Beauty in Modern Society
“Beauty surrounds us, yet we can seldom see it”. This beautiful statement from a famous French author reminds us how important beauty is. Beauty is most commonly defined as an aesthetic quality of certain objects, which makes those objects pleasurable to view. These objects could be nature, humans, landscapes and works of art. Beauty, along with taste and art, is the most important topic of aesthetics, another of the big branches of psychology.
The twentieth century art movement in the Western world sought to define beauty through a number of complex psychological theories. According to some theories beauty is primarily an attitude of the self-consciousness of the beholder, a quality of the object chosen for its own qualities and not for its compatibility with the person who holds it or the part of the world that the object belongs to. In this line of thoughts, beauty is a subjective state, an emotional state produced by the reactions of the individual who beholds the object or the particular body part represented by the object.
According to some more modern theories, beauty exists as the inner being of the object itself. Beauty exists deep within the psyche, and it is this very depth of personal experience which determines the level of beauty which a thing can attain, a level which may only be reached by making a personal judgment of beauty and basing such judgment on personal criteria of beauty. In this line of thinking, beauty is a state of harmony existing between the soul and the physical body, and only an aesthetic knowledge of such a state can make the beholder beautiful. According to this school of thought, beauty depends on the individual judgment of beauty and the emotional response to beauty. According to the second school of thought, beauty is nothing but a judgment, which could also be a subjective one, formed by the individual’s personal standards of beauty.