Beauty – A Universal Flaw

Beauty is often defined as a subjective aspect of objects which makes these objects enjoyable to see. Such objects may include sunsets, landscapes, human works of art and beautiful people. Beauty, along with personal taste and aesthetics, is perhaps the most important area of aesthetics, among the various branches of art history. However, beauty as such is not a sure-fire formula. It varies from person to person and even in objects within the same category. The only certainty in beauty, however, is that it exists in and for the observer, not for the beholder.


Some of the major categories of aesthetic beauty include bodily beauty, which concerns itself with physical attractiveness, including skin; hair; skin care; facial beauty; (which includes grooming), and facial health. The visual components of beauty include form, light, color, shape, and perspective. The most significant defining characteristic of beauty, according to the last century aesthetician Sigmund Freud, is the desire to be seen. According to this school of thought, beauty is the desire to be noticed, the desire displayed in the eye and the subconscious mind, so that we may be judged and rewarded according to our worth.

As defined by Freud, beauty is an inner, rather than an outer, state of psychological well-being. Beauty can thus be achieved through the proper integration of different psychological processes, including emotional bonding, cognitive therapy, self-confidence, and personal values. In psychological terms, beauty lies in the ability of objects, particularly human faces, to represent some desirable relation between the observer and the observed. This definition of beauty has long since been challenged by various interpretations, most notably by twentieth-century aestheticsians such as Sigmund Freud, who rejected the whole notion of beauty as something subjective, or “irrelevant”, and maintained instead that the idea of beauty corresponds to biological, neurological, emotional and psychological realities.