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Thread: What Is Beauty?

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    What Is Beauty?

    I don't mean what you find beautiful yourself, I mean: what happens when we notice something and decide it is beautiful? Is it a caracteristic of what is observed, or of who is observing it?

    discuss (I am undecided, but I do notice that certain characteristics are widely seen as beautiful, by most individuals)
    "Nietzsche is dead"
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    Beauty is both objective and subjective... in a material, physical object, beauty can be found, but also exists in the asomatous realm of the mind; in thought and idea, in emotional perception. One does not necessarily have to 'see' something in order for beauty to be established or percieved, for it lies all around in everything from a strand of beach, a melody or in a feeling, etc. And though there are certain pre-concieved understandings of what is beautiful, or widely accepted by most, there is no regualtion or exclusivity of the opinion, as people see things in an entirely personal light. Beauty is not fact, it is opinion.

    What I think is beautiful, may not be what someone else feels and that is what makes it such a wonderful opinion... the variety and non-comformity. If everyone thought only flowers, sunsets and pretty faces were objects of beauty... what a boring people we would be!

    The Mathematician finds his beauty in numbers, the composer finds it in musical notation, the surgeon in the satisfaction of patching up a torn wound, the writer in words, etc... For some, beauty is symmetry and for others it is chaos and destruction, so there is no definite rule for what is beautiful, and what is not... it is just a cause and reaction that each person processes completely different. So, for one to say: "this is beautiful, because...", only works for the person who thought this, and those who agree. It is not universal, and if it were... the word would have no meaning or value whatsoever.

    Beauty has no rules, and that is probably the most beautiful thing of all and the freedom that comes with judging something to be worthy of that title only makes it more so.
    "Nature! We are surrounded and embraced by her:
    powerless to separate ourselves from her, and powerless to penetrate beyond her.

    Without asking, or warning, she snatches us up into her circling dance, and whirls us on until we are tired, and drop from her arms." - Goethe

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    Smile What is beauty?

    What is beauty?
    Visual beauty is some of the first I think of. Balanced and harmonized components. Could be a pretty girl, a symphony, an Italian car, or a place in the woods. Could even be a gold-card or a wellfilled refrigerator...



    But what is beautiful with humans?
    I do certainly not mind a pretty face and a well propotioned body, but real beauty, to me, comes from inside, and among such qualities I find beauty in
    humans through

    - clear eyes
    - using ones talents,
    - honest strive to evolve.
    - daring to be curageous,
    - ablilty to empathy,
    - humouristic sense and selfcritics,
    - a clear mind

    Probably something imortant I have forgotten...I`ll look after it today...

    What do you think? What is beauty to you?



    "... think beautiful thoughts, say beautiful words, and do beautiful things..." - Zoroastr
    Last edited by Hoarsewhisper; Tuesday, February 14th, 2006 at 02:10 PM.
    .

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    Re: What is beauty?

    Humans are given the aesthetic sence to pick healthy mates from not so healthy ones.

    In men beauty is associated with masculine features. Testosterone reduces the effect of HGH (human growth hormone, which promotes health), and only males with very good health (good genes, alpha males) can afford to produce testosterone in such amounts. Thus healthy men develope attractive facial features and have better chances of passing on their genes. The fittest survive etc.

    Same for women:
    http://health.dailynewscentral.com/content/view/1851/0

    There is a correlation between inner and outer beauty. Truly beautyful people seldomly posess bad inner qualitites. Only very few ones with extremely developed aesthetic sence see the difference between -- as I put it -- a truly beautyful person and a person with a wellgroomed face. On average you need no more than 4 seconds to draw a complete psycological picture of a person (approachable, kind/aggresive, even intelligent...) just by looking at his face.

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    Re: What is beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asthor
    What is beauty?


    The only thing that matters in the world.

    But what is beautiful with humans?


    Virtue, balance, proportion, strength, truth, honour.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Re: What is beauty?

    I'll add just one for now......

    putting others before yourself

    That is beautiful, in both males and females. Someone who can set aside their own selfish desires and let others be first. Whether it is holding the door to let someone else pass first knowing that they will then be first in line and you will have to wait longer.... or if it is making sure everyone else is served the meal first and has enough..... or allowing someone else the chance to speak without feeling the need to cut them off and get your own words out...... or letting the car in the merging lane in before you, even though they may be slow. Anything that puts another first.
    "I do not know what horrified me most at that time: the economic misery of my companions, their moral and ethical coarseness, or the low level of their intellectual development." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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    Re: What is beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucifer

    The only thing that matters in the world.


