Absolute BeautyPosted: September 16, 2014
So often we try to pose our questions as either/or questions. Is “Beauty” a subjective concept or an objective one? The question presupposes that one must make a choice in evaluating the idea of beauty, but I suggest that “Beauty” is both an objective and a subjective idea, a combination of universal principles which delineate in our minds what real beauty should consist of and, at the same time, a very subjective reaction to that which a given individual would consider beautiful.
Unfortunately, both the universal concept and the individual perception are alike influenced and clouded by the current societal norms, especially in relation to human beauty; it is rare for someone to be able to independently enjoy a beauty that has not first passed the approval of his society.
For example, I think most people react positively to the beauty of natural objects, such as sunsets, trees, flowers, the ocean, and much animal life. That is an inherent human idea of beauty. However, not so many find a spider gorgeous, no matter how beautiful the patterns of color; the web may be considered beautiful more often than the arachnid weaving it. In terms of humans, we expect the basics in evaluating beauty: all body parts arranged in harmonious symmetry. The societal norms then elevate one type of body, hair color, skin color, above others. To see beauty in those who do not fall into the ideal categories-which, frankly, consists of most of us-requires either the artist’s eye or the lover’s heart. The artist looks at someone and sees a story to be told; the lover views someone through the lenses of affection and sympathy. It is possible to say about someone: “She is not really beautiful in the classic sense, but she is beautiful to me.” The universal construct, the societal norm, and the personal relationship all combine to define what beauty is.