PDA

View Full Version : Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.



Grace Seeker
07-20-2010, 09:33 PM
Is beauty subjective or objective? It seems that some things are universally held by people to be beautiful: sunsets, babies, a fresh fallen snow. But on closer investigation I find that there are exceptions to each of those cases, people who don't find those things (or at least not all of them) to be beautiful. So, it got me to wondering about the saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Is it true of false. Is beauty something that its presence or absence thereof is dependent on the person making the observation, so that there is no such thing as an absolute with regard to beauty. Or is there an absolute against which other things must be compared to see if they measure up to being beautiful?

What do you think? Is it true or not: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."


(Clarification: This is NOT a thread about physical attractiveness, but more of a philosophical question.)
Reply

Login/Register to hide ads. Scroll down for more posts
aamirsaab
07-20-2010, 09:46 PM
There are certain physical features that are in all societies regarded as beautiful. Most common is women's hair, where the richer, healthier looking hair ("because you're worth it" - yeah because I made that joke, no one else can. Ok?!) is deemed beautiful. Another common factor is body mass: broad wedge shaped for men and an hourglass figure for women (which is not a size zero, weirdos!) are typically regarded as beautiful.

This is only the physical appearance however and thus only half of the calculation. The ''inside'' such as personality, are they charitable, sense of humour etc is also important; no use looking like the epitome of physical pefection if you behave like a complete and utter douche.

These aren't be all and end all, just most common factors. Like most things in life, it's not a black and white matter i.e. there are cases of beauty being in the eye of the beholder.
Reply

Sister Unknown
07-20-2010, 10:30 PM
What? Bro, I thind these topics reasons to why Muslim women cover or why should women cover. Sorry if I misinterpreted. however, we cover because it is a command in the Qur'aan and we follow those commands. Oh, and when Allah commands, we do not question, we just follow (submit)-is my reply to the folks.
Reply

cat eyes
07-20-2010, 10:31 PM
yeh human beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this is plainly obvious. it is only the society that might have brainwashed a lot of people in to thinking this is untrue though

because of what they see on t.v and magazines etc.
Reply

Welcome, Guest!
Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up
Banu_Hashim
07-20-2010, 10:33 PM
There's been some research done on this issue where a series of faces were shown to some volunteers and those same volunteers rated them according to attractiveness. There was some correlation between what individuals found attractive, but not an ovehwelming correlation. So in conclusion, a lot of people do find the same things attractive, but specific people are attracted to specific people for a whole host of reasons, physical attractiveness being only one factor.
Reply

Grace Seeker
07-20-2010, 10:35 PM
Of course this thread is not about human beauty per se, but about the concept of beauty. It might be a person. It might also be, as in my original examples, a sunset, a snowfall, or even something that cannot even been seen with the eyes, like for instance freedom. All of these things have also been called beautiful at one time or another. Is the nature of their beauty subjective or objective? Is it an absolute that they are beautiful, or is the truth of their beauty only found in the experience of the one observing them to be beautiful?
Reply

Sister Unknown
07-20-2010, 10:40 PM
Originally Posted by Banu_Hashim
There's been some research done on this issue where a series of faces were shown to some volunteers and those same volunteers rated them according to attractiveness. There was some correlation between what individuals found attractive, but not an ovehwelming correlation. So in conclusion, a lot of people do find the same things attractive, but specific people are attracted to specific people for a whole host of reasons, physical attractiveness being only one factor.
JazzakAlalhu Khayr
Reply

Cabdullahi
07-20-2010, 10:47 PM
whats beauty

about 60 to 70 kilograms.....with the lower part of the body heavier, thats beauty!

grace can back me up on that one
Reply

Banu_Hashim
07-20-2010, 10:52 PM
Originally Posted by Abdullahii
whats beauty

about 60 to 70 kilograms.....with the lower part of the body heavier, thats beauty!

grace can back me up on that one
Lol, typical somali outlook on beauty :p
Reply

Cabdullahi
07-20-2010, 10:59 PM
Originally Posted by Banu_Hashim
Lol, typical somali outlook on beauty :p
not only somali men but sudanese and mauritanian men too :)
Reply

cat eyes
07-20-2010, 11:06 PM
deleted**********
Reply

Rhubarb Tart
07-20-2010, 11:12 PM
Originally Posted by Abdullahii
not only somali men but sudanese and mauritanian men too :)
Make that all African men...:p
Reply