    Virtue, balance, proportion, strength, truth, honour.
    Knightly virtues.., but some would however maybe not understand the beauty of Truth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer
    I'll add just one for now......

    putting others before yourself

    That is beautiful, in both males and females. Someone who can set aside their own selfish desires and let others be first. Whether it is holding the door to let someone else pass first knowing that they will then be first in line and you will have to wait longer.... or if it is making sure everyone else is served the meal first and has enough..... or allowing someone else the chance to speak without feeling the need to cut them off and get your own words out...... or letting the car in the merging lane in before you, even though they may be slow. Anything that puts another first.

    My cat did something very beautiful on a rainy Sunday, he gave away his dinner to another wet cat, that he insisted should be taken in. He really teached me a lesson...
    .

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    Re: What is beauty?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asthor
    Knightly virtues.., but some would however maybe not understand the beauty of Truth?


    Sure, some might not. Truth in two senses, both effectively the same thing. Truth to one's self - one's basic sense of the good (God, honour, forefathers -IMO) - and truth with regards to the world. Not merely knowing what is true, but the knowledge that truth is a useful hypothesis - but the virtue of truth also consists in having the will to do away with knowledge demonstrated wrong. Proportion and balance are the physical sides of beauty Beauty is also the truth of one's being - one's highest aim, highest desire, greatest desirable potential, incarnated in physical form.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

  9. #9

    Arrow Perceptions of Beauty, A Social Construct?

    What do you think? Is human interpretation of "beauty" a social construct?

    I tend to believe that largely, it is. The basis for my point of view is my belief that form in the physical world tends to be symbolically interpreted among humans. The implication of this is that all judgements we pass tend not to be directly concerned with the subject or object in question itself, but concerned with the characteristics or feelings that they evoke in, or represent to, the individual. Yet, as we are all products of our cultures/societies to a greater or lesser extent, but still inescapably so, individual assessments will always be dictated or at least influenced by one's social environment.

    For example; tanned skin may be seen among some human groups as denoting socially popular/trendy virtues of being active, "outdoorsy", sporty, fit, healthy.... so it would follow that people who find these qualities desirable would also find tanned skin attractive.

    On the other hand, pale, untanned skin may be seen as denoting a person who is more concerned with intellectual, artistic, academic or passive pursuits, and may thereby be judged as beautiful to those who value these qualities to a greater extent.

    In this example, skin pigmentation, or lack thereof, may be symbollic of qualities of active v's passive; physical orientation v's intellectual orientation; traditionally masculine qualities (active) v's traditionally feminine qualities (passive), etc.

    It is any wonder that pale, white skin was considered the height of feminine beauty in days past when men were still men and women were still women, so to speak (adhering to conservative roles)?? With the mainstream deconstruction of traditional concepts of gender we can now see more "male" characteristics being valued and appreciated as "beautiful" in females, and more "female" characteristics being valued and appreciated as "beautiful" in males (particularly vanity, I think, which was not too long ago largely frowned upon in men, yet is now even encouraged!!).

    Could it be a mere co-incidence too, that in many Asian cultures pale, white skin is still seen as the height of beauty for women, when intellectual pursuits and ambitions for people and traditional roles for the sexes are still to a greater extent than in the "Western" world held in high esteem?? The beauty, skin whitening products so popular in Asia are not so different in concept to those that were used among the upper classes in the "West" in older times....
    http://edition.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/as...sia.whitening/

    Anyway, this whole skin pigmentation thing is only one example.

    So what do you think?

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    Re: Perceptions of Beauty, A Social Construct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridie
    Is human interpretation of "beauty" a social construct?
    This begs the question: for if it is an "interpretation" as you say, then it must be a construct of some kind.
    However, we do not only apportion beauty to humans, we apportion beauty to the whole of nature.
    Therefore, while beauty may be an interpretation, it is not a complete human construct, as it is found in nature [although we cannot know if birds find bird-song 'beautiful' as such, for example].
    So there is an argument that says: what we call beauty already exists in nature.

    For example; tanned skin may be seen among some human groups as denoting socially popular/trendy virtues of being active, "outdoorsy", sporty, fit, healthy.... so it would follow that people who find these qualities desirable would also find tanned skin attractive.
    I would make a distinction between the "attractive" [which means physically/sexually attractive] and the Beautiful [which implies the platonic perfection of form, and needn't be sexual in any way].

    My basic position is that 'beauty' denotes the striving [by men] towards the perfection in form; something that may never be achieved, but the closer to it we get, the more beautiful we sense that striving to be.

    This sense of perfection is racially and culturally specific.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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