An Eye On Octopi

You know how your eye is sometimes caught by a familiar word in an unexpected place?

That’s what happened to me when I saw I link to this National Geographic collection of articles that appeared under the heading: Beautiful Octopus Pictures: Masters of Disguise and Agile Hunters.

I am well aware that Octopi are Masters of Disguise and Agile Hunters to boot. What I hadn’t considered before is that they are Beautiful.

But if one octopus can be beautiful, does that mean a different octopus might be considered ugly? What would an octopus Standard of Beauty be?

If you were an octopus being judged at the State Fair, for example, would it work for or against you if your tentacles were thick and muscular or thin and noodly, or if your head was pear shaped or unusually soft looking?

What’s it worth in the underseas society to be a gorgeous octopus? Is it a matter of vanity, or are there real advantages? How much time and effort are you going to put into primping those suckers, suckers?

What makes a thing beautiful?

24 thoughts on “An Eye On Octopi”

    1. I don’t suppose you have given much thought to the pain and loss of self-esteem suffered by those who don’t conform to this narrow standard of beauty. Not everyone has the good fortune to be born with a pear-shaped head.


  1. The simple answer is “the eye of the beholder.” The harder answer is there are so many definitions of beauty that one can’t narrow it down to one “what.” There are beautiful moments, beautiful outcomes, beautiful people, beautiful animals, each in their own way (think of a racehorse in full gallop, or an eagle soaring majestically on the air current, or your pet cat or dog), beautiful buildings or machines, beautiful art (of course, beauty in “things” is necessarily in the eye of the beholder).

    So I don’t know. Too early in the morning to think deeper than this. I guess I just know or sense beauty when I see it. (not to cop out, just saying that I find Ernie Els’ golf swing to be a thing of beauty, and my wife couldn’t care less. Hell, she thinks I’m “beautiful” from time to time, so what the heck does she know?? 😉

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Watching Ernie come back at the end of the season to try and place in the top three or four in order to maintain eligibility for the following year is a thing of beauty. Ernie was one of my favorites back in the day now I feel like an old guy watching another old guy in the twilight of his career I guess that’s kind of a beautiful thing old guys watching old guys in the twilight


  2. Good morning. I suppose beauty is one of the most subjective things that one can talk about. Some people will see beauty where others see ugliness. There are great works of art that are widely considered to be beautiful. Some of the great art was not thought to be beautiful by many people when it was first created because it was something never seen or heard before and it took some to discover the beauty found in it.

    I’m not sure I can tell you what, as a general rule, makes a thing look or sound beautiful. I can tell when I see or hear something I think is beautiful. I could give you my thoughts on why I think I have seen or heard something beautiful. However, what makes one thing look or sound good to me might be something that would make another thing not look or sound good as far I’m concerned.


  3. In the past we have discussed the Japanese concept of sabi, the beauty of simple objects that have aged and worn through having been useful. It’s a kind of beauty I have been more attuned to since I’ve had a word for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Linda, I once won a photography contest that was based on the Japanese wabi sabistandard of beauty. My winning entry was a photo of my 91-year old friend, or rather one of her hands, as she held her bible. Her hands are “aged and worn” and look it.

      This might be an ironic aside. The contest was designed by a friend who is the most beautiful woman I’ve personally known. But don’t bother telling her that. She doesn’t agree, and she considers such notions of beauty superficial and irrelevant.


  4. Exactly a point I was going to make. We have only one functional, daily word for love, to our shame and ignorance. So too with beauty. I too think some forms of beauty have a strong time element. Some have a transitory element (if sunsets lasted all the time . . .,) Some tied to the emotional wiring in the brain (toddlers). Some for the contrast to their surrounding (flower in a desert). Some for their pathos (Edna Provine–was that her name, “girl” in Chaplin films). Some for elements of mathematics/design/rhythm/etc. (full head of a sunflower, lace). Some for the implied effort and or talent to create (Rhembrandt’s dark paintings, very fine lace). Many for reasons beyond any words, or beyond reaching across personal taste)./
    I think that which someone has labored to make beautiful seldom is (All the current beautiful people of Hollywood, like Matthew McConaheig or however you spell it, or Jeennifer Lawrence four of the “Friends–don’t know names) and not beautiful in some way or to make point or out of a real emotion. Longing makes thinks beautiful as does a sensibilty about the human condition expressed through the elements of art or nature.

