Understanding the True Meaning of Beauty

Updated on June 14, 2018
Md Yasir profile image

Regular person looking for inspiration in unlikely places. Creative Writer and Photographer.

For uncounted millennia, philosophers, authors, poets, and the common man were haunted by the concept of beauty.

Every passing legend contributed something new to the idea and over time, a variegated bouquet of quotes sayings was amassed, all aimed at this singular abstraction. It was presented in various forms, with countless interpretations and definitions, and has shaped thoughts and ideas throughout history.

This striking concept of nature was a part of the trio that Plato conceived as ‘eternal, immutable, divine existences’. He believed that beauty is an idea and a form above all other ideas. Also, several humanist thinkers argued that beauty is a product of Rational order and harmonious proportions. Not only them, but the ancient Greeks have associated beauty with order, harmony, and mathematics since time immemorial.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

— John Keats

From its connection to the Golden Ratio in the Pre-Socrates period, the impalpable idea of beauty evolved and developed into a rich and varied philosophical study.

The term encountered a transient topple over in the 20th century when philosophers & artists rejected beauty and turned towards anti-aesthetic sentiments. Some authors weighed it opposite to wine, with the notion that it intoxicated both the holder, and the beholder. This rejection however, was temporary and it regained its value as an important philosophical subject related to justice, order, harmony, and peace. More advanced postulates proposed a connection of beauty with evolution, pleasure, and other psychological factors.

Today, the word “beauty” is the amalgamation of theories, ideas, conjectures, and musings assimilated over countless centuries.

I think beauty does not lie in one's face or body

A beautiful personality is similar to a butterfly. It brings about a sense of joy and colour to wherever it goes.
A beautiful personality is similar to a butterfly. It brings about a sense of joy and colour to wherever it goes.

Contrary to its colloquial meaning,

I believe that beauty is found in the most unlikely places imaginable. for me, the most far-fetched tastes may be exquisite, and so can the most common forms of grass be pretty. A child may be called cute, a man termed handsome, and a woman considered winsome, but this, according to me, is not the right direction to tackle the idea. For me, beauty is not merely of the face. For me, true beauty lies in the heart and a beautiful personality therefore, is one that is kind, helpful, lively, and joyous.

Times have changed

The 21st century has brought us into an era where the value of time has increased several folds. One can no longer search for a fire latent in other’s hearts at leisure. A faster, and easier alternative is to look for the visual cue that physical appearances & first impressions offer. But to believe in the idea attained through that channel is to deny oneself of the quality and beauty of the soul. Also, such a venture into the realm of physical wellness can turn out to be expensive as today, one can spend almost a fortune on the latest beauty products.

This advancement towards a modern, industrial, and technological age has sent people on a gallop towards every treatment possible that can reduce wrinkles, pimples, and other such blemishes to be accepted as a beautiful person in the society.

Is it worth the struggle and cost?

One must keep in mind that not only are such treatments the wastage of a fortune, but also that the meaning of the word ‘beautiful’ is different for everyone and a spotless face does not necessarily guarantee an immaculate personality.

The perception of beauty changes from person to person

An architect finds beauty and satisfaction in cloud tearing sky-scrapers.
An architect finds beauty and satisfaction in cloud tearing sky-scrapers.

To a keen and curious mind, the ordinary looking blue sky is a mystery. To him, the fact that it stays up with no visible support is a marvel. To an architect, cloud-tearing skyscrapers are a wonder. To an artist, the amalgamation of two colours, swirling slowly to create another beautiful shade is no a source of constant wonderment. A philosopher defines beauty as “unity in variety, and variety in unity”. A scientist feels that the universe is a spectacular way to define beauty.

So varies the inferences from one human to another.

So how do you define beauty???

It depends on how you understand and perceive it.
It depends on how you understand and perceive it.

In my eyes,

beauty is a reflection of the nobility of the soul & casts forth a warm and lively glow. It's latent in the heart and mind of millions. It's hidden in places unimagined, unfathomed, and never crawled. Every flower that grows is a wonder to behold. Every colour in a rainbow & every drop of dew is a miraculous creation.

To you, the rose may be a sign of love & affection but to me, the leaves that brave the heat of deserts and wastelands are a sign of how truly amazing this universe is.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;

it's loveliness increases; it will never,

pass into nothingness but will keep,

a bower quiet for us, and a sleep

full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

— John Keats

Your turn...

How important do you think is the role of physcial features to define beauty?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Mohammad Yasir


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