Beauty – A Basic Understanding
“Beauty,” in the broadest sense, is frequently defined as the aesthetic quality of certain physical characteristics of things that makes these things aesthetically pleasant to see. Such things as nature, sunsets, humans, landscapes and artistic works of art are often thought to be beauty. A more narrow definition of beauty may be the aesthetic appreciation of beauty displayed in human forms. In this way beauty relates to human excellence, and the pursuit of aesthetic beauty. A narrower definition of beauty focuses on the qualities of a work of art or a person.
Beauty, like beauty, is generally defined by what an individual find aesthetically pleasing. However, beauty can also be determined by the individual’s own assessment of beauty, temperament, personality and attitude. Beauty, like art, is a purely subjective quality. Subjective beauty exists only for the beholder. Beauty therefore depends solely on the individual’s personal and subjective preferences.
A number of theories to explain how beauty relates to our psychological and emotional responses to the environment. These theories call into play both the physiological and psychological responses that occur when we view, feel, and taste something. The theories of beauty differ greatly from those that deal with pleasure, because they attempt to define beauty in terms of pleasure. The theories of beauty consciousness assert that aesthetic experiences derive from pleasure and that those who are in pain experience no pleasure at all.
Because beauty is a purely subjective quality, it can never be objectively measured. However, there are a number of ways that beauty can be objectively measured, most typically through measurements of bodily differences. When considering art as an essential characteristic of human existence, it is the personal preferences of the observer that determine the level of beauty in a work of art may possess. Aesthetic evaluation is the process of evaluating a work of art based on the preferences of the viewer.
One way to evaluate beauty is through the process of cognitive comparison. In this process of cognitive comparison, a person considers different aesthetic experiences and ranks them based on their similarities and differences. An object’s beauty, for example, can be compared to the beauty of a car or to the beauty of a house. The object’s beauty can also be compared to the beauty of other things. The beauty of an object, for instance, can be compared to the beauty of a beautiful house or to the beauty of another person.
Some might find this comparison process to be too simplistic. Others would argue that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For example, some people might find a car to be more beautiful than others. This line of thinking is based on the idea that beauty lies primarily in the eye of the beholder. What others see as beautiful may be replete with cultural and social factors that beauty does not have much to do with.