    Nah. That’s not it.


  5. It is a thing of beauty to be able to discuss the meaning of “beautiful” with you all, on a beautiful morning, on The Trail.

    I find that I often perceive the more colorful options as the more beautiful. I usually think of octopi as gray and slimy, but the one Dale found is colorful, seems to have texture, and looks great against the blue/green backdrop.


  6. From what I can tell, notions of “beauty” have both a scientific and a culturally subjective aspect.

    Scientists who have researched beauty tell us that people find beautiful a face that is regular and perfectly in balance. If you create a face that represents the perfect statistical average for a society, it will be considered beautiful by most people. This supports the idea that there is a basis in reality for definitions of beauty. This might be related to the fact–often observed in nature–that we find others appealing when they are obviously healthy (and thus good candidates to give us healthy offspring).

    But obviously, standards of physical beauty vary wildly with time and geography. If pear-shaped faces are in now, pear-shaped torsos once were. I have read that long noses were seen as indicators of leadership and power in classical times. A French philosopher once noted that if Cleopatra’s nose been a tad shorter, many thousands of men would not have died in the war that was triggered by her liaison with Caesar.

    My experiment with dating in my 60s ended for several reasons, one of which was my learning that when I knew a woman intimately I found her beautiful. In a way, that’s nice, but it is a complication when seeking a suitable partner.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Morning–

    As part of the photography class I was recently looking up the definition of ‘Art’ and ‘Fine Art’. And it’s all very subjective and I think, as has been said before, ‘If it sounds good, it is good.’ (Thank You Duke) If you think it qualifies as beauty, then it is. And as long as you don’t demand that I think it’s beautiful or go around telling other people their stuff is not beautiful then it’s OK.
    Wait a minute; I was talking about ‘art’, right?


    1. 1/3 mile down Hwy 61 from where we lived on the North Shore lived a little boy, one year older than our son. They played together off and on until one or the other was about ten. The little boy was a pill, as nice as I can say it. Not an interested student, as nice as I can say it. Had lots of issues with lots of things, as nice as I can say it.
      Recently both of my children joined a MN photography club/blog. There they met up with little pill. It is my thrill to show you in a minute where he is today, what he does,
      He told my son that he used to look at the photographs on our walls and think about photography. I take no credit for anything you will say.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. its nice that your walls were there to get his brain cooking. it looks like it served him well.
        ill bet the subjects he saw on your walls taught him that the things around us are beautiful when you view them correctly.
        good to see your font again clyde


  8. I don’t have much to say about beauty that hasn’t been said by baboons already, but today’s topic made me think of a TED talk that came up in my email last week:

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pied Beauty
    GLORY be to God for dappled things—
    For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
    Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
    Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

    All things counter, original, spare, strange;
    Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
    He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
    Praise him.

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Late Fall Bike Ride

    On mornings like this, when you clothe in layers,
    when you push hard against the south and west,
    the winds cut through cloth and you feel winter cold;
    yet drifting north and east grants you no summer.

    On a morning like this, before the sun finally rises,
    the sky is a dome of gray gray blue
    and wisps of fog hang before the mail slot of clear eastern sky.
    And Mozart wafts in your ears—except it should be Mahler.

    On mornings like these, just before the sun delivers itself,
    you see a blouse of clouds turn purple. And the boa of fog
    ionizes pink and orange, magenta and peach, and mauve.
    The horizon itself glows angry yellow, with bookends of mellow teal.

    On mornings like these, when the sun then doth come.
    For the few minutes it gives you view, you Know its nuclear furnace,
    its hyrdrogen-burning fire, which is beyond human imagination,
    that will quench only one day far beyond the human passage.

    On mornings like this, when the warm colors turn quick cold,
    to dull gray and steel blue and gray gray white.
    When you hear the dry leaves crush beneath your tires,
    you turn back to the west again and climb upon your pedals.

    On the only morning like this, finally you feel it,
    the carbon-burning fire of your own furnace,
    which has been more than once repaired by the Boilermaker.
    And Mozart scales in your ears—except it should be Bach.

    On this Morning, which passes into a day neither and both Fall and Winter,
    you say “GLORY be to God for dappled things,” and undappled things.
    And you finally admit that the “you” in this poem is only a “me.”
    And you mourn not the morning and pass into the day and the night.

    And then The Last Morning.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.