What is Beauty?

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boagie
 
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 06:58 am
@Khethil,
Khethil wrote:
Obviously this is a large question. Such a young thread and so many tangents have gone off.

Beauty is the term we give to those things we perceive to have a visual, aural or tactile harmony that strikes us well; scenes that have a particular quality of appeal to the beholder, faces that elicit positive, hungry or sympathetic emotions on the part of the beholder.

The term is subjective, in the extreme, and is contingent on the feelings, desires, emotions, past experiences, values, vulnerabilities and preferences of the individual beholder. For those things beautiful to many, I believe they are so due to similiaries between individuals. For example, on a biological level, Humans find symmetry appealing in the human form as it speaks to health and attractiveness. I also believe there are beauties that are associative; a peaceful landscape showing health and vitality speaks to us on a subconscious level, for instance. Music too - intertwining harmonies that *tickle* our brains with their sensations. There are many examples of why perceptions of beauty can be widespread and probably just as many describing why it is an individual - very personal - experience.

I think in the best utility, Beauty can be described as an inner emotional expression of joy from the beholder upon perceiving anything which elicits a positive emotional response within.


Khethil,Smile

I think it necessary to understand beauties biological dependence ,also the reality that all things are ordered, the object is seldom if ever considered to be beautiful if it is not orderly. This again would have subjective value, if the indivudual in question is incapable of orderly thinking, himself in a constitutional disaray, then it is unlikely he would find something of beauty beautiful. Part to part, part to the whole and the whole to each of its parts. Constructs in our outside world are in fact extensions of our own organization, own order, so order speaks to order you might say.To be creative I think, is to have the ability to create order, creativity then, is extension.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 09:23 am
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Khethil,Smile

I think it necessary to understand beauties biological dependence ,also the reality that all things are ordered, the object is seldom if ever considered to be beautiful if it is not orderly. This again would have subjective value, if the indivudual in question is incapable of orderly thinking, himself in a constitutional disaray, then it is unlikely he would find something of beauty beautiful. Part to part, part to the whole and the whole to each of its parts. Constructs in our outside world are in fact extensions of our own organization, own order, so order speaks to order you might say.To be creative I think, is to have the ability to create order, creativity then, is extension.


Completely. Even through, I'm sure, there are a great many things I consider beautiful that you may not, the focus of such a discussion should necessarily be what are those things which we as a species consider so, and why. And although the vast array of differences in personal preference adds variety and spice to the discussion, its acknowledged convergences are where the greatest insight is to be had, imho.

Symmetry, organization, constituent parts in harmony with the whole, grace in geometry or sound. These, all, I believe are precepts that can be applied to all. The problem is, I believe, many a well-intentioned philosopher becomes myred into a particular sub-sect of beauty.

I, myself, when posed this question instantly thought of a woman's face, the outline of her cheek, her clear eyes, cute nose and generous mouth. We're colored by our high-impact examples of beauty. But what of music? Harmony? Why is the sight and sound of a gentle river found "beautiful" by so many? It seems necesssary that we should all back off our initial emotional impressions (insomuch as a thing is possible!) to examine the larger patters, and only in doing so perhaps come to a concensus of "beauty" that can be applied to all.

This is not to say all things can be applied to all - only that common threads exist. As far as those things *not* shared by all, I hope I can contribute an example, I hope readers will forgive a possibly-disturbing visual.

At about the age of 7, it was my family's habit to go camping on the Apache Indian Reservation in southeastern Arizona (wonderful country). We'd roll along in a battered Starliner on unfinished dirt roads, scraping the car's undercarraige and complaining all the way. During one trip, my mother gasped in awe and shrieked, "Oh look kids! Isn't that beautiful?!". When we turned to see, we beheld a bull and cow doing what nature commands not 10 feet from the car. To this day, I recall in nauseating detail, specific aspects of that vision that I found patently sickening (some things one just doesn't REALLY want to see that close). But Mom was genuinely moved; with a tear in her eye she awe-struck in divine euphoria at this sight. I think on a purely naturalist level I can somewhat identify, but won't ever equate that with "beauty".