Suzeteo
07-20-2010, 11:16 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
Is beauty subjective or objective? It seems that some things are universally held by people to be beautiful: sunsets, babies, a fresh fallen snow. But on closer investigation I find that there are exceptions to each of those cases, people who don't find those things (or at least not all of them) to be beautiful. So, it got me to wondering about the saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Is it true of false. Is beauty something that its presence or absence thereof is dependent on the person making the observation, so that there is no such thing as an absolute with regard to beauty. Or is there an absolute against which other things must be compared to see if they measure up to being beautiful?

What do you think? Is it true or not: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
Great thread. I seems to me that aesthetic realism goes hand in hand with moral realism - for every argument for/against aesthetic realism there is a corresponding argument for/against moral realism. Can you think of an argument against the objectivity of aesthetic values that doesn't also work as an argument against the objectivity of moral values?

It also seems to me that statements like "Sunsets are beautiful." are more obviously true than the premises of any argument against aesthetic realism. Also, on theism, the universe is the Great Artist's Masterpiece - "The heavens declare the glory of God." To say that "Sunsets are beautiful." is not a proposition is coming fairly close to blasphemy!

For me, the really interesting question is how such different objects (sunsets, art, music, people, mathematical theorems? God?) can all share this property "beauty"?
Reply

Sister Unknown
07-20-2010, 11:18 PM
oK GUYS. A sincere advice, we shouldn't be speaking of waht we like in women, or men. Why? Well, we should preserve our hayya (shyness). No offense has been intended.

Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).

(Surah Qaf-18)

"Do not talk, listen or do anything vain" (23:3, 28:55)


Plus, speaking of these things is like thinking about it which may be some form of temptaion.

Allah knows best
Reply

Asiyah3
07-20-2010, 11:37 PM
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Something beautiful can be seen as ugly and something ugly as beautiful. While today skinny women are seen attractive, my grandmother told me that in the past overweight women were preferred in the area she lived in. History of art is a good example as well.

I think there's common features which the majority of people find beautiful. I believe this comes from the natural inclination of mankind, Fitrah.
Reply

~Raindrop~
07-21-2010, 12:29 AM
'Beauty is in the eye of weak minds held captive.'

Something I read in a proverb book years ago lol
Reply

cat eyes
07-21-2010, 12:58 AM
Originally Posted by Sister Unknown
oK GUYS. A sincere advice, we shouldn't be speaking of waht we like in women, or men. Why? Well, we should preserve our hayya (shyness). No offense has been intended.

Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).

(Surah Qaf-18)

"Do not talk, listen or do anything vain" (23:3, 28:55)


Plus, speaking of these things is like thinking about it which may be some form of temptaion.

Allah knows best
your right sister. mashallah.
Reply

Karl
07-21-2010, 01:04 AM
I see the natural world as beautiful and all the cities and man made stuff as junk and an abomination upon the Earth. A sand dune impresses me more than the finest building.
Reply

Sister Unknown
07-21-2010, 01:38 AM
Cat eyes, you have changed a lot since I have been away from this forum...
Reply

Sister Unknown
07-21-2010, 01:39 AM
You have much more humility..
Reply

Salahudeen
07-21-2010, 02:06 AM
^ Say Mashallah to bless the thing you see in your sister that pleases you. :statisfie
Reply

Sister Unknown
07-21-2010, 02:09 AM
MashAllah

JazzakALlahu KHayr
Reply

-Elle-
07-21-2010, 02:22 AM
I see the natural world as beautiful and all the cities and man made stuff as junk and an abomination upon the Earth. A sand dune impresses me more than the finest building
.
interesting view..

I think somewhat the same thing, a part from the fact that buildings are junk, since they have their uses (obviously). Though some might find them aesthetically pleasing (and I definitely find some too, I won't deny that), the beauty of nature is incomparable, sub7anAllah. No building will ever be able to "take my breath away", but nature scenes definitely do.

