Beauty is the defining quality of a person, something that makes them special. It might be their age, their hair colour, their body shape, their skin tone, their bone structure or something else entirely.
It is also the defining feature of their life story, their character and their personality. The most beautiful people are the ones who have a unique sense of themselves and who never stop growing and evolving. They aren’t afraid to challenge convention and make a stand for themselves, no matter what the rules of beauty might be. This is a key aspect of their being ‘game changers’ and it’s often what makes them famous or infamous.
The Classical Concept
In the Western world, we have an aesthetic conception of beauty that is reflected in classical and neo-classical art, architecture, music, literature, and philosophy. It is based on the principle that beauty is the arrangement of integral parts according to proportion, harmony, symmetry, and similar notions.
One of the most striking aspects of this conception is that it is often based on mathematical theory. This is in large part due to the work of Aristotle, who wrote a treatise on the principles of proportion that became the foundation for many works of ancient art (Pollitt 1974).
This idea of beauty also has its roots in the Far East, where concepts of beauty are much less developed than in the West, and where cosmological ideas are more important. In the Far East, for example, the idea of beauty is rooted in traditional ethical and cosmological views of being, and the connection between the two is generally not considered to be abstract.
The Modern Concept
While the classical conception of beauty largely remains intact, it has undergone some transformations in the modern period. Among the major developments were the emergence of a more philosophical approach to beauty, particularly in the 1990s, and the renewed interest in the topic by feminists.
Another change was in the way that beauty was associated with pleasure. In the seventeenth century, for example, beauty was often regarded as an end in itself. In other words, it was held that there was a sort of ‘invisible’ beauty that could not be detected by the eye, and that this was the basis of all experience of pleasure in the world.
These theories of pleasure were a precursor to those of the eighteenth-century empiricists, who treated beauty not as an effect but as a source. This view, which was influential in the English-speaking world, was influenced by John Locke’s distinction between primary and secondary qualities.
The modern concept of beauty is usually associated with the ‘natural’ or ‘pure’ kind of beauty, in contrast to the more idealistic and abstracted sort of beauty that the classical aesthetics is often associated with. The modern approach tends to de-emphasize moral or political beauty and to emphasize the ‘earthly’ kind of beauty, which is often found in nature, mathematics, and science.