Beauty is an important part of the human experience. It can be found in the natural world as well as in art and literature. It can be a source of pleasure or it can be harmful, depending on your perspective.
We often think of beauty in terms of how we look, but there’s so much more to it than that. The way we look can influence how people perceive us, and our perceptions can also change over time based on social or cultural norms.
The beauty of a face or a sunset can give us a sense of pleasure, according to neuroaesthetics scientist Semir Zeki, who studies the brain’s response to the aesthetic stimulus of an image. He says that this reaction to beauty creates a “chemical reward” in the brain, and that it can even alter our emotions.
A beautiful building, for example, can boost our happiness levels and decrease crime rates. This is why many people invest in the design of their homes, and why some are turning to green architecture as an alternative.
Beauty can be a powerful force in the workplace, too. A culture that values aesthetics and positive relationships can lead to better decision-making, deeper engagement with the task at hand and a stronger sense of trust in others.
This is why a growing number of companies are moving toward clean beauty. They are taking steps to ensure that their products contain safe, non-toxic ingredients and are promoting transparency in the supply chain.
Some of these efforts, such as the Safer Beauty Bill Package (see below) are aimed at women of color and salon workers. They aim to ban toxic chemicals from makeup and other cosmetics, ensuring that those who are most vulnerable to harmful chemicals have healthier options available to them.
While the concept of beauty has changed over the centuries, it is a very powerful force that influences how we see the world and ourselves. It is often what separates people of different races and ethnicities, and has shaped our ideas of equality in society.
We tend to value beauty differently across cultures and historical periods, and it has also been a powerful driver of oppression. For instance, the perceived superiority of Western men and women based on their symmetry has been used as a basis for enslaving and dominating other cultures and peoples for centuries.
In the twenty-first century, there has been a renewed interest in beauty as a concept in philosophy and art. It has also been a point of critique for feminist and social justice philosophers.
A key problem with beauty is that it can be conflated with power. It is a concept that can be linked to social status or exploitation, and this has made it problematic for many philosophers throughout the centuries.