As for the original post, I chose the 1st one. Beauty in in the eye of the beholder, since we are all individual beings with different preferences ( I like the fact that you excluded physical attractiveness from your question, it makes it all the more interesting). You may see beauty in things which others may find dull or distasteful, like a poem or painting or something. As for nature, I might find a spider creepy and be frightened by it, while others may have it as a pet...they have a tender spot within for it, which, I think in some ways, requires you to see some "beauty" in it..or at least, view it in a different manner than I.
Reply

glo
07-21-2010, 06:10 AM
Thinking more about perceived beauty in general, I think it is in the eye of the beholder. The reason being that our emotional response (like/dislike) probably depends on what we associate with the given scenery/object/person ... and that depends on our life experiences or what we we taught or what we are used to ... etc

What I am saying is would survivors of the sinking of the Titanic have been able to find pictures of icebergs or the vast sea still beautiful? Or would their experience have marred that perception?

I remember snakelegs (a late forum member) always saying how she loved the desert. I could never relate to that (still can't). Mostly because I have never been to a desert but I have been taught to associate negative things with it - dryness, barrenness, colourless, danger ... etc
Snakelegs went to the desert quite often, and her own experience was very different - she found it vibrant and full of animal life (if you know where to look), but also peaceful and quiet.

Just some thoughts ...

P.S. I have to add that this applies to our human perception only. I believe that on a divine level everything has a very different beauty, and is possibly fixed. But I didn't think that was the kind of issue this thread was addressing ...
Reply

Grace Seeker
07-21-2010, 09:15 AM
Originally Posted by glo
P.S. I have to add that this applies to our human perception only. I believe that on a divine level everything has a very different beauty, and is possibly fixed. But I didn't think that was the kind of issue this thread was addressing ...
I'll go ahead and bite....

You said "everything". Are you suggesting that God would perceive beauty in hunger, povery, illness, death? Or are you saying that their beauty would fixed as either being or not being beautiful in absolute terms because God would not have any subjective experience of them?
Reply

Grace Seeker
07-21-2010, 09:17 AM
Originally Posted by Karl
I see the natural world as beautiful and all the cities and man made stuff as junk and an abomination upon the Earth. A sand dune impresses me more than the finest building.
I sort of do as well. Yet, I hear people talk about the Taj Mahal (a memorial for the dead) as being beautiful and swamps as ugly.
Reply

Grace Seeker
07-21-2010, 09:29 AM
Originally Posted by Suzeteo
Great thread. I seems to me that aesthetic realism goes hand in hand with moral realism - for every argument for/against aesthetic realism there is a corresponding argument for/against moral realism. Can you think of an argument against the objectivity of aesthetic values that doesn't also work as an argument against the objectivity of moral values?

It also seems to me that statements like "Sunsets are beautiful." are more obviously true than the premises of any argument against aesthetic realism. Also, on theism, the universe is the Great Artist's Masterpiece - "The heavens declare the glory of God." To say that "Sunsets are beautiful." is not a proposition is coming fairly close to blasphemy!

For me, the really interesting question is how such different objects (sunsets, art, music, people, mathematical theorems? God?) can all share this property "beauty"?

This is sort of what I was getting at in my original question. Thanks for posting!!

We call something beautiful and assume that other people, even if they don't agree with us that it is beautiful, will understand what we mean by beauty. But, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then perhaps they in fact have a totally different concept that comes to their mind when we say that something is beautiful? Don't we have to have a shared context in order to be sure we have the same concept of beauty? Or is our very humanness all that we need to have in common to know what each other means by the concept of beauty?

When someone reads a poem that is unfamiliar to me, tells me that it is beautiful and I should read it, how do I perceive and relate to its beauty prior to the time when I actually read it for myself? Is it even possible to do that until I have subjectively experienced it for myself? And if not, then are we not saying that there is no absolute beauty in the poem, but that it all depends on the subjective experience of the reader? If that is so for a poem that I have never read, how could a sunset be beautiful to a blindman? Despite your and my assertion that "Sunsets are beautiful." -- to the point for you that not saying so would come fairly close to blasphemy -- are they not something that still has to be subjectively experienced so that whatever beauty they may or maynot possess either does not exist or at least lays hidden until they are actually beheld. And thus it is only in the beholding of the sunset (poem, art, music, face), not in the abstract construction of them as a concept, that they possess any beauty at all?
Reply

