Dimitrije E. Panfilov
The most important surface full of secrets which we face is the face. It is curved and has its anatomical depth of muscles, nerves, vessels, fat tissues, and ligaments. But it also has a fourth dimension - its spiritual deepness reflecting our mind and soul. It is the tool expressing our emotions, thoughts and messages of surprisingly deep contents in endless floating nuances.
We breathe, eat, drink, speak, and hear with the face. Four senses are concentrated here even the fifth - tactile sense - is represented here. With one look at the face we recognize somebody's age, gender, race, health, even affection and individuality. It possesses unique anatomy, expressiveness, beauty, and singularity. There are six billion faces on earth and not two of them are the same. Even mono-ovular twins have symmetry of their faces, composed like in a mirror.
We have learned more about the face in the last 20 years than in the 20,000 years before! Every human being has a unique and unmistakable iris, pattern of the ears, and thermic emission of the face and, in addition, the voice, fingerprints, and handwriting are unique. If we imagine that facial muscles are musicians in an orchestra, than the game of our facial expressions would be the melody played by this orchestra. The expressive messages of our faces are uni versally equally produced and understood - we may speak of facial Esperanto.
Words are just cascades of feelings, whereas our faces are able to show subtle emotions in smooth flow without rough transitions. Simply, the face is the mirror of our soul. It also indicates our character.
Neurophysiology has proven that we are able to produce about 7,000 different facial expressions, but we use only several hundred. Like words, there are about 100,000 different words in most languages, but we use only a few thousand.
Nine minutes after birth, a baby looks first of all into faces and almost half of this time it fixed on the eyes of the person communicating with. Babies have universally spread elementary facial expressions. They develop them within the first year of life: smiling and a surprised look shortly after birth; sadness and disgust they learn by the third month; a false "social smile" also by this time; anger between the fifth and ninth months. All babies seem similar but heads, eyebrows, jaws, and noses of male babies are bigger than those of female babies. This proportions do not change in adults.
The muscles of the face are better developed in men than in women, who have a thicker layer of fat
tissue covering muscles. Still, their facial expressiveness is more intensive as they react to feelings more openly than men. The only group of muscles which is better developed in women is the muscles of the tongue, probably because of exercise - women talk more than men.
A smile is a very powerful social instrument. Different muscles produce a frank and a false "social smile". The first one is produced by zygomatic and the second one by risorius muscle. An acted smile is limited to the mouth: the eyes do not take part in a "social smile". That is why the Japanese have the word mokushoh, which means "smile of eyes". A false smile is asymmetric: in-right handed people the left mouth angle is higher than the opposite lip commissure. Similarly, in "acted anger" the left eyebrow is deeper. The face shows the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. At the same time it might show the lie, the whole lie, and nothing but the lie. That is why Cicero said: "All is situated in the face."
When we are ashamed, for instance when we are caught lying, our faces blush. The Portuguese have a saying: "Better a red face than a black soul". Mark Twain said that a human being is the only animal which blushes - and there is good reason for it. Blushing is a subconscious strong feeling of shame often appearing in adolescence. This fits into the sentence of Oscar Wild: "The real mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."
The ethologists Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen have classified different facial expressions and grimaces into emblems, illustrators, regulators, and adaptors. This paralingual or nonverbal speech is its own microcosmos.
Darwin considered the naked skin as the main sexual ornament of humans; it is lighter in women but becomes darker during pregnancy. And female skin has less hair than male skin. Hormonal influence is responsible for morphological and psychological properties being divergent during the period when we can reproduce and convergent before and after that. Testosterone as an androgen hormone causes the growth of the beard in puberty in boys, which represents the main difference from female faces. If we spend 15 min a day shaving, that means 60 days and nights in a lifetime.
Babies of 18 months begin to recognize themselves in the mirror. Perception of ourselves is only possible with this tool. Narcissus could only see his reflected image in the surface of calm water. Andrea and Domenico d'Anzolo del Gallo found in 1507 in Venice that a certain mixture of mercury and tin fixed on glass produces a mirror. It was a manufacturing secret in Venice till 1664 when Colbert produced mirrors in France with some manufacturers "stolen" from Venice. Because of this Louis XIV could build his "hall of mirrors" in Versailles and soon everybody was able to admire herself/himself in the mirror.
