Whether or not beauty is a real thing is one of the most popular and controversial debates in literature. The reasons for the controversy vary. There are those who argue that beauty is just a fancy word for visual awe and those who say that it is a matter of taste and taste only. The following is a brief discussion of some of the main approaches to beauty.
The classical conception of beauty is a symmetrical and coherent arrangement of integral parts to produce an overall harmonious effect. It is embodied in classical and neo-classical architecture, sculpture, music, and literature. The golden ratio, a Fibonacci sequence, is an example of this concept.
The 18th century saw a sea change in the way we thought about beauty. It marked a momentous shift from mathematical to subjective thinking about it. It also marked a transition in the development of a culture of feeling. In the enlightenment era, a new sense of inalienable rights and confidence in human capability led to a burgeoning of cultures of feeling. The hedonists of the age believed that pleasure and beauty were connected. They defined beautiful objects in terms of value and function.
In the modern age, beauty was abandoned as the prevailing goal of the arts. Aspects of beauty were devalued by the political and economic associations with the term. For example, the aesthetic principle of order is associated with the idea of a golden ratio, while the concept of a pacifier was associated with the notion that modern art is an object of sabotage.
The old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” holds true in the realm of beauty. The most important aspect of beauty, however, isn’t necessarily what we perceive. This is because beauty can be subjective or objective. Some people are color-blind, while others experience colors differently under different conditions. Even if the same object appears to be different colors at noon and midnight, it is still the same object.
Some thinkers, like Edmund Burke, contend that beauty is the best known example of a good thing. According to him, a beauty is a series of qualities that give pleasure and satisfaction. Aristotle asserts that living things must present order in their arrangements of parts.
In the late twentieth century, many thinkers struggled with the question of how to reconcile beauty with a time of war and genocide. Others were suspicious of beauty as a distraction from more pressing issues. Some of the more innovative artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Alfredo Jacque, and Georges Braque, took a more radical approach, going against traditional beauty standards. Some, such as the Dadaists, planted urinals at art shows.
There are plenty of other theories about beauty. Some, such as the hedonist conceptions, equate pleasure and beauty, while others believe that beauty is a subjective state of mind. The definition of beauty, though, is ambiguous. Some think that it is the most significant concept of all, while others insist that it is merely a fancy name for a dandy looking object.