Suzeteo
07-21-2010, 01:03 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
We call something beautiful and assume that other people, even if they don't agree with us that it is beautiful, will understand what we mean by beauty. But, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then perhaps they in fact have a totally different concept that comes to their mind when we say that something is beautiful?
That people have different understanding of what the word ‘beauty’ refers to (which is evident from the fact that a philosopher of aesthetics has a more developed understanding than that of a child) is also perfectly consistent with the objectivity of beauty itself (Beauty with a capital ‘B’). Words are malleable; reality is not. That people across cultures and throughout history have made aesthetic judgements (especially that people are able to disagree about them) is evidence that there is something of substance to aesthetic values. (There is a clear parallel here with moral values - C.S. Lewis makes similar points in Mere Christianity.) Of course it is perfectly possible that we are really talking about nothing, but the burden of proof is on the nihilist to demonstrate this without using words that can also be subjected to the same analysis.

Don't we have to have a shared context in order to be sure we have the same concept of beauty? Or is our very humanness all that we need to have in common to know what each other means by the concept of beauty?
As stated above, people do indeed have different understandings of what is to be meant by ‘beauty’. But not totally different; most, I think, will agree that beauty has something to do with the unity of the parts of an object and to the feeling of joy evoked by it, and perhaps there are other parts of a basic definition that could be included. Why this commonality of understanding exists is another question, of course.

When someone reads a poem that is unfamiliar to me, tells me that it is beautiful and I should read it, how do I perceive and relate to its beauty prior to the time when I actually read it for myself? Is it even possible to do that until I have subjectively experienced it for myself? And if not, then are we not saying that there is no absolute beauty in the poem, but that it all depends on the subjective experience of the reader? If that is so for a poem that I have never read, how could a sunset be beautiful to a blindman? Despite your and my assertion that "Sunsets are beautiful." -- to the point for you that not saying so would come fairly close to blasphemy -- are they not something that still has to be subjectively experienced so that whatever beauty they may or maynot possess either does not exist or at least lays hidden until they are actually beheld. And thus it is only in the beholding of the sunset (poem, art, music, face), not in the abstract construction of them as a concept, that they possess any beauty at all?
On realism, beauty is an intrinsic property of objects. You can’t experience the beauty of an object without experiencing the object itself – that is clear. But the beauty of an object is independent of whether anyone experiences that beauty or not (that is really the definition of objective). A blind man fails to experience the beauty of a sunset not because sunsets aren’t, in fact, beautiful, but because he is blind – unable to experience the sunset’s beauty. It is exactly the same as the fact that the existence of a man without any sensory perception whatsoever wouldn’t cast doubt on the objective reality of non-human objects.
Reply

glo
07-21-2010, 04:15 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
I'll go ahead and bite....

You said "everything". Are you suggesting that God would perceive beauty in hunger, povery, illness, death? Or are you saying that their beauty would fixed as either being or not being beautiful in absolute terms because God would not have any subjective experience of them?
Oh ... you got me there!

I was more thinking along the lines of God's created world - from sunsets and mountain ranges to caterpillars and mosquitoes ...
I would say all those things are good, and that God believes them to be so. Their beauty is determined by God's statement that 'is was good' - even of in our human eyes they aren't always.

As for hunger, poverty, illness, death, I cannot imagine that God would perceive those as good.

But what do you mean by God not subjectively experiencing them? That he has not experienced hunger, poverty, illness and death himself? I thought he had ...
Reply

Grace Seeker
07-24-2010, 01:14 AM
Originally Posted by glo
But what do you mean by God not subjectively experiencing them? That he has not experienced hunger, poverty, illness and death himself? I thought he had ...
And you got me there! haha

Obviously, I wasn't thinking incarnationally when I wrote that.
Reply

Grace Seeker
07-24-2010, 01:20 AM
Originally Posted by Suzeteo
That people have different understanding of what the word ‘beauty’ refers to (which is evident from the fact that a philosopher of aesthetics has a more developed understanding than that of a child) is also perfectly consistent with the objectivity of beauty itself ....

