Beauty is a quality that is attractive to the eye and pleasing to the intellect. It can also be described as a combination of qualities such as shape, color or form.
It is not the only thing that makes someone beautiful, but it is a major contributor to their overall happiness. The way that you look at yourself, the things you have and the people around you all contribute to your sense of beauty.
You can find beauty in nature, in art and even in music. You may feel more beautiful listening to a Mozart ballade or walking in the rain with your children than you will when you walk down the street with your friends.
The human mind is conditioned to respond to beauty in the way that it does, and so it is important to understand the source of this response. It could be, for example, that a man finds the face and figure of a budding young woman attractive. This is not to say that the same thing would be true of a piece of art, but it can give us an idea of how nature designed our minds to respond to certain kinds of beauty and how we can find it in nature and in the arts.
But how can we define beauty and make it something that can be used to promote good feelings in our lives? It is a complex question that many philosophers have explored, and a number of different ways of thinking about it have emerged.
In general, most philosophers have regarded beauty as a quality that is objective and unconnected to the person who experiences it. The most prominent and influential accounts of this approach have been found in Plato’s Symposium and Plotinus’s Enneads, but Augustine also gives an account in his De Veritate Religione.
Until the eighteenth century, most accounts of beauty treated it as an objective quality: they located it either in the beautiful object itself or in the qualities of that object. Then the idea of beauty became more connected with pleasure, and so the experiencer was identified as the object of beauty rather than the other way round.
Some of the most interesting accounts of this approach have been found in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and particularly in the British Isles. For example, the philosopher John Locke, who was heavily influenced by this view, saw beauty as a source of pleasure in the mind. He argued that the pleasures of the mind are dependent on a certain kind of ‘phantasm’ of the senses. The same was true of color, which he regarded as an expression of the perceiving mind and thus as a source of beauty.
The twentieth-century philosopher George Santayana argues that the idea of beauty is a good one and should be cherished by every individual. He explains that it is “a sense that there is more than meets the eye.” This is a very powerful, deeply satisfying sense of being that can help to foster a feeling of self-acceptance and a deep appreciation of what’s around you. It is an impulse that can help to break the cycle of anxiety and depression that often stems from our over-emphasis on appearance.