Beards can be a way of aping Graffiti-Sprawled people from NYC who are just not cool enough to be cool, but they can also be a whole way of life, symbolizing various highly desirable traits. This page shall demonstrate in a brief collection of historical and contemporary personalities the various archetypes that go into letting your chin run wild.
"Barba Non Facit Philosophis"* they say, but, then neither does a shiningly shaven jaw. Those who have given us logic, rudimentary physics, and the idea that the universe revolves around us, have traditionally put to putting their minds to work while sporting a fully developed beard, strongly setting themselves apart from clean shaven (but useful) thugs in the army as those who offer refinement and sophistication to an otherwise brutish and low-brow world. Whether the association between thinking and facial hair has any deeper connection, it was clear that those who had it had better things to do than avoid someone yanking it. Aristotle, I owe you one.
* The beard does not make the philosopher
Do you know the difference between a hacker who builds stuff and the one who breaks stuff? The former has a beard. Contrary to popular opinion, hackers are the people who invented computers and hung around huge mainframes in the seventies. Presumably because computer rooms were so huge it was not practical to ever walk out of them to, say, buy some Gillettes. These people are so highly admirable they are well worth emulating. I am, however, not quite a purist in the free growth philosophy, since I do take it upon myself to occasionally trim.
Few have changed the world more profoundly or unwittingly than the hippie generation. Freedom was the word, and nothing tunes you in like a dank blunt sandwitched between a well developed stash and soul patch. A beard allows you to conveniently conceal your middle finger from the man, only to present it later with greater theatric effect. A beard lets you be instantly recognized as male in a world of blurred hairstyles and frontal corteces. A beard is a beacon in a world of change, one steady symbol to turn to in rapidly changing times. The beard transcends time and space and is forever*.
* Certainly compared to the average human's life span
Bringing peace through armed conflict is a distinct human specialty and has been since ancient times. Within the greater framework of killing for the greater good, special forces hold the equally distinct role of doing in small numbers what large masses cannot, in valuing intelligence over brute force, in developing the individual rather than piling mass upon mass, in chosing surgical precision and careful selection rather than onslaught. Special forces don't have time for shaving to please their commander, they are too busy carefully preparing to prepare their preparations that actually matter. Practicality over conformity, utmost sophistication in the face of great adversity, that is the beard in this most base of known human endeavors.
Rarely has a clean shaven man moved the unwashed masses to tears. Maybe it is beause an unwashed appearence is required to move the unwashed masses, or perhaps remembering things and moving people are mutually exclusive. Regardless, great social change is a matter of people stretched to the brink of their limits and beyond, to the point where they become couragous, passionate, and proud. Neatness does not necessarily fit into the equasion of that kind of raw, unfettered, untrained, direct, and immediate human experience. Let us all stand in our most unadulterated form of humanity, and consumed by the experience, the possibilities, and the raw emotion that is the core of our very cultural evolution, undistracted by the small rituals of daily life, quietly let our beards grow.