The only popular thought about beauty today, the one that has the widest currency in the world, is the idea that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. It’s a kindly notion. It seeks to make peace between people who have very different tastes.
People are delighted by wildly variant things and that’s how it should be, the thinking goes – so don’t get worked up trying to figure out which things are beautiful. Yet the success of this generous approach keeps attention away from deeper, more important questions.
Whether it is a Baroque Cathedral, the face of a child, or the coast of Sweden seen from a plane window, we have all had the mysterious experience of finding something beautiful. But what is actually going on when we find these things beautiful?
Aeon Magazine: Can beauty help us to become better people?)