I have always found the word ‘beauty’, a bit elusive. While surfing through the paintings at D’Orsay museum, Paris, the guide told us how the realist painters were denounced initially because they were not painting ‘perfect beauty’. That coaxed me to dive into what I really conceive as beauty. Though mostly, beauty is attributed to the visual experience, it is more a mental concept like most things around us, and is very subjective. And it does not have any defined absolutes, making it one of those things which can give a person unbounded pleasure.
But is there something called perfect beauty? There is mathematics of proportions and symmetry which can give us a guideline of what can look beautiful. The timeless paintings of the renaissance, the Taj Mahal, all represent a textbook example of beauty. You can look at them for hours and you will not be able to get your eyes off them. But their beauty is not just visual, the romantic story behind Taj Mahal transcends its beauty beyond the visual appeal and makes it a legendary monument as it stands now. This at least makes sure that the concept of beauty can be intellectual as well as visual. Then, can we categorize beauties? For this, I wanted to brainstorm on what all beautiful things I have seen in my life. But before that I wanted to take an initial guess of the outcome of categorization.
My first thoughts on the level of pleasure derived from beauty was that it will be divided between nature and human-related/created beauties and natural beauty will rule the division of beauty. But as I started pondering about it, the difference started appearing seamless. My prejudice was probably because of the fact that we, human beings, a lot of times, tend to forget that we are a part of nature and thus are capable of having just as magical powers as nature and can be the creators of beauty. Also, human beings have harmed so much nature that the guilt itself prohibits us to think that we can be creators as well. This revelation forced me to brainstorm more thoroughly..
A flash of memory moved in front of my eyes thinking about natural beauty. The snow clad mountain with the ice crystals hanging from pine trees, the sunshine illuminating the border of a huge snow mountain with its golden glow and the only thing you see is a miraculous white space, the bird’s eye view of the endless white space with the perfectly carved snowy slopes, the huge waterfall which feels every time you look at it as if it has been just unleashed and its eager to meet earth, the milk like water droplets gushing through the streams and wetting everything nearby, the array of colorful flowers which are like an endless flower carpet, the sea waves hitting the huge rock and flying in the air as if they want to go and catch some flavor of the place they have reached, the most pristine foggy dawns on a lush green mountain, the clear night sky illuminated by thousands of stars and enhanced by just that little bright shooting star, the ancient caves which seem as if they are representatives of generations of beauty packed in one place. All these sights have given me a sense of ethereal joy.
Thinking about human related beautiful things, I remembered a little child’s endless laughter, the moment of union of two long-lost friends, the moment of a mother saluting her martyr son, the fighting spirit of a patient with a terminal condition, the tears in the eyes of the loved once looking at beloved one’s achievements, the sports teams holding their hands together and singing national anthem. These moments created joy in the heart that was unmatchable too.
But how do you compare these two beauties or do you compare them at all?
The one difference that I came across in these beauties were that the visual/natural beauty brought a big smile on the face and the human moments brought tears. All the great places on earth on one side and a very human moment on one. That is how beautiful human spirit is. A visual beauty hits the senses first and then the heart, but some beauties just directly hit the heart…
Beauty is complex. But one thing is for sure, human beings have the ‘magic’ tool of beauty. And we can use this tool anywhere, anytime…