We found out today that our 13 year old daughter won second place nationally for 8th graders in Kids' Philosophy Slam. The question answered by all entrants was: Which is more important, truth or beauty? Her essay is so first-rate, that I'm publishing it here....
A World Without Truth: Total and Complete Chaos by Andrea White
"Only morality in our actions can bring beauty and dignity to life: -Albert Einstein
Our world would be in a state of unbelievable disarray without truth. This cannot be said for beauty, though. Thus, in my opinion, truth is more important than beauty. Without honesty, no one would be able to tell what is real and what is not. Some may say that this is already happening, but that just makes the importance of truth rise to a greater level. Truth is not merely the absence of falseness or lies, though; it embodies different elements of a myriad of things such as trustworthiness, pure accuracy, and morality.
The principal reason for truth being of value and meaning more than beauty is that we, as human beings simply could not function without its presence, whereas with beauty, we can. Apart from total truth, there is no way to determine if something, or someone, can be trusted. If there were no honesty or authenticity that comes from truth, lives could be in danger, and in fact already are and have been in the past. If beauty was nonexistent, our world would be a bit more dull, but even then it wouldn't be complete and total utter chaos. Truth is quintessential to survive, and it is therefore incredibly more important.
Truth implies certain meanings, many of which frequently become hackneyed and monotonous. But truth is a standard, a level at which to thrive for; the paragon of rightfulness, it is a measurable way to determine things. Beyond a statistic, though, lies the utter essence of morality; to tell the truth is the "right thing to do," and it is a symbol of one's own character. Lastly, truth is deep; it is at the center of our innermost being, hence the term, "your true self." If you are true, there is no wrong; everything is out in the open and vulnerable. Apart from the ability to be in that specific state of openness, no one could find out who someone else, such as a close friend, genuinely is on the inside.
Truth is a standard, a symbol, and a state of being, and it is vital to the human race altogether. It creates something near an ideal of perfection, and can portray a person without any barriers. Truth is the essence of morality, and without morality, as Albert Einstein stated, there can be no beauty. A decently "ugly" world, that of one without beauty, is much more preferable than a false and utterly chaotic world, that of one without truth, and therefore, truth has more meaning and more importance than beauty.
Kids Philosophy Slam Home Page