it and the paint and the bicycle trail, he's remembering that process and that connection that he had with his son. And it becomes this symbol. 

of sort of just a small physical Relic of what was, what occurred there. And I think that a child can kind of be that symbol or this like preserved part of a loving relationship that they were born out of. Yeah, that's really interesting. so I think, how do we, my question for you, Anna, if you were life coaching me and let's say I wanted to experience. 

I think as a filmmaker, there's two big things that I'd want as a human in general, I would want to experience more beauty or something like that. You know, like I want to feel like there's more beauty in my life. And as a filmmaker, I would want to be able to make films that are more beautiful. So you wanna talk about the first one for a second? 

Like how would you. Suggest going about bringing more beauty into your life, or would you define beauty as a feeling or, or more of an idea that's related to a feeling you could call it a feeling if you know, if that resonates with you, if you a feelings, just any one word that describes something you feel. 

And so if beauty is something. That you feel, I feel prettier. and it's something you're wanting to feel more often. I think I would first start to recognize where you feel it already and work backwards from there and say, you know, when are moments when I feel that sense of beauty and why. Why do I feel that? 

And you'll start to learn about yourself. You'll start to learn what you value and you can kind of choose intentionally, like, is that aligned with what I value? And if not, maybe there's something to explore there. Sorry. My voice is like having a hard time tonight. So if you wanted to generate, I guess maybe not generate beauty, but find more beauty. 

That's an interesting one. I'm just thinking about how I can bring this into my life more because I think that it's impossible for us to make something I realized as I was watching high armies hockey films. This was many years ago was that there's this whole idea of charitable cinema that are. Beloved Dean Duncan, a professor at Brigham young university talked about a lot. 

and I, it took me a long time to understand what he meant by that. But as I started to sense what he meant by that, I started watching films where I could sense that I understood what he was referring to and charitable cinema. And that this is an example of what he's talking about. I realized that hi, I'm makes a lot of films that I feel are very charitable and it hit me that the only reason people. 

The only way a filmmaker can make a charitable film is if he's a charitable person. And there was like this moment to hit me with, with Miyazaki, I think the same goes for beauty. I think for us to make art, that's truly beautiful is if we're finding a lot of beauty in this world and that's how we can share that beauty with other peoples by seeing it. 

And if we don't find anything beautiful, we usually maybe make sort of, I wish I had the word, Pessimistic is the only word that comes to my mind, but like, it's this idea, like we, we kind of make this, satirical film, filmmaking it's it's it's satirical in a more exacting definition. So if we want to generate more beauty in our work, which is something that I do want to do, maybe we need to find more beauty. 

Yeah. Well, I mean, what you focus on is what you create more of. And so there's always beauty to be found your brain's going to find evidence. If you believe that there's beauty all around you to be found or to notice, then your brain will. Start collecting evidence that that's true and showing you all the beautiful things that exist already in your life. 

But if you have sort of this attitude of like there's very little beauty, it's a rare thing to find. Nothing's sacred anymore or whatever, then that's what you're going to find evidence for. And so I think it's an overall attitude shift to believing that there's beauty and listening to what is beautiful to you, what is beautiful to other people? 

learning to share that perspective, I think. Hmm. That's really fascinating. Yeah. I think that's really good advice. Actually. That's very helpful for me. this idea of like, that thought works for me, that thought of like, There is a lot of beauty in this world. And if I believe that about people, if I believe that about nature, if I believe that about films, then I'm going to find more films and more evidence in nature and more evidence in my relationships and with people of beauty. 

So I love that that's actually really helpful for me. And I think as I do that, that I will be able to find. You know, film is a reflection is a representation of our lives, not our personal lives necessarily, but just, our idea of life, of life as we experience it. And so if we do pull more of that into our lives, then we'll have so much more fuel to pour that beauty into our films. 

