"Beauty is Nature’s Fact"

— Emily Dickenson

What is beauty? Is it grace? Glamour? Or elegance? Is it mathematical? Or subjective? Is beauty something to observe rationally and measure objectively or is it something to experience emotionally and react to instinctively? Is ideal beauty a universal notion? Is it based on similar features or does it belie uniqueness? What is the relationship between youth and beauty?

Historical Perspective- The elusive nature of beauty has fascinated humans since the beginning of time. And there is evidence that in fact the attraction to beauty has been a constant over time. The ever changing concepts of beautiful form from ancient Greece to present time have challenged the values associated with how we register beauty and why we do. What is clear is that we in fact do register beauty from birth. The appreciation for the aesthetics form has prevailed through time. It is global in some form, even if cultural definitions vary, and timeless in nature even if the ideals have evolved.

In ancient Greece, beauty was associated with proportion and harmony, color and light. During renaissance, the mathematics of the beautiful ideal were examined. In modern times, Madison Avenue and fashion trends have been accused of propagating a fascination with beauty, and moreover define what beauty should be.

Evolutionary Force- But there is evidence that the appreciation of beauty is an instinctive human trait, that may in fact have had evolutionary advantages in propagating our human species. Furthermore, there is evidence that appreciation of proportions that impart beauty to living and inanimate objects alike, is hardwired in the human brain on some subconscious level. There is an underlying constant in what we fundamentally find beautiful in people and things!

Beauty in Youth-Today we still value beauty. Our respect for beauty, fascination with all things aesthetic, and attraction to youth are hard wired and not an imposed or purely learned behavior. There is particular beauty associated with youth which is undeniable, but there is also beauty in age that is often under-rated. I believe that our obsession with youth has in part to do with the relationship between youth and beauty, and the evolutionary benefits it conferred over generations in breeding and ensuring the survival of our kind.

Modern Beauty- My practical view of beauty is multifaceted, ageless, and empowering. It is the aesthetics and fitness of the body and that of the mind, and it is personal growth. Appearance is the first way we communicate with the world. Beautiful appearance makes a lasting impression when it conveys an inner sense of happiness, health, and confidence. We live in the age of vitality-the new youth. A 360 degree view of beauty inclusive of all aspects of well-being that impact the appearance is what is relevant to our times.