“Beauty is a process of choosing what is good for us.” -Rumi Beauty is one of the most important and powerful human senses. It is one of those senses that we use to distinguish ourselves from others. “How we see the face of the planet,” as T.S. Eliot wrote, “is the measure of how we rate the worth of our own existence.”
Beauty is often defined as a subjective quality of objects that making these objects beautiful to see. These objects could be landscapes, sunsets, beautiful humans, and artistic works of art. Beauty, with beauty and art, is perhaps the most important philosophical topic of twentieth century aesthetics, among the major branches of psychology.
The word ‘beauty’ is sometimes used, in colloquial use, to refer to an aesthetic quality in objects, but more often it refers to a particular psychological theory or concept. In many circles the word beauty is used to mean the quality of delight found in the object of aesthetic appreciation, while in other circles beauty is used to refer to certain kinds of psychological orientation. In addition, beauty can refer to a set of standards or a common approach to rating beauty.
Freud’s theory of beauty was primarily an erotic one, concerned with the link between the aesthetic sense and sexual desire. This link was found to exist at the unconscious level and to cause an obsession in the conscious mind that manifests itself in a sexual manner. Freud believed that his theories about beauty were based on an accurate understanding of human sexual psychology. According to Freud, there is a series of primitive, instinctive drives in humans that are responsible for the formation of our basic aesthetic concepts.
These drives can be traced back to when humans first began to walk upright on their legs. These primitive drives appear again throughout the history of human civilization, and are the source of much of our aesthetic consciousness today. According to some interpretations, these drives, or instincts, are responsible for the universal preference for certain kinds of human beauty in all cultures around the world. It is possible that the universal beauty consciousness is nothing more than a modern version of Freud’s primitive instincts.
In recent years, however, the idea of beauty has become part of the mainstream psychological theory. The best-selling novel A Place of Execution by Alain Delon recreates scenes from ancient Rome’s gladiatorial arena in which lions, tigers, and dogs compete for the attention of young Romans. In recent years, the television show Saturday Night Live has displayed a sketch in which a beauty pageant contestant is judged solely on her beauty, and her competitors are judged by how well they resemble their public image.