2004/02/11

The power of beauty

!!!!!!
Very similar to what I wrote already a few times about in this blog.
"We experience the power of beauty when spiritual value and outward appearance seem inseparable, capturing a sense of what it means to be human in those rare moments of deepest satisfaction".

This commentary is by Elizabeth Sourbut, in the issue of the 14th of February 04 of "New Scientist" about the following book:

"The Secret Power of Beauty: Why happiness is in the eye of the beholder"
By John Armstrong
Publisher: Allen Lane/Penguin


MOST of us would claim to recognise a beautiful person or object when we see it. But we are often unable to explain why we find the object of our gaze so appealing. John Armstrong thinks this is a shame, so in The Secret Power of Beauty he sets out to examine the power that beauty holds over us, and to consider why it's able to touch our emotions. His clear and thoughtful analysis leads the reader confidently through art history and philosophy towards a humane and convincing set of answers.

Drawing on examples from art, architecture, literature and music Armstrong traces two historical approaches. One focuses on the outer, physical appearance of the object and looks for serpentine lines, perfect proportion or the fit between form and function. The other asks what it feels like to find something beautiful and considers the response of the beholder - perhaps spiritual or moral. He argues that the power of beauty lies in a combination of these two. We experience it when spiritual value and outward appearance seem inseparable, capturing a sense of what it means to be human in those rare moments of deepest satisfaction.

An appreciation of beauty deepens our enjoyment of life, and with his elegant and accessible style Armstrong encourages readers to seek beauty in everyday life, not just in high culture. Look around you. Is any of your furniture beautiful, or the view from your window, or the heart of your Valentine?

Elizabeth Sourbut



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