On realism, beauty is an intrinsic property of objects. You can’t experience the beauty of an object without experiencing the object itself – that is clear. But the beauty of an object is independent of whether anyone experiences that beauty or not (that is really the definition of objective). A blind man fails to experience the beauty of a sunset not because sunsets aren’t, in fact, beautiful, but because he is blind – unable to experience the sunset’s beauty. It is exactly the same as the fact that the existence of a man without any sensory perception whatsoever wouldn’t cast doubt on the objective reality of non-human objects.
You make some good points.

So, would your argument be consistent with the statement that BEAUTY is indeed as real and absolute in nature as say TRUTH? (Which presupposes that TRUTH exists in absolute form, I realize that some would deny that statement as well.)
Reply

cat eyes
07-24-2010, 01:38 AM
Originally Posted by Sister Unknown
Cat eyes, you have changed a lot since I have been away from this forum...
jazakAllah khayr i must admit i was wild when i first joined but ive since calmed down a little since then :D
Reply

Suzeteo
07-24-2010, 10:17 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
You make some good points.

So, would your argument be consistent with the statement that BEAUTY is indeed as real and absolute in nature as say TRUTH? (Which presupposes that TRUTH exists in absolute form, I realize that some would deny that statement as well.)
Truth and beauty are difficult ones to compare: truth is a property of propositions whereas beauty is a property of objects. So it follows that all combinations of objectivity/subjectivity with respect to beauty and truth are consistent (including mine). That is why I find the comparison of beauty and goodness more helpful, as they are both properties of concrete objects.

Ultimately, I find beauty to be objectively grounded in God's nature (and there is an important connection here with one of the comments I made previously...).

I have been surprised that most of the Muslims who have contributed have said that beauty is subjective (that may be due to confusion about the purpose of the thread). The Quran says (S. 7:180) that Allah's Names are beautiful - is this beauty to which is refers dependent on our opinions?
Reply

Grace Seeker
07-25-2010, 02:39 AM
At the risk of starting another "debate" (euphemism on these boards for argument), I would like to follow up on that last throught -- "I have been surprised that most of the Muslims who have contributed have said that beauty is subjective (that may be due to confusion about the purpose of the thread). The Quran says (S. 7:180) that Allah's Names are beautiful - is this beauty to which is refers dependent on our opinions?" In many other threads I have often seen Muslims express the view that the Qur'an is beautiful in its use of language. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, would it not be fair to say that a Muslim's view with regard to the beauty of the Qur'an is found in his/her perspective as a Muslim, and that one should not consider such a statement to be an objective truth, but a subjective one.

Note: the illustration is made simply because of how often I've heard such a statement regarding the Qur'an's beauty on these threads. I'm not arguing that those who see it this way are wrong, only questioning whether such a view can be said to be objective in nature. The same question could be put to any other group and in evaluating their own sacred texts. Debating whether the Qur'an (or any other text, sacred or secular) is or is not beautiful is beyond the scope of this thread. Debating whether such a statement is subjective or objective in nature is the question that would be relevant to this thread.
Reply

cat eyes
07-25-2010, 11:42 AM
[B]
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
At the risk of starting another "debate" (euphemism on these boards for argument), I would like to follow up on that last throught -- "I have been surprised that most of the Muslims who have contributed have said that beauty is subjective (that may be due to confusion about the purpose of the thread). The Quran says (S. 7:180) that Allah's Names are beautiful - is this beauty to which is refers dependent on our opinions?" In many other threads I have often seen Muslims express the view that the Qur'an is beautiful in its use of language. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, would it not be fair to say that a Muslim's view with regard to the beauty of the Qur'an is found in his/her perspective as a Muslim, and that one should not consider such a statement to be an objective truth, but a subjective one.

