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Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the Essence of Beauty

Question: What is the essence of Beauty....what is it?

Part of beauty is something that pleases us. It is impossible to be disgusted by something that one considers beautiful, however, that perception is somewhat subjective. There is however, also objective beauty. For example, studies show that "average" faces are beautiful, and that things that are geometrically symmetrical tend to be perceived as universally beautiful. This means that beauty is not only an extrinsic entity, but also an intrinsic perception that in some sense is universally built into us. Because of this, the perception of beauty does not come from us, but from something greater than us, or the one who created us.

God created us, and so all beauty inevitably comes from him in some fashion. In fact, God is the Form of Beauty, or the most beautiful being in existence. This comes from his perfection, for that which is perfect is necessarily likewise beautiful. Therefore, all beauty is in fact participation in God, Perfection, and thus Holiness. That which is Holy is Beautiful.

This causes us to make the distinction between physical beauty and spiritual. Physical beauty is beauty observed with the senses, primarily by sight, but also through sound in the form of music. Spiritual beauty is the degree to which a person is in communion with God. This perhaps is a kind of distinction between perfection in the physical sense and perfection in the spiritual sense which can be defined more specifically as holiness. A person can have great physical beauty but hardly any spiritual beauty (holiness), and vice-versa.

Therefore, the essence of beauty is that which reflects some form of God, either physically or spiritually, through perfection (physically) and holiness (spiritually).

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