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The Nature of Beauty

This post will now describe what Santayana writes about the Nature of Beauty.

In this chapter, Santayana works on a definition of beauty. Is there such a thing even? Is one able to define the word “beauty”? In the dictionary (OED), beauty has many definitions, many of them containing the words “highly pleasing”. Remember that “The Sense of Beauty” was publishes in late 19th century, almost 150 years ago—before its publishing, there was the general assumption of beauty being something divine, something God-given and supernatural; the symbol of divine perfection. Back then, Santayana’s thesis, that beauty comes from within the human perception, was an entirely innovative thought (certainly blasphemic to some, but still innovative). Santayana concerns himself with he calls “the perception of values”. One does not judge a fact but a value of something. And value is always subjective, there is no universal acknowledgement in terms of beauty. As mentioned in last post, every perception of something beautiful is perceived and judged differently, so everyone inherits a sense of beauty that is entirely unique.

As aforementioned, beauty is often described as something that is “highly pleasing”. Aesthetic (the term that is used to describe the beautiful) pleasures are experienced by drawing attention to the external object causing the pleasure. An external object can be anything—a painting, a person, a flower or a view outside your window. Anything, really. The final definition of beauty Santayana gives is beauty and “pleasure as the quality of a thing”. The aesthetic value of an external objects is intrinsic, inside someone, and originates from the perception of the object. Perception, once again, as a unique experience to everyone. Celebrate your unique sense of beauty every day, celebrate it giving you pleasure—it is a true treasure.

Pixabay (Pexels)

Posted in artistravel international news, Artists, Creativity on Mar 12, 2021