We have touched upon the philosophical notion of aesthetics. Actually, the various other philosophical views are principally a different reciting of the same or similar ideas. We will now consider a scientific conception of aesthetics and beauty.
It is contended that we approach art through the needs, skills, and capacities of human organism. More specifically, what we need creates a desire on our part. Whatever satisfies that desire has a quality of beauty to us.
In other words, whatever is pleasurable is a kind of beauty, if by beauty we mean that which is harmonious. A sound may be beautiful. A color or from may be beautiful. Even a taste or feeling can be beautiful from the pleasurable point of view.
Psychology pursued further the question of whether beauty is totally subjective, that is, indwelling, or partly related to the physical properties within the object we call beautiful. In one scientific study, 4556 university students were subjected to a test.
Their preferences in colors were found to be in this order: BLUE, RED, VIOLET, GREEN, and ORANGE. This order of preference was found among students of different races and cultures. Why was this so? Science offered no explanation except that such preference was probably related to the human organism.
We can further surmise that this preference was due to man’s gradual evolutionary relationship to his environment. The colors which were preferred are the ones most commonly displayed in the various phenomena of nature which we experience.
Common examples are blue skies, red and violet sunsets, and green foliage. These are what men came to adopt as being in harmony with their feelings.
Further, tests have shown that extroverts tend to prefer vivid colors. This is perhaps due to the organism’s capacity to accommodate to different degrees of stimulus. An extrovert is more physically dynamic. He has a greater physical drive. Consequently, more vivid colors provide that stimulus to which he is accustomed.
On the other hand, the introvert responds to more subdue colors. The more vivid colors are over-stimulating to the introvert. He would not consider them beautiful, but rather harsh, or even irritating. Different colors produce certain moods. Consequently, some colors have been judged as angry, soothing, melancholic, warm, lively, and so forth.
Our own subconscious may produce images of beauty in our minds. We then try to find in nature those things which will correspond to these mental images. When we do, we say that they are beautiful. This behavior is technically called HYPNAGOGIC IMAGERY.
A person with such a quality may close his eyes and experience a whole new world of visual activity. Many artists are said to express a debt to this inner world of colors and form which they experience. Certainly the beauty of poetry is an objectification of the mental image of beauty had by the poet.
We can, therefore, make our world more beautiful. Or we can limit it to a few kinds of physical beauty. The search for beauty in the aesthetic category of life begins within us. It begins with the sensing and realization of the inner harmony and sensitivity of our own being.
It then consists in cultivating the more subtle sentiments we have. When we thrill to these more subtle sensations psychically in meditation, we then seek to objectify them. We desire to make matter, the physical world, assume an order, a form that will complement our inner feelings. When we do this, the aesthetic category of life is triumphant.
One of the Greek philosophers cited an example of this relationship of the world to the aesthetic self. He said that a sculptor begins with a block of marble. The sculptor then physically impresses upon it the ideal of beauty, the form, which he sees and feels within himself. The statue only becomes outwardly beautiful when it corresponds to the artist’s inner beauty.