A pilgrimage toward understanding "of its own beauty is the mind diseased".
The sentiment “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” originates from Plato’s Symposium, an exposition on love written about 360 B.C., where Socrates speaks of “beholding beauty with the eye of the mind.”
For those with body image distortions, they see not beauty in themselves but imperfections and overt dissatisfaction with their body or parts thereof. Rather, what captures the mindset of these people is a verse from Lord Byron’s early 19th century narrative poem, an autobiographical journey, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, (Canto IV, stanza CXXII), “Of its own beauty is the mind diseased/And fevers into false creation.” Those with body image disorders see themselves as though through a distorted prism, not unlike a Picasso painting.
Furthermore, there can be perceptual distortions (i.e., the inability to assess size and shape accurately) and actual body dissatisfaction (i.e., actual negative feelings about one’s body or parts of it.) Didie et al (Body Image, 2010) note that the concept of body image is “multi-dimensional and encompasses perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors not only about physical appearance” but also about fitness and health.
Some researchers have inferred that our body image is “hard-wired” into the brain, particularly because not only those who have had a limb amputation but even those born without limbs can still experience a “phantom limb” syndrome, i.e., sensations including movement, temperature, pain, and touch in the missing limb(s).
Furthermore, there is speculation that the right posterior parietal cortex “plays a critical role” in an integrated bilateral body image: lesions there can lead to neglect of the left side of the body.
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