At the end of the last blog about patterns, I have written that beauty is mostly pattern recognizing. I want to share here my thoughts about beauty with a blog on its own. So that I have a bit more space for that.
Beauty is the reaction we get if we see something. If there is a positive emotion we describe it as beautiful. Well, not all positive emotions. They have to come from the pattern. If we have positive emotions about a geometric figure, nature, lyrics, music then this is beauty. Why do I describe it? You surely now what beauty is. But for me it is important to define it. This way it is easier to talk about it. So beauty is when we recognize a pattern and we have a positive emotion about it. Another example is a good design in a product. When we solve a problem with one concept and repetitively use it. Then for the people knowing that concept is your solution beautiful. Let’s make an example. An easy concept is the concept of card-houses. When you put two cards together they stand. Not very stable but they stand. Now if one builds only from this concept a huge sculpture then this is not only impressive. It is also a beautiful design of a sculpture. If we don’t use this concept. We use glue. Then it stays equally beautiful, when done right, but the design isn’t beautiful anymore. So using a pattern again and again brings beauty, when out of that a bigger pattern evolves.
Some people tell me as an argument for the existence of god, that — “God has a sense of beauty and he gave it to us. Beauty is not useful. It does not have a reason. Evolutionary there is no explanation for beauty. But god wanted that we sense this as he does.” — I disagree with that. There are multiple reasons why beauty is useful. I name some of them. (Besides: I don’t want to argue against god only against this argument.)
Art enriches communication. When one is able to picture a situation with beauty, such that we can feel the situation, then the beauty has done more that words could do. The saying: “A picture says more that 1000 words.” also says that. (An ugly picture doesn’t say more that 1000 words.) Through beauty we have more ways to communicate.
Beauty is good for the society. When we see the same things as beautiful we have an emotional connection through that thing. We respect people with the same sense for beauty.
The pleasing feeling when we have created something beautiful is very powerful. It helps us to look for patterns. We try to describe complex behaviors with simple rules, because if this description works it is beautiful. We look for simple explanations.
The drive in many people to find simple and elegant solutions to problems is so helpful that it is hard to say it is useless. When we look in nature and finde a amazing landscape, doesn’t it drive us to take care of the planet? Or take care of at least that landscape? Maybe you say that beauty does not only have good effects. But I can’t find much. Some could say: When one is trying to make something more beautiful than useful this is not good. They are perfectionists. This is correct. That this isn’t efficient but first I want to say that we have other things that drive us. We want maybe to be acknowledged for what we do. We have empathy. This list would go on and on and beauty is just one of them. We should have a good balance of most of this motivations. And an other argument about “beauty is not only useful” is: We are not perfect. Our desires are not purely good or bad. They are just here to help us to get through the day.
At the end I want to say: Beauty is maybe one of the most significant differences between us and animals. It always looks for an easier solution. It wants to tell stories. It wants to see the whole world and universe because there could be some beautiful places. It transfers emotions. Let us just appreciate that the concept of beauty is beautiful itself. So don’t take it for granted because animals don’t have it. But also don’t disgrace it as useless. Beauty is so much more.