Beauty: A Very Human Experience

Beauty is nothing tangible, it only exists in our heads as a pleasant feeling. If we'd have to define it, we perceive something as beautiful if its color, shape, form, or proportion are somehow appealing to us.

Beauty is a very human experience that has been with us for millions of years: it seems that early humans shaped their tools into teardrops only because they liked them better that way, for example.

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Why Beautiful Things Make us Happy – Beauty Explained

Why Beautiful Things Make us Happy – Beauty Explained

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

Throughout history, the definition of beauty and beauty ideals have changed a lot. But there are some patterns that remained: the golden ratio, symmetry, or fractal patterns can be found in art and architecture from our beginning until today.

Beauty patterns that resisted in time come all from nature:

  • Fractal patterns: snail shells, flower heads, waves, or clouds. Identifying the patterns and assessing was vital for our survival: Do these clouds mean rain will come? is this water safe to swim in?
  • Symmetry: in nature, it means everything is as it should be. Because it is so common in nature, it is extremely familiar to our brain and it helped our ancestors identify danger.

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Our sense of beauty probably evolved from pattern recognition, but it goes beyond that now. 

Research shows that we have the lowest common denominator when it comes to beauty. We have a hard time pinning down what beauty is or what is based on, but we somehow recognize it when we see it.

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We left the natural world behind and created our own. We made the objects that surround us. And in doing so, we often neglected beauty in favor of functionality, cost, or efficiency.

But humans don't like monotony. Research shows that we keep focusing on details and ornaments in architecture while brushing quickly over black walls. They are no fun to look at and they actually make us miserable.

Surroundings that are aesthetically pleasing to us can improve our well-being, behavior, cognitive function, and mood.

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Studies that looked at the main factors influencing the happiness of adults revelead that besides things like good health in a harmonius family life, individual happiness is affected by how beautiful you find the city you live in

Beauty scored even higher than safety and cleanliness

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