Why Do We Call Something Beautiful?

Look at the three paintings below. Which among the paintings by Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh had a greater personal impact? Which of the artworks do you think is the most beautiful?

Why do we call something beautiful? To answer this question, we may say that it is when we see that we learn to appreciate and call something beautiful. We may have appreciated each of the paintings' color and texture or maybe the paintings have brought out in us various feelings that enabled our minds to wander into the scenes suggested in each of them. But is it really in seeing that we call something beautiful? What about blindness or deafness? Are we limited if we are without the senses of sight and hearing? Still the question stands.

Beauty is described as that which delights the senses or exalts the mind. I do believe that things are interpreted beyond what is perceived solely by our eyes especially when it comes to judging things aesthetically. I must say that blindness as well as deafness, do not impair one's abilities to call something beautiful -- for what makes something beautiful is not identified exclusively with its appearance but also with the sound or the taste it produces. Furthermore, beauty is manifested in various textures, scents, and other myriad characteristics which brings us sensations. A blind man can still feel and with the texture of one's skin and the shape of one's face, he can call something beautiful.

I remember asking a friend about what sense, among the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell), would she choose if she is entitled to only one. Without a thought she replied, "my sense of taste". When I asked why, her reason was, "because I am French!" It made me realize that food, to some people, could be more than something we ingest to survive. For my friend, food is music... food is painting. A bad meal can ruin a night just as a bad music can ruin mine.

If for one person, beauty can be standardized and can be experienced only by the sense of sight, he is talking about the beauty of the ego and not of the self. A kind of beauty that fades and is rather superficial, not the kind of beauty that pleases one in the moral sense.

I believe in the evaluative theory of philosophical aesthetics... beauty is indeed, in the eyes of the beholder.

Link to another post:
5 Patterns of Experience


AZRA said...

What is beautiful for me may not be beautiful to the other people. If I am the one to be asked what sense among the five senses (hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell) will I choose, I’ll go for the sense of smell so as I can breath the breeze ever man can feel and can’t see.

But everything is beautiful, God created the world with perfection but very mysterious because no man can ever find perfection, he might find for good but not as perfect as the Creator.

Ed said...

If one saw the comedy film, Shallow Hal, one would remember how one was hypnotized to perceive beauty not from the sense of sight but from a sense of heart, if one can call it that. Meaning, beauty is in the in one's heart and head. As in, we cannot imagine how a male cockroach would find a female cockroach simply beautiful and fall in love. I remember when I was young that I found someone beautiful, but every one thought she was ugly. My mind and heart was eventually conditioned to find her ugly. That's really a sad story.

Anonymous said...

"Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder" as the famous saying goes. For me, beauty is simplicity with a touch of elegance but not to the extent of being sophisticated or extravagant. It is how one can carry his/her simplicity without being overly naive. I find a woman beautiful is she looks simple but elegant, can speak her mind and heart out, with a good sense of humor and a very pleasant attitude, well mannered and with a wide perception in life.