Victor Johnston and Melissa Franklin have published a remarkable article "Is beauty in the eye of the beholder?". They found that beautiful female faces should have high "malar bones", narrow jaws, and big eyes; the distance between the lips and the chin as well as between the lips and the nose should be smaller. The whole lower face should be smaller. That is what we consider by a "baby face". "Cheek bone" is not bone at all but the overlying fat tissue. Fat makes women more beautiful - even breasts consist of 60% fat. Greta Garbo had her malars removed to emphasize the malar prominence. Today, we have much better and less aggressive methods to achieve these effects.
The anthroplogist Douglas Jones scanned pictures of beautiful models into a computer which was programmed to ascertain the age from the features. According to the proportions of lips, cheeks, noses, and cheek bones, the computer calculated the age of these persons to be between 6 and 7 years!
Computers from the University of Amsterdam and the University of Illinois programmed to decode basic emotions have analysed da Vinci's Mona Lisa. It was found that her picture shows 83% happiness, 9% disgust, 6% fear, and 2% anger.
For the purpose of identification of criminals, Jacques Penry constructed a photofit which divides the face into five different segments, each of them having several variations.
Alexander "Sandy" Pantland from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology searched the facial mosaic, which he divided into 100 units, with each unit making 100 different expressions. He found that 10200 variations of facial expressions are theoretically possible. It is an unbelievable number of 10 with 200 zeros behind! To compare it with the game of chess , there are 10180 (10 with 180 zeros) possible variations of complete chess games - only!
Nowadays faceless intimacy is possible through telephone sex; or an even more virtual possibility is offered by computer per cyberchat or TinyMUD conversation.
In contrast to this, Yvette Hoyle from London has found in her partner agency that it is easier to recommend people with lively expressive faces. If men are choosing female partners for marriage they prefer average-looking ones than the most attractive ones. This corresponds with the Bo Derek scale where the most attractive ones are noted with 10 and the least attractive ones with 1. Somehow those scoring 5 go into relationships with those scoring 4, 5, or 6, and so on. They find themselves, says Bernd Guggenberger, a sociologist from Bern. Situations where somebody who is "2" takes a 10" are impossible. The exceptions
are very rare. Evolutionary psychologist Davis Buss published in 1989 a study made among 10,000 people from 37 countries. He found that human warmth and friendliness were the most desirable qualities in choosing partners for life.
Middle-aged managers who consider themselves "too tired looking" and who want to gain a more dynamic appearance are the largest group among our male patients. Sonja Bischoff, a Hamburg scientist, has studied top management representatives in Germany since 1986. She found that appearance is increasingly becoming a factor for success. In 1998, "appearance" ranked as the third-most important factor for success, together with "personal contacts".
In the 2003 investigation, outer appearance had gone up to number three (for woman) and even number two (for men!). In Bischoff's book Wer führt in (die) Zukunft [Who is Leading in(to) the Future] specialist knowledge was the focus of the investigation, and minor focus was put on personal relationship, language knowledge, and professional and nonprofessional activities. Outer appearance itself has made a career, even more so among men than among women. Highly paid managers often mention their looks as a contributing factor to their success!
The human weakness for the beautiful was scientifically confirmed by the Hamburg brain researcher Knut Kampe. He measured the effects within the lim-bic system (which is responsible for human emotions) when looking at an attractive human being. If the limbic system, which is considered one of the oldest in the evolution of human beings, sets off endorphins, we receive a feeling of pleasure. Stereotypes with regard to attractiveness work in favour of the beautiful. In other words, we are doping ourselves.
Meeting the eyes of less attractive human beings can cause negative feelings. The level of pleasure increases as soon as those unbeautiful glances turn away, the medical scientist from Hamburg found. A salesperson with attractive features will find it easier to sell his/her product than someone with less attractive features; an insurance representative with attractive features will find it easier to convince his/her client to sign a contract than a less attractive counterpart. The social psychologist Ronald Henss concludes: "It can be reasonable to take attractiveness into account during the hiring process."
Surprisingly, in New Age circles make-up is nowadays frowned on by women as an expression of vanity and superficial self-loving ego. Masao Yogo from Doshisha University in Kyoto has filmed women sitting for the same time in front of a mirror without make-up, for the same time after they had put makeup on themselves, and after a visagist (face stylist) put the make-up on for them. Without make-up they smiled only 0.9 times into (towards) the mirror, after applying their own make-up five times, and after the professional had applied the make-up eight times! Yogo even found a lower temperature of the forehead after application of make-up as a sign of increased feeling of wellness.
