Sunday’s Wisdom #62: Vanity is in Vain

“When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not.”
– Yoda, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

I think I’m still in a Star Wars mood! 🙂

We all smiled, even laughed, when Yoda made this statement, but I’ve often found that the humor of a wise man can hold jewels of insight. It’s a simple fact: time catches up to all of us. Death is unavoidable, and aging is only avoidable if Death gets to us first. Everything is transient, just waiting to be worn down and fade. Or, rather, everything material is transient.

There are a few things, the things we can’t see or touch, which last far longer than death, and can become ever stronger in time, rather than breaking. These things are truth, love, comradeship, ideas, knowledge, wisdom, etc. These are things time cannot touch. Our deeds, good or bad, may take only moments and be done, but once done, they last forever.

So then, why should we be so focused on how we appear? I don’t mean being clean and healthy, those are good, we should definitely prioritize those. But it is decidedly not healthy to obsess over our looks, to rely on them to define our self-worth. That way lies many a fruitless, even self-destructive, endeavor, including nitpicking ourselves and others for every supposed flaw, trying to alter or “fix” what is “wrong.”

Beauty goes far beyond what we see with our eyes, every pleasing appearance must fade in time, and vanity is in vain.

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