The Origin of Beauty


According to the philosopher George Santayana, beauty is a sensation or experience that brings pleasure to the senses. Beauty is subjective, and the experience is profound. The experience of beauty is a form of awe, which can be transcendent. Whether you experience beauty as a physical experience or a mental one is a subjective choice. Let us look at some of the most common ways we can perceive beauty. We can find the source of beauty through literature, art, and music.

Until the eighteenth century, most philosophical accounts of beauty treated beauty as a property of the object, a matter of objective proportions and mathematical ratios. Augustine explicitly asks in De Veritate Religione whether things are beautiful because they give us pleasure or because they are pleasing in some way. Augustine, for example, opts for the second option. Then there is Plato, who traces the origin of beauty to our human response to love or desire. The response to beauty is often associated with the realm of Forms.

Aside from aesthetic value, beauty also has a social meaning. Beauty is positive and pleasing to the senses, while ugliness is the opposite. It is often considered one of the three transcendentals, a concept that has been considered to be the foundation of human understanding. Beauty is a fundamental aspect of culture and a concept of aesthetic taste. It is the ability to create an image that pleases the eye. Those who create art that is radically different from the norms of beauty are game changers.