Irrationality in Grace


If you are immortal, particularly beautiful, festive and joyous, you are most likely one of the three Graces, daughters of big daddy Zeus Jupiter and hotsy totsy Titan Goddess Eurynome. The Graces brought a sense of joi-de-vivre and big doses of inspiration for poets like Sappho.

Sappho as you probably know is the famous Greek lesbian poet who coined the term bittersweet. What you might not know is that the original term was sweetbitter since accordingly we experience the sweetness of a romantic relationship first, the lusciousness, the lovemaking, the sense of grace that permeates a person’s entire being; a lilac-jacked, jasmine-infused, tongue-in-bud overwhelm.

But eventually, as Sappho reminds us, what undoubtedly follows is the bitterness of disillusionment, the anxiety of separation, the fall. Have you ever experienced sweet without bitter, charm without clumsiness, mercy without brutality, and beauty without ugliness?

Such is life! Grace allows us the illusion, the surreality of rose-coloured glasses, the vibrancy of first blush before the harvest crush. Grace is only the half of it. Grace is ephemeral, lofty, and sought after; yet she’s never fully embodied. She’s mythologized. She’s nuanced. She’s imperfect. She’s versioned and interpreted and occasionally eroticized as in the image above.

Salvador Dali’s painting, Enchanted Beach with Three Fluid Graces, depicts the three Graces as other-worldly, phantasmagoric, and apparently in a state of excitement. It might not make sense, but love rarely does. We’re meant to feel the gifts of the Graces, feel them deeply and irrationally and be thankful for them.

About The Author

Cynthia Vale is a budding scholar and doctoral student in Transformative Inquiry at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She writes the dot429 philosophy blog. You can reach Cynthia at

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