Beauty – A Universal Human Quality


Beauty is a universal human quality that affects all cultures, time and places. It can be found in the music of Bach or the sculptures of Michaelangelo, and evokes feelings of pleasure and attraction that cannot be subdued by culture, tradition or social norms.

There are various approaches to or theories of beauty developed within Western philosophical and artistic traditions. A common Western conception is that beauty consists of an arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to proportion, harmony, symmetry and similar notions. This is a primordial Western conception of beauty that is embodied in classical and neo-classical architecture, sculpture, literature, and music wherever they appear.

The Classical Conception: This conception was first introduced in the Poetics by Aristotle (volume 2, 2322 [1450b34]) and has since been the basis of Western art, literature, and philosophy, as well as a large number of scientific disciplines. Aristotle’s account of beauty identifies three requirements for a work of art to be considered beautiful: integrity or perfection, due proportion or consonance, and clarity.

Aristotle’s view of beauty also ascribes less danger to it than Plato’s does, based on the idea that beauty does not depend on some abstract and ultimate Form of Beauty, but rather on an array of properties such as magnitude and ordered arrangement.

In addition to these criteria, he also ascribes aesthetic pleasure to beautiful works of art. He writes that “the most perfect and beautiful things are those which bring a resonant sensation of pleasure to the beholder” (Summa Theologica I, 39, 9).

Some philosophers, such as Santayana, have emphasized the objective nature of beauty. They define it as ‘objectified pleasure,’ whereby the judgment of something that it is beautiful responds to the fact that it induces a certain sort of pleasure; and then it is attributed to the object as though the object itself were having subjective states.

However, a number of other philosophers have argued that the subjective side of beauty is essential to its existence. For example, Thomas Aquinas wrote that “the first and greatest good is to make men happy.” He argues that the purpose of life is happiness (eudaimonia).

The subjectivist line suggests that the ability to perceive and judge beauty, sometimes referred to as the’sense of taste’, is a fundamental component of human consciousness and is shaped by experience and training. It is therefore the most accurate way to describe how we judge and define beauty.

Alan Moore and the Business Case for Beauty:

Similarly, the designer and business writer Alan Moore makes an interesting case for the importance of beauty in commercial design. He cites a company such as Patagonia as an example of a successful brand that has created a sense of purpose across the entire business and instilled it within all employees.

He points out that beauty is a powerful quality for a business to have because it attracts creative talent and encourages effective decision-making and leadership. It’s also a key ingredient in the creation of a workplace culture that promotes generosity, positivity and trust among staff, ultimately boosting employee morale and leading to better overall well-being.