The Reason Beauty Exists

In an earlier post (The Explanation of Beauty), we had one of our readers (Bryan M. White), leave a meaningful comment on it. He said, and I quote, “I think many people feel that beauty is like a butterfly. It has to be killed to be dissected.” These words gave us a great deal of thought. And so we wondered. In a way his ideas did hold some truth. We finally conceded with the fact that maybe the real issue wasn´t that we were questioning it, more importantly, it was that we weren´t asking the right questions.

For a physicist, the movement of dust particles in the light of day may be seen as a beautiful delicate sway. For a cardiologist, to experience a heart beating inside of a live patient in the midst of an operation could well be the zenith of delectation. For a neuroscientist, the first time they got to see an actual MRI scan could have been the first time they understood something as intricately beautiful as a Van Gogh masterpiece. For a parent, the laughter of a child could well be the only thing that brings a smile to their face. And so on and so forth, the list could go on to infinity and beyond.

The real question shouldn´t be then, what is beauty? Rather it should be, for what purpose do we perceive beauty? When was the last time you stood in front of something beautiful and decided it wasn´t worth your time to stare at it for a few seconds? Regardless of what it was, if we find something beautiful, we can´t help it, we always end up fixating our mind on it, even if it is only for a mere instant.

But why then? Why do we need to stare? Why do we need to stop? Why can´t we help from looking away? Yes, beautiful things produce chemicals in our brain that provide us with feelings of pleasure. And for what do these images give us pleasure? Is there, from a survival standpoint, a reason to feel pleasure when we experience something beautiful? Well we believe, beauty is a form of curiosity. We fascinate at things because we want to understand them. When we think the flap of a butterfly is beautiful it is because we would like to understand it. It is equally the same concept behind the brushstrokes in “Starry Night Over the Rhone”, or even the way an apple falls from a tree onto ones lap. Great amount of innovation has surfaced in human history as a product of marveling at beautiful things. 

Maybe if we pay attention to the things we find beautiful in our lives, we can find out what our real vocation really is. Let´s say you are overawed by constructions like the Champs de Elysées, then you should consider a career in construction work or architecture. If rather, you find human interaction to be a symphony of cords playing all at once, then you should consider a career in psychology or the offering of a service. If, on the other hand, by any chance you find almost everything you experience in life to be beautiful, then without a doubt you should consider becoming an artist.

These, of course, are all speculative ideas and by no means should they be taken as facts. Extract as much truth as you can from this post, and what would be even better, is if you share your own truth with us. Tell us what you think, do you agree? Disagree? We want to know.
Pictures via tigaer and ErrorOperator
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