Monday, February 17, 2020

The philosophy of beauty

We are attuned to beauty. We design a dress. We decorate different materials and places for aesthetic purposes. Why and how beauty matters? We have predominant belief, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Is it real? How beauty is influenced by culture? In this article, I am going to respond to these exciting queries focusing on the philosophy of beauty and its determining factors.
Beauty is how we perceive
How beauty is influenced by culture?

Culture is shared values and norms. Each culture has certain beliefs. Why do we perceive something as beauty? Because it is harmonious to the norms and values of the culture. The terms and conditions for the measurement of beauty is deeply rooted in our mind by the culture. We are unconscious about it. But the culture is executing a vital role in what seems beautiful to us. One perceives something as beautiful but the same is not for others. Why? Because they have different cultures. They have different terms and conditions for beauty. Beauty depends on how we perceive. All the time our behavior and perception are guided by culture. As culture is the main source of perception, beauty is directly influenced. For example, all culture has a certain uniform and dress according to the event and celebrations. If someone performs against it, his/her impressions of beauty tend to deviate. According to Levis Strauss, culture is in the universal structure of the human mind. 

There is nothing good or bad, but the thinking makes it so.

Why do you feel pleasure while seeing beauty? 

There are changes in brain chemistry when you see beauty. According to a biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, “When you see an attractive person, the left ventral tegmental area of the brain becomes active and will pump out dopamine." What is dopamine? Fisher claims,  "Dopamine is a stimulant to the brain, so some people might react with surprise or awkwardness." It is also sometimes called the feel-good neurotransmitter that creates feeling of pleasure. When dopamine is released, it makes you exciting and serves to focus on. If you want to feel pleasure, there is necessity of dopamine in the brain. So, when you see beauty, due to the release of dopamine you feel pleasure. 

What is the thought process while seeing beauty?

Our mind is bombarded with thousands of information consciously and unconsciously.  According to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at the University of Southern California, the average person has about 48.6 thoughts per minute and total 70,000 thoughts per day. You know that dopamine helps you focus. To focus means to differentiate all the other thoughts. The scattering of thought creates stress. The more thoughts, the more stress. The fewer thoughts, the more pleasure. While seeing beauty, due to focus, the number of thoughts reduce. So, beauty provides pleasure.
Culture influence beauty
Relationship between beauty and meditation

When you see beauty, you are in a meditative state. What does it mean? It might confuse you. Meditation simply means to be in the present moment. The present moment is always blissful. Have you ever noticed, why people are depressed? Because they are more concerned with the unpleasant past than the present. Have you ever noticed, why people are in anxiety? Because they are more concerned with an alarming future than the present. While seeing something beautiful, even for a moment you forget the past and future to some degree and focus on the present. So, beauty ultimately gives a taste of the blissful moment.  

Relationship between beauty and ego.

There is great confusion about the existence of ego. Here, ego means self-identity. Most people do not want to lose their identity, because he thinks it loses status, and ultimately happiness. But the reality is just the opposite. Why fakir experience the more blissful moment than normal people? Because they are comparatively losing more ego or self-identity. When you see beauty, even for a fraction of time you forget who you are. This is egolessness, which makes you feel blissful. 

Why beauty is not in the eye of the beholder?

If you see something beautiful, it makes you feel pleasure. Suppose you are in worry condition, does beauty provide you pleasure? Of course not. You are seeing the same thing as before, but you are feeling different. This simply proves beauty is not in the eye of the beholder.  All the above-explained determining factors(dopamine, thought, meditation, egolessness) are concerned with the mind. So, beauty is in the brain of the beholder. 

Benefit of awareness

If beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, it simply means beauty is not in the object. It only provides a glimpse of pleasure. Since beauty does not depend on object, this implies you can sense beauty in any environment by training your brain. 


We know, beauty is in the brain. Culture is also in the brain. This proves beauty is influenced by culture. We can sense beauty even without object. Beauty is not in the eye but the brain of the beholder.  


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