Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vigor and Grace

In this post, we examine two seemingly divergent movements: Vigor and Grace

In order to explore whether the movements we deem courteous and goodnatured are related to the movements behind effort, energy, and enthusiasm or physical strength and good health, we must first consider each in and of itself prior to its relation to the other.

At first blush, the concepts of Grace and Vigor differ.

Grace is that simple elegance or refinement of movement we associate with an attractive and polite manner of being as well as a talent for behaving in kind.

Detail from Primavera (c. 1482)
Sandro Botticelli
Uffizi Gallery

One of the most recognizable subjects in the history of art, the Three Graces of Greek mythology have been the subject of countless artworks, poems, dances, and musical pieces.

Daughters of omnipotent Zeus, the Graces were broadly considered goddesses of charm, beauty, and creativity.

Aglaea, Euphorsyne, and Thalia embodied the ideals of Beauty, Mirth, and Good Cheer, respectively. The Three Graces were written on by such colossal figures as Homer and Pausanius, and were associated with both the Elusian Mysteries and the cult of the Oracle of Delphi.

Generally depicted as youthful, beautiful women, closely embracing each other or dancing in a circle, these three joyously dancing women whose voluptuous figures recall the fertility of goddesses of ancient love were the ones with whom all romanticized.

The Accolade (1901)
Edmund Blair Leighton (1853-1922)
Private Collection

Of the same nature and ignited by the same human sentiment, whether or not it is delivered in the same tender fashion associated with Grace, exists Vigor...

marked by a sense of robustness, radiance, energy, life, vitality, virility, verve, spirit, zeal, passion, determination, dynamism, and a force de vivre. 

Vigor is the binding force, the validity upon which Grace may rely to determine who and what belongs in one's good (or bad) graces. Those things belonging to the highest human ideals are what we regard with favor, those things that fall short are what we regard with disfavor.

Vigor personifies the act of bestowal, conferring or presenting an honor, right, or gift upon one who can be entrusted to be in harmony with such an endowment.

Omnia Vincit Amor (The Power of Love in the Three Elements) (1809)
Benjamin West (1738-1820)

The sentiment from which Grace and Vigor  arise is the sentiment that enables us to creatively plan life in ways that maintain an equilibrium - a dynamic, ever-adjustable balance between the exigencies of the three sides of life ~ to meet the challenges of survival, creative passion, and higher destiny.

Grace and Vigor foster the creative planning of human existence in all its many threads that we call "discovery".

In our postmodern period, we are constantly extending our creativity forth in an ontogenesis of being and at the same time a creative differentiator known as authenticity.

In this respect and along this line of thinking, according to which life is the measure of all things, the ideas of Vigor and Grace are both signifiers and justifers of life, of continuous individual development, and of self-consistent personalities.

Vigor and Grace belong to that continuous flux in which interconnectedness, interrelations, and reciprocal exigencies take place. The stable elements belonging to the bridge that connects a living individual to the shifts of identity that constantly yield a state of beingness and becoming.


Anonymous said...

The coherent observations in which you approach this post to a question most don’t ask, has given me much thought. I love challenging myself and this highlights how easy it is to simply fit around our social patter without questioning why we recite such phrases. I have always found that this kind of mentality inadvertently turns them into something not too dissimilar from banal platitudes. Kudos on your systematic breakdown of this all too common expression. It is tantamount to polishing off an old piece of jewellery, only to expose its beauty from behind the matt.

Soph Laugh said...

Hello Anonymous... thank you for the kudos. Sounds like something you could 'roll to a friend, chocolate-covered caramel from end to ... "

Oh wait! That's Rollos... ;)

Sophy ;))

Anonymous said...

Indeed it does mon amie. I’m thinking I would definitely give you my last Rolo. Although having said that, it sounds a little euphemistic ;)


Soph Laugh said...

Merci beaucoup, mon ami ... à vrai dire, j'aime les bonbons. And as long as your euphemism is not dysphemistic, 'it's all good' ...

Soph Laugh said...

...and now that I have a moment to respond to your first comment properly:

I am pleased that my cross-consideration of two seemingly divergent concepts ~ vigor and grace ~ has afforded you an opportunity to further let free your mind. As you said, it is a reminder of sorts. Dare I say, you find it enthralling ~ meaning, the act itself vs. the subject matter.

