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Beauty/Royal Geographic Society - Ed's journal
Beauty/Royal Geographic Society
Also on the radio this morning, was word of a debate this evening, about whether we, as in the population of the UK, no longer appreciate beauty. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-events/w-visits-quality_of_life_debates.htm

Anyway, the question they've put, is "Britain has become indifferent to beauty". I'm not sure where I weigh in on that particular debate, but it did get me thinking. What actually _is_ beauty? I mean, how do you decide that this is beautiful, and that is not?
I'd tend to draw a distinction between 'pretty' and 'beautiful'. Pretty is ... how something looks. Fairly easily defined, if still somewhat subjective. But generally you'd get some agreement on a notion of a particular thing (or for that matter a person) being pretty or not.

Beauty is something that's much harder to pin down though, as ... well, as Wikipedia would have it: "Beauty is a characteristic of a person, place, object, or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning, or satisfaction" - Quite literally, it's 'in the eye of the beholder', because it's not so much a question of what you see, but how it resonates within you. How it makes you feel, and how it inspires you.

So I think I'd weigh into their debate with this: That we may or may not have become indifferent to 'pretty', but beauty is as it's ever been - something that is so highly subjective, that it is impossible to be indifferent - because it you're indifferent to it, it's not beautiful.
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