Yeah. I think also, sort of a side note. I think you can look at this from sort of an anthropologist. Wait, what am I trying to say? And through a logical, thank you perspective of like, as a culture, what do we value? What's beautiful to us, in our media. And, and I think you can look at that and see sort of the values of a society and where that might be problematic and where it's serving us. 

but just to keep in mind that. The bit that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, tells us that what we see in those forms, what the society is valuing tells us or what someone else values tells us only about them and not about the thing itself. And so if somebody doesn't value you for example, or something that you do value that doesn't actually say anything about the object of their criticism or. 

if someone does value you or does like your posts on Facebook or whatever, it doesn't actually say anything about the post itself or about you and your value. you know, all people are valuable and your value is fixed and it just is up to you to see it. And so if someone doesn't value that actually just tells you something about them. 

Yeah. So, what you're saying is that if the value of a human being, we assume that all human beings are equal in value. Then that also means that all human beings are equal and beauty in their capacity to be valued by themselves and by others and their capacity to therefore be beautiful to others. And, you know, we've all experienced this. 

We've all experienced this we've all experienced, meaning people that might be aesthetically very. Pleasing to look at, but very difficult for us individually. Maybe not to everyone in the world, but for us to get along with. And we've had opposite experiences. I'm sure that everyone listening to this podcast, frankly, has had that experience of seeing, or having someone in their lives who maybe by the world standards or by media norms, it doesn't look like a supermodel. 

But you value that person more than gold because they are just remarkable. And there's so many things that you do value and you maybe even value the feeling you get when you're around them. And, I can think of all sorts of people on that spectrum of what they look like versus how I feel when I'm around them and how much I value that person. 

And, idealistically, we should value everyone the same, but obviously we value most of the people. Whose relationship we've actually developed, you know, those people mean a lot to us. almost like a character in a movie. We, we lose side characters all the time, but we really value the ones that we spend a lot of time on screen with. 

So, yeah, I think that's, I think that's really fascinating and that's true about each of us individually. We should. We should learn to value ourselves. You know, I was talking about finding value in films, finding value in nature, finding value in our relationships. We should find beauty and value and meaning within ourselves, and that will improve our relationship with ourselves, but it will also increase our capacity to share. 

Ourselves through our art and share ourselves in our relationships in a more open way that will lead us to, be more comfortable and confident in sharing what we feel is beautiful about ourselves. Yeah. I think a lot of people maybe heard the analogy of like a dollar bill of some sort where, you know, it could be muddy, it could be crinkled up, it could be worn or it could be crisp and brand new, but it's worth the same, no matter what. 

And. You know, someone may or may not see that. I know when my sister and I were little, we ripped a dollar bill and accident. We're kind of, I don't remember if we were fighting over it or what, but we ripped it and we thought, Oh, it must not be valuable anymore. And we threw it away. And then since then I noticed that sometimes people had dollar bills that were taped together. 

And I was like, yeah, I realized, Oh, it still was totally fine. Well, it won't work in a vending machine, but I have also definitely ripped dollar bills and a half and taped them back together. And paid for things with them. That was back in the day when there was this thing called cash, you know, that we used. 

And, those of you listening might not be familiar with that. There are green pieces of paper. Yeah. There are green pieces of paper that we used to use to pay for things that, you know, credit cards have taken over. They're like the new thing. Yeah, I love the, you said that beauty is fixed too, because I think in the eyes of the right person, they will see that that value is the same. 

Well, I, I found actually a lot of value in this podcast. It's quite a beautiful podcast. Yeah. And I think, if you're really wanting to explore some of these ideas further, give us a, a forward slash film and family. And if you like what you're hearing, you can also subscribe to the podcast, on that same page, invisible mansion, we usually link to it in the show notes. 

you can sign up for our email list for, we have kind of behind the scenes, exclusive updates every week and sometimes cute pictures of our kids and stuff, which is fun. and then again, you can find out about the film and family program, which is just this excellent program that we're putting together, which, And gives you one-on-one coaching to apply these tools directly to your life and receive the results that you want in your film career or in your family and join this community. 

It's risk-free. If you. you either get the results you want or you get your money back and there's really nothing to lose there. Absolutely. You might say it's a beautiful program, more beautiful than the money you'll give up to do that. You know, it is, to me, it's very valuable and. something I'm excited to share. 

We think it will be for you too. Awesome. Hopefully we can, see you again on the next episode. And until then, we'll talk to you later. Bye .