Why We See Beauty

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright March 2019


Seeing beauty is a wondrous feeling.

Outside of it making us feel good, why do we have it? Dig a bit and there is a practical reason for having this style of instinctive thinking.

Practical Purpose

The practical purpose of seeing beauty is to signal that someone, or something, is to be cooperated with -- they are to be helped. This signaling cooperation is why children are beautiful. This is why young women are beautiful, especially skinny ones. These are people who can use a good bit of help. This need for help explains why women can look so dramatically different on the beauty scale.

If a woman is older and stockier then it seems that they have been successful, and they don't need much additional help. If they are successful, with a good diet and lots of older children that are helpers, then they are doing fine... just fine. This is why older and stockier aren't beautiful looking. Compare the older, stockier-looking woman's situation to that of a young woman who has a young child or two and looks as if the group hasn't had many decent meals in quite a while. This is a group that looks like it can use some help, and it is a group that also looks beautiful.

Beyond Practical

Seen in this context beauty started a practical signal. It was a signal that someone can be helped by the cooperation being given by the person seeing the beauty. This signaling that cooperation will be helpful was the root purpose of seeing beauty in life. It has evolved from that original purpose into what we have today.

This having an instinct evolve into something much more extensive is common -- beauty is far from the only instinct to go through such an evolution. Balance has become gymnastics and ballet, appetite has become culinary delights, and language has become teaching and story telling.



--The End--