On Beauty

Did you ever think what is the cause of beauty? First, note that “beauty” is a human concept. Obvious, but so many people seem to forget it. No cow or goat or lion looks at a flower or a sunset and sighs, “Oh, how beautiful.” Nor do babies do this. The idea of beauty grows bit by bit in a human’s mind as he observes the harmony of parts of things and the harmony and contrasts of wholes, which eventually gives him pleasure and which he calls beautiful. Also, the coloring of sunsets, of lakes and mountains, he gradually learns to value for their own sake, feels a value response within himself, and calls these, too, beautiful.

The beauty of nature is not something which is in nature by itself—it takes a human consciousness, observing, evaluating, and judging (and in adults this happens at lightning speed) to create the idea of “beauty.” In other words, without man there is no beauty anywhere. And, if man did not exist, what would be the point of beauty? The “point” for whom? “Points” or meaning or purpose, have significance only for a human consciousness. It is not that without humans all would be ugly, but that nothing would have any aesthetic meaning whatsoever. It is only because of man, for man, and in man that beauty is and can be, just as freedom must be of man, for man, and in man to be real freedom.

Note also that when we say of a flower or a deer, or other animal, that it looks so innocent, we are acknowledging human innocence. For “innocence” is a moral term, and nature is neither innocent nor guilty. What we have done is assimilated certain facial expressions of children, youth and some adults, then seen a visual resemblance to these in nature, and out sub-conscious has offered up the concept “innocent”. Again, as with “beauty”, there is no innocence without human beings. This is a strong argument against those environmentalists who think that the earth would be better off without human beings. But “better off” is a human, moral idea, which would not exist without those thinking human beings who discovered it and used it in their writings and speeches. So much for environmentalists, who haven’t risen to the human level of thinking.

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2 Responses to On Beauty

  1. solhls says:

    Very well stated and irrefutable!
    “out sub-conscious has offered up the concept ‘innocent'” You intended “Our,” not “Out.”

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