POWER OF BEAUTY
"Wisdom is the sum of the past, but beauty is the promise
of the future." Shakespeare, "As You
Like It", Act III, Scene III.
Why does man or woman want to be beautiful? There is an ancestral
need for beauty in mankind. Signs for this quest go back to prehistoric
times: tattoos, rings through the ears and nose, the wrapping of Oriental
women's feet, and many other tribal and cultural customs were for
the purpose of enhancing beauty. More contemporary and sophisticated
methods are more obvious - hair dying, cosmetic, and make-up techniques,
and also the use of physical adornments, such as jewelry, earrings,
clothing styles and hair styles in thousands of forms. All of these
are for the single purpose of improving the appearance and creating
"Why?", we say. Improved self-image through improved appearance
has proven to people over the centuries to be a means of better realizing
ourselves as human beings, a means to influence other individuals
and to communicate better in our lives, a means to gain power, if
you will, and to obtain things. This urgent need threads its way through
history as a mechanism for man to increase his level of acceptance.
A more attractive and beautiful individual always appears to have
a better chance to ascent in the social scale, to improve in his or
her own fields of endeavor, and, perhaps most desirable, to reach
new emotional and sentimental heights. Every man and woman searches
for absolute truth through many pathways. However, beauty is almost
always found in any of these as a constant, and, therefore, as an
important intrastructure for the personal growth of the individual.
In this search, man sometimes lives mechanically as a machine with
a set routine, or he aspires to be human with complex inspirations
for living. In either case, beauty is an efficient means to help select
the most appropriate option. This ability to exert options is evident
in our selection of clothes, accessories, hairdos, cosmetics, and
When one of these produce adequate satisfaction, we may turn to a
more transcendental solution in the hands of the aesthetic plastic
surgeon. This, then, becomes another manifestation of the search for
a balance that will create the capacity to experience life to its
Aesthetic plastic surgery is the surgery of harmony, good taste, and
the beautiful attitude. The surgeon first trains his hands in the
practice of general surgery. He then must further refine his talents
and techniques as a plastic surgeon in order to combine his artistic
with his scientific judgment. In this way, he evaluates the tissues'
capacity to resist the surgical action of being "sculptured". But,
the aesthetic feeling can only be acquired with intense acts of seeing,
hearing, feeling, and studying. That is why plastic surgery is the
surgery of experience, wisdom, and personal realization.
Aesthetic plastic surgery is also art. It searches for a way to feel,
to create or recreate forms that will inspire the innermost vibrations
of the soul or that which we may ultimately call happiness.
Aesthetic plastic surgery requires a knowledge of life, man, art,
and the intimate study of how those elements intensely interrelate
in our every day living.
It is important that all plastic surgeonsto be able to judge each
patient as an individual. If a patient is trying to regain beauty,
it is necessary to know what beauty represents for that individual.
To understand the patient's psychology, the aesthetic surgeon needs
to spend a great deal of time focusing on psychological communications.
It is only by such means that the plastic surgeon shall be able to
integrate in his surgery all of the critical factors that flow from
art, science, and philosophy.
This search for beauty is not restricted to Southern California, or
even the United States. It is easy to understand that this need exists
for all mankind and throughout all cultures. Many plastic surgeons
have developed their reconstructive and aesthetic talents throughout
the world in various voluntary programs, such as Project Hope, Operation
Smile, Interplast, Project Concern, and many other independent missionary
hospitals, such as Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti. Communication
creates understanding. My fondest desire, therefore, is to share these
thoughts with you prior to your consultation. Hopefully, they will
help us to understand each other, thereby creating for us a mutually
satisfying surgical and aesthetic experience.
Thank you for
your confidence in consulting with me.
John M. Shamoun, M. D., F.A.C.S.
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©Copyright 2001, Dr. John M. Shamoun, M.D. All rights reserved.