These sentiments nicely coincide with the kind of mentality that enjoys 'creative passion' in and of itself and also as a launching pad to that 'higher destiny' component of human equilibrium, the first part belonging to survival.

Much of how I express myself sounds like platitudes, but in reality, they are quite genuine. Still, there is, as with this article, a distinction, that while related, has many other fun and interesting complexities from which my creative brain dips before reemerging back to the trained logician and fearless Trojan Soldier with a penchant for sweets. When this happens, posts that go unheard simply cause people to laugh in their initially perceived as absurdity, then consider the thoughts or images as they read or perceive them to be ~ and my visuals can sometimes be as compelling if not more so than the words ~ and finally, those whose experiences have fulfilled survival, who now live in a constant state of creative passion ~ even in their dissent ~ often times seek a higher dose of intricacy upon which to launch the arsenal of thinking these two seemingly distinct personality types exhibit. Irrespective of the language being spoken, communication can even ignite in less than 140 characters ~ alphanumeric or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

No, It was an innocuous observation that I imagine gave you much laughter, albeit reticently :D If my actions were geared to the contrary, I imagine, it would lead to our inevitable entropy and leave nothing but distain as a poor substitute for the fine flavoursome aged wine that is our friendship ;)

It’s interesting to me that platitudes come up a lot when conversing about subject matters we tend to take for granted. I believe that the way we communicate in this‘day and age’, there tends to be a slight shift in what we think we know and how it is conveyed. This brings me to what you said about your true self. It’s refreshing to correspond with someone who can apply their motive with motion. The air must be very thin at the top and the view breathtaking :)


Soph Laugh said...


You're absolutely right, these articles do 'tickle me pink' (so to speak)... and are a self-perpetuating source of mirth and enjoyment.

There was no intentional reference to entropy, at least not herein, and I do agree with the potential scenario as you described it, but of particular interest is the one belonging to our 'friendship'.

My brain is wired in a way that rumination, and then examination, ruin the moments associated with 'taking things for granted'... so I rarely get to do so, at least not on 'important' matters ~ of course, not on unimportant matters, either.

I too find it refreshing to correspond. As for the air 'up here' ... come check it out for yourself, which I suspect you already have.

Soph ;))

Anonymous said...

Art'noon Soph the sweet bandit.

Hope this isn’t too off topic but I too had a chance to ruminate based on something played with in your last post. I sometimes find it problematic to pick up on the intonation of text. Be it out or ingoing. Sometime on paper, the thread is cut a third way in and leads to all sorts of silent confusions and paralysed decision making. An offer to co-operate seen as patronising. A simple joke taken as offensive. An ‘ok’ seen as an ‘OK!!!!!!!! After observing people over the years, I have determined this paradigm is ubiquitous. This source of media has always been a little askew unless you have fantastic diction and overly descriptive verse... like yourself :D I have always been a little too outgoing and relaxed in company. However in text and almost without fail, will make a comment that deserves a filter. Apparently calling a woman ‘sweetbuns’ is a no no… as is ….well I don’t need to go on hehe. Would be interested on your take and if you had had such a thought.

Now back to what you were saying about rumination/ examination. I have found it can ruin the moment if cogitation is your baseline instead of the primary being instinct. It removes, in an almost unpalatable way, the need for fluidity and presence in flow. Yes, you have more altitude when you ‘think before you leap’ but one must have instinct to see if it is a puddle or void between two mountain peaks. Hmmm I feel a poem coming on ;)


Soph Laugh said...

Chil'mrng Monk,

I shall now add "fantastic diction" and an ability to offer "overly descriptive verse: to my resumé, which hasn't been updated in lifetimes...

As for my take and/or thoughts on 'Sweetbuns' ... I have not yet before considered the matter. But in imagining it right now, I am under the impression I would blush and giggle, as would most girls at the mere mention of the words "Sweet" and "Buns" ...

I agree that moments outside the realm of primary being instinct can be ruined (or more precisely, changed) by cogitation... and visa versa.

I am an advocate of ‘think before you leap’ when it is necessary to do so... as well as an advocate of knowing when to rely on intuitive judgment, something I am at present also exploring...

These ideas are not fully realized in my working brain yet, but then again I am not a worker... I am a hard-working leisurist ... hence, I"ll get around to it when I get around to it.

Soph ;))