Note: the illustration is made simply because of how often I've heard such a statement regarding the Qur'an's beauty on these threads. I'm not arguing that those who see it this way are wrong, only questioning whether such a view can be said to be objective in nature. The same question could be put to any other group and in evaluating their own sacred texts. Debating whether the Qur'an (or any other text, sacred or secular) is or is not beautiful is beyond the scope of this thread. Debating whether such a statement is subjective or objective in nature is the question that would be relevant to this thread.
how can u compare the beauty of the holy Qur'an to what humans find attractive in other humans. the fact that no human can produce a book or even a surah the like of it

Makes it beautiful and unique because its from god.

but i think this is off topic so make a thread about it and explain your illogical dribble drabble there maybe lol
Reply

glo
07-26-2010, 06:43 AM
I don't think this thread is 'illogical dribble drabble'. I think it is a delightful opportunity for people to explore an issue together and share their thoughts - something, which I for one definitely enjoy. :statisfie

Grace Seeker, I am reminded of this verse: "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts."
I don't know if it relates to the topic of this thread, but perhaps the beauty of certain things (such a scripture) is etched into our hearts - and we all have the ability to see it, if only we open our hearts and see.

Certain beauty may indeed be divinely defined - but that doesn't mean that our human hearts and minds can perceive it.

(I'm not so sure I'm making sense myself now ... :hiding:)
Reply

Lynx
07-26-2010, 07:18 AM
Originally Posted by Suzeteo
Great thread. I seems to me that aesthetic realism goes hand in hand with moral realism - for every argument for/against aesthetic realism there is a corresponding argument for/against moral realism. Can you think of an argument against the objectivity of aesthetic values that doesn't also work as an argument against the objectivity of moral values?

It also seems to me that statements like "Sunsets are beautiful." are more obviously true than the premises of any argument against aesthetic realism. Also, on theism, the universe is the Great Artist's Masterpiece - "The heavens declare the glory of God." To say that "Sunsets are beautiful." is not a proposition is coming fairly close to blasphemy!

For me, the really interesting question is how such different objects (sunsets, art, music, people, mathematical theorems? God?) can all share this property "beauty"?
Though this may not be entirely related to the point you are making in your post, I read something interesting by Bertrand Russell. To paraphrase (I hope I am remembering this correctly), he was asked why he has the moral beliefs that he does and not others, and he responded by saying that this is like asking why blue is his favourite colour .
Reply

Suzeteo
07-26-2010, 08:05 AM
Originally Posted by Lynx
Though this may not be entirely related to the point you are making in your post, I read something interesting by Bertrand Russell. To paraphrase (I hope I am remembering this correctly), he was asked why he has the moral beliefs that he does and not others, and he responded by saying that this is like asking why blue is his favourite colour .
The Copleston-Russell debate by any chance?

__________

Copleston: Yes, but what's your justification for distinguishing between good and bad or how do you view the distinction between them?

Russell: I don't have any justification any more than I have when I distinguish between blue and yellow. What is my justification for distinguishing between blue and yellow? I can see they are different.

C: Well, that is an excellent justification, I agree. You distinguish blue and yellow by seeing them, so you distinguish good and bad by what faculty?

R: By my feelings.

C: By your feelings. Well, that's what I was asking. You think that good and evil have reference simply to feeling?

R: Well, why does one type of object look yellow and another look blue? I can more or less give an answer to that thanks to the physicists, and as to why I think one sort of thing good and another evil, probably there is an answer of the same sort, but it hasn't been gone into in the same way and I couldn't give it [to] you.
__________
Reply

Suzeteo
07-26-2010, 08:17 AM
Originally Posted by cat eyes
how can u compare the beauty of the holy Qur'an to what humans find attractive in other humans. the fact that no human can produce a book or even a surah the like of it

Makes it beautiful and unique because its from god.
Aren't humans also from God?
Reply

Grace Seeker
08-04-2010, 03:07 AM
Originally Posted by cat eyes
[B]

how can u compare the beauty of the holy Qur'an to what humans find attractive in other humans.
I'm not comparing the Qur'an to things like eyes, hair, body shape, nice smile, inviting laugh, pleasant personality, or any other personal trait. But I am willing to use the same concepts with regard to whether or not beauty is subjective vs objective and apply the idea to the Qur'an equally with any other item that we might claim as being beautiful.

How? Why? Precisely because beauty is (at least according to most of us) in the eye of the beholder. Simply put, I don't see the same beauty in the Qur'an that you don't. Doesn't mean that it isn't beautiful, at least to you, but it doesn't present itself to me in the same way that you see it.
Reply

Grace Seeker
08-04-2010, 03:21 AM
Originally Posted by glo
Certain beauty may indeed be divinely defined - but that doesn't mean that our human hearts and minds can perceive it.

