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The Philosophy of Facial Surgery -- The Two Sides of Beauty

Updated: May 9

A picture of an eye

The Rise of Facial Plastic Surgery

Facial plastic surgery is becoming increasingly accepted in our society. It allows people to seek the help of qualified professionals to enhance their appearance and potentially boost their self-confidence. Our faces play a significant role in how we identify ourselves and how others perceive us.

As such, for anyone practically interested in this subject, it's important to consider several factors before undergoing facial surgery. Here are some points for you to ponder upon:

  • The importance of mental well-being: Beauty goes beyond physical appearance, as beauty can be regarded as a reaction. Obviously, one can find beauty beyond mere visuals. While facial surgery can address physical concerns, it's not a guaranteed solution for emotional well-being. If anything, well being is a result of self-work.

The Desire to Reshape Our Identity

Unlike those having visual impairments, our faces act as a constant calling card in the world of social interaction. It's an interaction so common, some may think it's the "only form" of human communication.

Our faces are that basic in their role, capable of shaping the currents of our lives within society. They can increase the likelihood of landing a successful job review, of getting friends and of course, romantic partners. They're the first impression we offer, a nonverbal introduction that shapes how others perceive us from the very beginning.

This visual storytelling, carries significant weight. According to Dimitre Dimitrov MD and George Kroumpouzos MD, PhD

Beautiful people are considered more successful in their professional and personal life, and beauty is associated with well-being. Beauty owners are also perceived as being smarter and more intelligent.

It's no surprise then, that some individuals choose to alter their facial features, hoping to rewrite the initial narrative they present to the world. Facial surgery allows some of us to challenge the limitations of the hand we've been dealt, and increase, by proxy, our possibilities in a biased humanity.

Other than that, this desire for a change can stem from a variety of factors, ranging from a personal quest for self-confidence to a hope to gain greater attention from others.

Beauty in a Looks-Obsessed World

The collective ripple effects of facial surgery (and of looks in general) presents us with the fact that society is unjust and unfair.

Society often judges a book by its cover, placing a disproportionate emphasis on physical appearance. It was Plato and his cave allegory that explained this well, and how impression doesn't only deceives but is desired over the truth beyond it (the "content" of "the book")

This is particularly evident in the realm of attraction, where conventionally "good-looking" people seem to hold an undeniable advantage, leading to alienation and to the incel philosophy. However, beauty is fleeting by nature, leading to the importance of looking beyond the surface. Look at your romantic partner. If they haven't got old yet, would you still love him/her and be loyal to them when age shall leave its mark? As such, since older women might be seen as less attractive, cheating may ensue.

This shows us how beauty is an asset, whose influence on reality goes beyond mere amusement. And indeed, one could regard facial surgery as the attempted improvement of a "nonfinancial asset". In a way, it's like modifying your car, thus increasing its value. And like in cars, human visual beauty is a depreciating asset.

Years ago, with long hair and a clearer complexion, I used to be a more-attractive guy. And it garnered attention. However, as life took a solitary turn, the desire to conform to external beauty standards faded, and I focused more on Philosocom more than anything else. I didn't care about looking good, I cared about living for my craft. One doesn't need much emphasis on visual care when he is a hermit.

While a skin condition changed my facial appearance, it didn't affect my core self. This experience underscores the transient nature of physical beauty, as independent from the importance of inner qualities.

Despite my aesthetic decline, the allure of beauty remains undeniable, as if it is a competent indicator of the individual's traits and overall merit. Despite its unreliability, beauty can act as an asset representing not only yourself but also your company/organization. This inaccurate superficiality is like a "societal disease", where first impressions based solely/mostly on looks, hold more weight than they deserve.

When a source is proven unreliable, and that includes our very faces, then why rely on them so much as carriers of information? Given how much we mask, this insight should be a granted.

The key lies in resisting this superficiality by recognizing a person's value extends far beyond their physical features. While appearance isn't entirely irrelevant, it shouldn't be the sole focus, or even the primary one. It's merely an arrangement of visual elements, not a definitive measure of worth. It's only "definitive" by social engineering, which is intersubjective, not objective.

Appearance, Identity, and the Quest for Acceptance

The philosophy of facial surgery should not be about conforming to societal expectations for acceptance. It should be a personal choice for self-improvement, not a quest for validation from others. A truly well-developed connection comes from appreciating a person's character and willpower, not just their outward appearance.

Facial surgery presents a complex issue. On one hand, it offers the potential to alter how the world perceives us, and thus a tool to influence social acceptance. Just like following fashion trends, facial surgery can be seen as a way to conform to what others find appealing, increasing our chances of fitting in. Conversely, rejecting such procedures can lead to some labeling you as unconventional, even discarding you entirely in some circles.

The question, then, arises: Are people whose tolerance of you is conditioned to your appearance, worthy of YOUR company? If possible, why not look for those who'd tolerate you more?

This emphasis on appearance for acceptance is undeniably saddening. It creates a situation where those who can't afford such procedures are left behind. Wealth, then, becomes a gateway to not only stylish clothing but also a more "ideally" attractive appearance. This reinforces a culture of superficiality, potentially leaving those less fortunate feeling rejected and alienated.

The Opposite Aspect: Reinvention

However, facial surgery isn't solely about conforming to external standard. It can be a tool for reinvention, offering the chance to conceal or even forge a new identity. While your voice might physically remain the same, a drastically altered face can render you unrecognizable, essentially creating a physical stranger.

This concept can be unsettling, with examples such as Anthony Loffredo using plastic surgery to turn himself into "the black alien", a heavily tatooed human with several body and facial organs missing. On purpose.

Imagine the shock of staring into a mirror and seeing a face you don't entirely recognize, even though you know it's yours.


Our faces are central to our identity, shaping not just how others perceive us but also our own self-image. They provide a sense of self, a confirmation that "Yes, this is me, with a unique face that sets me apart." It's no wonder secret services (in theory) utilize facial surgery for deep cover. Perhaps one day, advancements in technology like fingertip reconstruction will truly allow us to seamlessly switch identities, like online avatars come to life... and even steal them, too.

Facial surgery can be an effective tool to change how the world sees us, but it highlights the shallowness that can prevail on the basis of appearance. An ideal world wouldn't place such emphasis on external beauty. Being a model, for instance, might offer fleeting admiration based solely on physical attributes, not who you truly are. Hair, nails, and even facial features can be altered without affecting your core self, yet people may treat you differently based solely on these external changes. Quite the paradox.

Philosophically, facial surgery underscores the duality of beauty. It's undeniably relevant in social and romantic settings, but beyond that, one must question its true purpose.

Why alter our faces to please others, especially when it feeds into societal shallowness? Shouldn't we strive to combat this superficiality and create a world that values people for their inner qualities? After all, that's the very purpose of Philosocom – to inspire a world that looks beyond the surface -- to the depths of reality.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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