Such variances spark debate and disagreement. Personal inclinations towards the connotation of the word lead to mal-aligned debates. My sense is that only in its commonalities can a larger concensus be had and in so doing, lead to more successful communcation.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 12:24 pm
@Khethil,
khethil,Smile

Every interesting khethil but, are we going to engauge in a consenus of some kind. Perhaps it would be enough to try to discern the qualities that constitute beauty relative to its category. It should be interesting, acceptions to the rule and all.
 
Chell
 
Reply Mon 19 May, 2008 01:29 pm
@boagie,
l define beauty as the state of which one holds another's atributes. Everyone has different tastes in what they find attractive and what one may find so very beautiful another may find absoulutely ugly and unattrative.
The phermones are another state that holds one 's attraction at beauty or ugly which is unconcious and we have no control over.

lt is a good question boagie, because when we join the dating game here, why is it , we have to present our picture in order to get better attention rather then if we are just the ones that remain blank, and colorless, so the reason lies that we are trying to get attention from someone who finds us attractive enough to get a connection in hopes that we find love, correct?

Chell
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 01:49 pm
@Chell,
Chell wrote:
l define beauty as the state of which one holds another's atributes. Everyone has different tastes in what they find attractive and what one may find so very beautiful another may find absoulutely ugly and unattrative.
The phermones are another state that holds one 's attraction at beauty or ugly which is unconcious and we have no control over.

lt is a good question boagie, because when we join the dating game here, why is it , we have to present our picture in order to get better attention rather then if we are just the ones that remain blank, and colorless, so the reason lies that we are trying to get attention from someone who finds us attractive enough to get a connection in hopes that we find love, correct?

Chell


Chell,

Yes, it is just so, and what an incrediable advantage one has in life if one is born extremely attractive, it is like being born within a large rich family, the world will in future treat you better than your brothers or your sisters, it is the winning of the lottery my good man--probably better.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 04:51 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Chell,

Yes, it is just so, and what an incrediable advantage one has in life if one is born extremely attractive, it is like being born within a large rich family, the world will in future treat you better than your brothers or your sisters, it is the winning of the lottery my good man--probably better.
Life is beauty, and beauty is health. Why does muscle tone and hair and skin play so large a part of our perception of beauty? It is because these are indicators of health and fitness. Ultimately every man would scorn a moment with a beauty to have his own smaller moment alive. Life is beauty, and to that beauty we cling.
 
de Silentio
 
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 07:29 pm
@Fido,
Fido wrote:
Life is beauty, and to that beauty we cling.


If I may be so bold to ask: Why do we cling to that beauty?
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 09:54 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
If I may be so bold to ask: Why do we cling to that beauty?


Sha; it's the only show in town.
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 10:42 pm
@Fido,
Hi all,Smile

Lets assume that beauty is relational, thus, the appreciation of what is considered beautiful is dependent upon something within the subject to evoke that particular sentiment, then extend this same principle to everything you consider beautiful, and see if the concept does not satisfy.Wink
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 5 Jun, 2008 11:04 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Hi all,Smile

Lets assume that beauty is relational, thus, the appreciation of what is considered beautiful is dependent upon something within the subject to evoke that particular sentiment, then extend this same principle to everything you consider beautiful, and see if the concept does not satisfy.Wink

Thanks for the thanks by the way. I assume it is relational to because applied to people it would have no meaning if everyone were beautiful, or no one were. And it is a form of relationship, since it is shared as a value. I think health is behind human beauty, but there is something common to all that people find beautiful. In the human form as in architecture, symatry is desired. Again, this is a sign of health in the human form, but it must be unconscious, or people would not be so obscessed with it in all that they build and do.
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 10:02 am
@Fido,
Fido,Smile