[I](I'm not so sure I'm making sense myself now ... :hiding:)
Yes, you are clear, and Suzeto made some good points along the way. I'm just not sure I agree with either of you on that point yet. Truth seems to me to be objective and absolute, as such one might conclude that God is the ultimate determiner of what is and is not true. But beauty still strikes me, even despite some good arguments otherwise, to be something that is subjective to the person doing the observing. For instance, I'm not yet convinced that there is an absolute beauty against which other things can be measured. And for beauty to not be subjective, it seems that such a standard must first exist. The closest we get to that in scripture is Psalm 50:2, "From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." But, I don't think this quite meets the criterian of establishing an absolute standard of beauty. Closer is the argument that there seems to be general agreement that most people share that such and such a look is beautiful. But the problem is that the phrase is "general" agreement and "most" people share. It isn't universal. And so, the concept of beauty seem, at least to me, to remain relative to the observer's value as to what is and is not beautiful.
Reply

Suzeteo
08-04-2010, 07:16 AM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
For instance, I'm not yet convinced that there is an absolute beauty against which other things can be measured. And for beauty to not be subjective, it seems that such a standard must first exist. The closest we get to that in scripture is Psalm 50:2, "From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth." But, I don't think this quite meets the criterian of establishing an absolute standard of beauty.
How about the absolute standard being the perfect unity in love of Father, Son and Spirit?

Closer is the argument that there seems to be general agreement that most people share that such and such a look is beautiful. But the problem is that the phrase is "general" agreement and "most" people share. It isn't universal. And so, the concept of beauty seem, at least to me, to remain relative to the observer's value as to what is and is not beautiful.
Doesn't the same argument apply to morality? Do you think morality is objective (I'm assuming so) and why?
Reply

Grace Seeker
08-04-2010, 07:34 AM
Originally Posted by Suzeteo
Doesn't the same argument apply to morality? Do you think morality is objective (I'm assuming so) and why?
I suppose that I think that morality is objective because God has given us a set of commands articulating "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not", thus regulating behavior in away that does not ask for us to evaluate it to determine if it is or is not moral, but simply assert that this is the way it should be. So, morality is defined as that which is in accord with God's design.

But beauty is something that God leaves for us to recognize. When we say that we prefer doing our own thing to what God has chosen for us, that is called sin. But I don't sense that God calls it sin when we say that we prefer the Beatles to Strauss? Rather, it seems that God allows us such preferences.

Of course, you could argue that God also allows us preferences in terms of behaviors. One person might like to swim and another to skateboard, neither of which would be classified as a sin. (I'm making your argument for you.) And so there is a difference in talking about preferences within a given boundary and looking outside of that boundary and declaring that something like poverty or disease (which may not in and of themselves be sinful) were beautiful and still try to assert that such a statement was in accord with God's value system or wasn't actually in a larger sense an act of blasphemy directed against God.

You're stretching me, Suzeteo, and making this a much deeper question than I originally thought. :)
Reply

Sarada
08-22-2010, 09:10 PM
deleted by author. comment not applicable
Reply

ابن آل مرة
08-22-2010, 09:19 PM
Beauty is a strange quality, it sometimes deceives us and sometimes leaves us in awe.
Reply

IbnAbdulHakim
08-22-2010, 11:32 PM
philosophy is just so messy


I think occurrences which happen in the time of a persons life cause that certain thing to be beautiful or ugly. For example a person may find someone beautiful until cheated on by them.


or a person may love a certain thing until a disaster occurs which is caused BY that thing.

just my thoughts
Reply

Sarada
08-23-2010, 02:05 AM
"A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink."

John Keats



Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder (subjective). I have in my possession a million year old ammonite fossil. To me, it is most beautiful, but most people that I know do not share my attraction to this little brown object. But I see its many miraculous intricasies: to me it is beautiful to behold. Truth, with a capital T, on the other hand by definition must be absolute (objective). Although our perception of the truth is often subjective.
Reply

Woodrow
08-23-2010, 03:45 AM
This actually turned out to be quite complex to me. I tend to go along with Hospers Theory of Aesthetic Attitude in that to see beauty can be learned, in regards to how a person develops an attitude about Beauty. It is the ability to view and appreciate an object with no desire or need to possess it. This means the concept of physical beauty is in the attitude and concepts of the beholder. That works fine in terms of the physical world for the Beauty of physical objects.

