Beauty – A Subjective Experience


Many people agree that beauty is a subjective experience. Some think that a painting of a field of flowers by Monet is beautiful, while others prefer the music of Bach or the sculptures of Michaelangelo. Yet some things seem to have a common appeal, such as the face of a budding young woman or the form of a mountain in the Alps. It may be that nature, rather than culture, designed these objects to evoke feelings of beauty in all men and women.

A classical conception of beauty holds that the beautiful object has certain proportions and harmonies that make it harmonious as a whole. This idea was articulated by Plotinus in the 3rd century BC and remained popular throughout the Renaissance and later in European thought.

It is also possible to view beauty as a virtue that should be valued in oneself and in others. This is a view that was advocated by philosophers such as Kant and G. E. Lessing. Others, such as Hume and Kant’s contemporaries, were more empiricist in their approach to beauty, holding that it is an experience that depends on the mind of the perceiver and varies according to each individual’s perceptions.

The 1990s saw a revival of interest in beauty in art and philosophy, partly because of feminist-oriented reconstruals and reappropriations of the concept. In particular, many have emphasized that it is important to look beyond superficialities of appearance and consider the qualities that make up a person’s character. These include the ability to be confident, humble, and honest, as well as a sense of humor and a desire for excellence.

In the field of cosmetics, some of the more interesting developments have been in products that promote healthy looking skin. These include the use of natural ingredients such as olive oil, vitamins and minerals. Several studies show that these products may have beneficial effects on the skin.

It is interesting to note that some of the most successful and admired people in society, such as Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey, are not considered to be physically attractive. However, they have made enormous contributions to the world through their intelligence, work ethic and philanthropy. They have broken the mold that says that beautiful people must be wealthy and able to maintain an unrealistic air of perfection.