Why Beauty is Important 2023
Why Beauty Matters for Our Lives and Cities
“Beauty is Truth: that is all you know on earth and all ye need to know” – John Keats
Legend has it that the Persian monarch Xerxes once halted his troops for several days to take in the beauty of a sycamore tree. This was a perplexing move for a warrior king commanding an army of battle-hardened soldiers.
I’m sure the sycamore tree was really lovely. The harsh reality of battle and the desire for dominance and conquest, however, are not remotely related to delicate sensations of this. Maybe not. The appreciation of beauty seems to be a pervasive (and essential) aspect of our existence, even as we stand on the verge of war.
The Human Relationship with Beauty
Beauty isn’t simply for show; it truly plays a crucial role in how we perceive and engage with the environment.
Our interaction with our surroundings, including our relationships with food, the landscape, art, and even one another, is enriched by beauty. For instance, even when we’re not consciously aware of it, our thoughts are constantly taking in the structures, layout, roadways, and skyscrapers all around us as we go through a metropolis. The natural world is no different.
Whether we are in Arches National Park or New York City, we intentionally store concepts of this in our brains and develop a relationship with it.
The way we view food is also influenced by the way we view beauty. From crisp, vibrant apples to the striking fractal-variety spirals in broccoli, all in striking yellow-green color, we often think of nutrient-dense, healthy foods as inherently good for us. Once we start exploring the content, we will be able to make, participate and enjoy eating this beautiful vegetable and spread the word about this beautiful vegetable.
Things such as the harmony and warmth of everything we see on earth, from the air and waves to famous monuments, surprise our sense of beauty. The golden ratio and symmetry can be found in natural and man-made objects and artifacts and are a timeless principle of this.
However, beauty is considerably more complex than that. Landscapes and settings frequently have a strong impact on people’s happiness and sense of belonging. Perhaps the circumstances that will best support us or that feed a deep, ingrained need for significance are those that we find beautiful.
What therefore distinguishes constructive beauty from destructive beauty?
Vanity and Beauty
We can all undoubtedly name harmful notions of beauty in our society, in ourselves, and in others, such an empty attachment to this. For such a complex organism as a human being, there are certainly many diverse methods to convey this, but when and when do we cross the line?
Excessive plastic surgery, a fixation with fitness, and desperate attempts to win over others’ perceptions of our beauty are just a few examples of the things we cling to in an effort to achieve (or maintain) what we consider to be attractive. We lose sight of beauty’s inherent gift when we use it as a tool to undermine other people’s self-worth or achieve our own goals.
What does it mean to be “beautiful inside” when we talk about being something to aspire to? The harmony of the beauty of our internal and external worlds is what we desire, in my opinion. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the greatest architects of all time, wanted form and function in his creations to not only coexist but also to be one and the same. By taking this as a model, we could aim to create harmony between our internal and outward worlds of this, allowing form and function to merge into one, just like the best architects.
The Purpose and Form of Beauty
There are a number of aspects about modern cities, especially those in America, that are perhaps not all that lovely. How did we leave so many of our towns and natural places in such unsightly condition if people love beauty so highly?
Any beauty divorced from its intended function is essentially unnecessary, irrelevant, and ultimately decorative. Is our culture more important than appreciating true beauty in life, purpose, and work?
But we also create communities designed without business and financial considerations in mind, leaving us with bad stores and bad parking spaces for a good life.
Why do so many people travel to European cities like Prague and Paris? Why can’t they resist the Sistine Chapel’s painted ceiling or a picturesque setting?
The solution is beauty. We gravitate toward beautiful things instinctively, and our experiences of them provide us joy, comfort, and contentment. Everyone needs to offer and share it, and that goes for the spaces our community as a whole shares.