Beauty – As an Essential Characteristic of Aesthetic Objects and As an Unconditioned Good
Beauty is commonly defined as the aesthetic trait of objects which makes these objects pleasant to see. These objects may include sunsets, beautiful humans, landscapes and art. Beauty, along with aesthetic sense, is the most significant part of aesthetics, among the various branches of modern philosophy. It can be considered the ultimate concept of beauty in the broadest sense of the word.
The theories of beauty use several terms and concepts. For example, the word ‘beauty’ can mean (and has often been used to mean) the quality of being attractive, lovely, lovelier, appealing, elegant or radiant. The term ‘subliminal’ suggests that beauty is perceived unconsciously and through the subconscious. Other theories of beauty refer to the emotional appeal and affect of beauty, its ability to influence thought and behavior and its power as an emotional stimulus.
The psychological study of beauty has as its goal the understanding of how beauty is constructed within the mind of the beholder. We are all unique and beauty is an intangible quality. We are all born with a beautiful inner sense of beauty but it is up to ourselves to connect this beauty with our external environment and with other people and with ourselves. Beauty as an aesthetic object is subjective and only we can experience it objectively through the lens of our own minds.
Dazed beauty refers to a state of beauty where the beholder is not aware that he/she is looking at an ugly or disfigured person, animal or place. It can be experienced when one is alone or when in the company of others. It is often accompanied by feelings of disgust, revulsion or sadness and can be suppressed, shielded or involved with a particular emotion. For instance, a child who is painfully shy, may develop a daze while observing the ugly duck and later on, come across with his/her courage to overcome the shyness. Similarly, a writer who is in the process of developing a literary masterpiece may fall in love with a beautiful naively simple girl who frustrates him by her plainness.
Beauty, as an aesthetic object, can also be subjective. In our daily lives, we are bombarded with beauty in the form of beauty in the things around us, in the colors we see, in the clothes we wear, in the landscapes we view and above all, in the attitudes and behavior of people we encounter. For beauty to be objective, it has to be perceived from the right perspective and with the appropriate attitude. It should not be considered as a mere aesthetic quality of objects or beings, but as something which transcends the borders of human thought.
Aesthetics are personal experiences and have to be treated as such. Beauty, for example, can be defined as subjective in nature. This means that when you look at something beautiful, you will not know if you are looking at something real or only an aesthetic object. This subjective quality of beauty is what makes beauty a subjective, particular quality and not an essential characteristic of an object. Thus objects are seen only as they seem to be, while the essential characteristics of an object are considered art when they manifest themselves as an aesthetic experience. The centrality of beauty in our lives cannot be denied, but it must be understood that it is an abstract and ephemeral quality, which can be perceived only through the appropriate subjective attitude.