:)Yes, order is the elemental principle involved, even when considering the human face. I would be most curious to talk with a portrait artist reguarding the correlated growth and arrangement of the features of the face. I for sometime have thought that, given one, perhaps two features, one might reconstruct a reasonable look alike image in which these features find a balance. So, this is for the artists out there, if given the basic age and hair colour, as well as the type of nose the subject has, can you then accurately assume the type of chin that would correlate with the rest of the face??:confused:

:)To sense beauty is not just an intellectual acknowledgement, it is more elemental than a mental process, it is as has been said by someone else, an immediate recognition of health --health on the high end, is often called the beautiful in humans. This is a great topic, I hope it goes on a long time, as the sectors where beauty can be recongnized is great and in the human realm, human relations, how important is it.

The qualities that give pleasure to the senses

A very attractive or seductive looking woman

An outstanding example of its kind
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 6 Jun, 2008 09:01 pm
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Fido,Smile

:)Yes, order is the elemental principle involved, even when considering the human face. I would be most curious to talk with a portrait artist reguarding the correlated growth and arrangement of the features of the face. I for sometime have thought that, given one, perhaps two features, one might reconstruct a reasonable look alike image in which these features find a balance. So, this is for the artists out there, if given the basic age and hair colour, as well as the type of nose the subject has, can you then accurately assume the type of chin that would correlate with the rest of the face??:confused:

:)To sense beauty is not just an intellectual acknowledgement, it is more elemental than a mental process, it is as has been said by someone else, an immediate recognition of health --health on the high end, is often called the beautiful in humans. This is a great topic, I hope it goes on a long time, as the sectors where beauty can be recongnized is great and in the human realm, human relations, how important is it------- the cream of the crop, did you pickup her tab??

The qualities that give pleasure to the senses

A very attractive or seductive looking woman

An outstanding example of its kind

Have you ever heard the myth about how the frog got on the moon's back? I guess it is Algonquain. If I tell you mainly what it is about, then it is about a proper choice of brides, with one being near, and the other far, and the far woman would be without support, and so be clingy withher husband, while appearing to all others like an animal. So: When sun and moon began looking for wives they each found one they thought beautiful. Sun picked a tree frog because he could not resist her beautiful eyes. Moon said: I want that beautiful Indian girl. Sun said: She is ugly withher face always squinty when she looks at me. So each married the girl he thought beautiful. The theirmother invited them all to dinner, and she served tryp to test which of the daughter had the best teeth. Indian girl ate the tryp, smack smack smack. Frog girl new she could not chew, so she grabbed some coal out of the fire to make the same sound. But spittle and black rolled down the side of her mouth which made moon howl. She was angry and jumped on moons back and stayed there always.

I have already given you the highlights; but the fact is, that much of beauty is culturally determined, and that goes for art, or others. As a person said once of face tattoing of women with involved designs, (in a distant culture): that it made them more beautiful than beauty, says it pretty well. The fact is that the more distant and strange people are the more likely they will be percieved as ugly or animal.
 
boagie
 
Reply Sat 14 Jun, 2008 10:55 am
@Fido,
:)The interpretation of beauty must always be from a biological perspective, any theory we might develop here would necessarily be wanting if its foundation was not ones own biology. Let me say something here for people who might have difficulty with this idea, When we speak of any reality, we necessarily use meanings both to understand and communication its nature, because all meaning is determined biologically or by a subject, then necessarily, beauty as a meaning is the property of a subject only.

:)So, where do we go from here, well there must be something about that which is beautiful that can play cords on that instrument called your biology, does not beauty evoke something of a postive nature, even if you cannot have it. So, all those things spoken of in art theory, order arrangement, correlation, balance, contrast, rhythm, I am sure I missed some, but, these must be considered not only elements of that which is beautiful but in someway, it must be part of you, in order to have that delightful experience evoked from you---------awe, the beautiful!!
 
 

 
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