Now it is not quite so clear in terms of the intangible such as:

Honesty
Love
Dedication
Generosity
Etc.

This initially seem like they are absolute beauty in there very nature and as such can be said to be Absolute. Yet if we look at different peoples attitudes about these things no everybody sees them as Beauty for example a Greedy person would see generosity as being foolish, and ugly concept that causes lose of wealth.

Let us now think of Beauty as being a form of communication. Communication requires 3 things a message, a sender and a receiver. The sender has to send the message exactly as it is, the receiver has to understand it exactly as it was sent. Without this 3 things or if one is faulty, there is no communication. So it is with Beaty, it is sent hopefully clearly, but if the receiver does not receive it intact or has faulty reception it wii not be seen properly. So for Beauty to be seen it is in the concepts (eyes) of the Beholder.
Reply

Grace Seeker
08-24-2010, 06:56 AM
Originally Posted by Woodrow
Let us now think of Beauty as being a form of communication. Communication requires 3 things a message, a sender and a receiver. The sender has to send the message exactly as it is, the receiver has to understand it exactly as it was sent. Without this 3 things or if one is faulty, there is no communication. So it is with Beaty, it is sent hopefully clearly, but if the receiver does not receive it intact or has faulty reception it wii not be seen properly. So for Beauty to be seen it is in the concepts (eyes) of the Beholder.
I suspect this is why I abhore the sort of statement found in forums everywhere...., "In my last post, I have clearly shown/proven ___________." What one person thinks is clear, is as clear as mud to others. What one person thinks is proven, is still disputed by others. Most of said claims appear to me to be just another case of "eye of the beholder" scenario. For example, I just left a thread in another forum where people with different political perspectives were discussing the administration's health care plan. You would be right if you guessed that their "clear" analyses were less than obvious to one another. It is little wonder that many of our own threads in this forum similarly bog down when we try to prove our divergent views with regard to God and other aspects of religion to one another.
Reply

Woodrow
08-24-2010, 12:11 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
I suspect this is why I abhore the sort of statement found in forums everywhere...., "In my last post, I have clearly shown/proven ___________." What one person thinks is clear, is as clear as mud to others. What one person thinks is proven, is still disputed by others. Most of said claims appear to me to be just another case of "eye of the beholder" scenario. For example, I just left a thread in another forum where people with different political perspectives were discussing the administration's health care plan. You would be right if you guessed that their "clear" analyses were less than obvious to one another. It is little wonder that many of our own threads in this forum similarly bog down when we try to prove our divergent views with regard to God and other aspects of religion to one another.
Peace Gene,

I agree with you here. What is self evident to one person is not necessarily self evident to another. Part of understanding comes from recognizing that what we say will often mean something different to another person and not be as obvious as we think it is.

Human communication is very complex and we do get into disagreements when we fail to see that none of us see through the same set of eyes.
Reply

Woodrow
08-24-2010, 12:11 PM
Originally Posted by Grace Seeker
I suspect this is why I abhore the sort of statement found in forums everywhere...., "In my last post, I have clearly shown/proven ___________." What one person thinks is clear, is as clear as mud to others. What one person thinks is proven, is still disputed by others. Most of said claims appear to me to be just another case of "eye of the beholder" scenario. For example, I just left a thread in another forum where people with different political perspectives were discussing the administration's health care plan. You would be right if you guessed that their "clear" analyses were less than obvious to one another. It is little wonder that many of our own threads in this forum similarly bog down when we try to prove our divergent views with regard to God and other aspects of religion to one another.
Peace Gene,

I agree with you here. What is self evident to one person is not necessarily self evident to another. Part of understanding comes from recognizing that what we say will often mean something different to another person and not be as obvious as we think it is.

Human communication is very complex and we do get into disagreements when we fail to see that none of us see through the same set of eyes.
Reply

Hey there! Looks like you're enjoying the discussion, but you're not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, you can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts and make new friends.
Sign Up

IslamicBoard

Experience a richer experience on our mobile app!