Scientists from the French corporation L'Oreal tested in Lausanne the walking of 16 elderly women (the youngest was 65) for the posture and speed and safety of their steps without and with make-up. The improved facial appearance had the effect of putting joy into their steps which was measurable on the next day and even after 6 months! Patricia Pineau from L'Oreal says that their mobility therapists found the effect on mobility after 20 min of cosmetic facial treatment to be the same as after 10 weeks of walking exercises.
Japanese researcher Tsuneyuki Abe tested elderly women in the geriatric centre of Naruto-Yamagami Clinic suffering from schizophrenia, depressions, and dementia. For weeks cosmeticians applied their makeup for them,; afterwards they applied their make-up themselves. The effects were surprising: one third could again independently eat, wash themselves, and go to the toilet. And 90% of them became more sociable, communicative, and cheerful. This is the power of the smile, when even ill persons start to like their reflection (in the mirror) again!
Scientific researchers from Shiseido and Carita have found that after cosmetic treatment (masks, massages, etc.) women from 24 to 48 years of age have reduced stress hormone cortisol (34%) and increased immunoglobulin A (107%) on average to support the body's defences. The cosmetics industry can financially support such research and prove that somebody who looks better feels better. Plastic surgeons can only imagine and feel how much our patients benefit after cosmetic operations. Some of them really "blossom" after their surgeries. To look good is:
Plato defined three supreme principles of our civilisation: the ideas of:
Plato also said that Socrates had said: "When we were among Gods, we could see the reality of perfect shapes. Our souls have kept the remembrance of it." Socrates also had to admit knowing what is beautiful but not what beauty itself is.
Beauty is a mixture of biology, youth, health, sexual maturity, voice (as power of the soul), physical charms, ancient Greek harmony, mathematic formulas, Darwin's "taste of beauty for beauty sake", intelligence, cheerfulness, personality, etc. He speaks also of "mental charms" as human "sexual ornament". For me, beauty is the metaphysics of the physics; it is the spiritualized visualization of the substance. The German poet Friedrich Hebbel would say: "Beauty is the depth of the surface." Certainly, it is also a "social power", as Bernd Guggenberger says.
Two personalized incarnations of beauty to be quoted as the author's personal preference are given in the following.
Nefertiti, the ancient Egyptian make-up wonder, evokes universal admiration, even today some 34 centuries after Tuthmosis created her bust. Her plucked and lined eyebrows, her absolutely harmonious nose, her divinely formed and made-up lips, her subtle swan neck all radiate an almost magnetic appeal of exceptional intensity. The mild and mysterious face of the fatally beautiful Nefertiti still leaves many a question unanswered. When I am in Berlin, I entrench myself before the sculpture of Nefertiti and just cannot stop admiring her perfectly formed nose and her full, harmonious lips without any cheap sensuality. The perfect profile of the favourite wife of the pharaoh Amenophis IV - Akhenaten - has lost none of its relevance to the present day, some 34 centuries after its appearance.
Audrey Hepburn had, like Brigitte Bardot, bodily contours of rather modest measurements. But, her face was full of longing, even yearning. Her huge eyes hid craving hope and secrets, showing an erotic smell of naivety with no touch of vulgarity. The suffering of her childhood and the coming suffering of her later days were visible in her middle age. The innocent
charms of her resplendent inside resulted in glowing magnetism.
The great thinker of the twentieth century the Hungarian Bela Hamvas in his cult work Scientia Sacra digs even deeper into the phenomenology of inner and outer beauty. For him, beauty is not a characteristic, but has similarities to the Divine, embodied in the celestial virgin Sophie. Her beauty and wisdom are love, and they arouse love. She is compared with the earthly woman, Eve. She left behind beauty in the spiritual world and exchanged it for appeal. She is not beautiful, but seductive. Her main objective is to be fairy-like.
True beauty cannot be lost. What is lost is the means to seduce: the charms. That is why a woman's greatest fear is to become old and ugly. Not only Adam was a victim of the original sin (temptation), but also Eve. When one finally wakes up from the bewitchment, one feels cheated, because "instead of the face, one has chosen the mask", as Hamvas concludes.
As additional reading to this chapter we recom- Bibliography mend Daniel McNeill's book The Face and Brian
Bates and John Cleese's book The Human Face. Please see the general bibliography at the end of this book.
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