Is beauty objective?

  • #26
beauty is an opinon that has been greatly influnced. i remeber a poem about a man who found beauty in the eye's of a skunk. he gave them to his wife, and it ends there. we can imagine that he could not influnce her belif that skunks are pretty, so he sleeped on the couch. overall, it is a matter of opinon and also is a way of seeing how healthy you are, and how well of a child raier/gurdian of your children they i will be. there is a reson the nerd is not attractive.
 
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  • #27
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Have any of you guys read the book "Why Beauty is Truth" by the mathematician Ian Stewart? It's subtitled "A History of Symmetry" and it traces the historical development of mathematical ideas of symmetry - which is very interesting in and of itself - but also addresses the question of why many thinkers - Physicists in particular - feel drawn to "beautiful" equations, even going so far as to use beauty as a measure of the "correctness" of a result (like the Einstein equation cited in an earlier post).

I find it compelling, and always have. For a long time I've believed that the idea of mathematical beauty has to do with the simplicity with which complex ideas can be stated, once we have developed our understanding to a point where we can do so - often as a result of discovering symmetries, as Stewart suggests.

My favorite example is the Maxwell Equations of classical E&M. When Maxwell first wrote them down, he wrote eight equations, three each for the components of the E and B fields, and one each for what we know as the scalar equations. Once we developed an understanding of vectors, we reduced these to the four equations (two vector and two scalar) that we learn in elementary Physics, but the notion of vector spaces requires an awareness of rotational symmetry. Later we get the relativistically covariant form of the equations, which allows them to be reduced to two equations in 4-d spacetime, thanks to our awareness of the Lorentz symmetry. Finally, if we take advantage of gauge symmetry we can even summarize the original eight equations by one very simple equation (plus a definition of the E&M fields in term of the potential field).

The point is that the equations become simpler, more concise, and to most eyes more beautiful, as we understand more of the symmetries that underlie the Physics. It is that understanding that allows us to consolidate previously distinct quantities into single entities (e.g. the single E/M field vs. separate but related fields).

I believe that we are drawn to beauty in our mathematical descriptions precisely because greater beauty comes from deeper understanding.
 
  • #28
Beautiful thread. :)

...greater beauty comes from deeper understanding.
This is almost exactly my comprehension of what word "beauty" represents, to which I came via my personal experience with "something" I call "Ultimate Beingness" or "Ultimate Beautifulness".


I'd put it this way "The more one is aware the more beauty one experiences."

Greater awareness gives rise to greater mental understandings and deeper feeling of universal love (love for self and for all that which exists).

And yes, awareness & understanding is a two way street, the more we learn and the more we let ourselves feel the connection with everything, the more aware we become.

Knowledge is stored in our brains, while awareness is a property of our soul, as is feeling of universal love.

Existence just seems to be a of a dualistic nature ala what Yin-Yang symbol represents, in most fundamental sense Yin-Yang is Awareness and Love, but ultimately it's a single thing, it's Aware-Love. The dualistic nature appears due to various states of awareness. In Ultimate Awareness all becomes One, while in relative and limited awareness all-present love is experienced by limitations of own unique perception.



And to answer the main question: "Is beauty objective?", I'd say:

Beauty is objective (temporarily absolute) to one perceiving it, while it can be subjective (relative) when that experience is shared with others. Again, beauty is directly related to awarenes of one perceiving it.


Sorry, if this goes a bit away from the topic, but to truly understand "beauty", at least the way I do, I had to write all this.
 
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  • #29
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Beauty is objective (temporarily absolute) to one perceiving it
This statement is (to me) an oxymoron - but it depends on your definition of "absolute". As with so many things, definition of terms is critical to understanding.

One definition of absolute (there are many to choose from) is, for example : "independent of arbitrary standards of measurement"

If something is absolute, then (by the above definition of absolute) it is independent of an arbitrary perspective/reference point.

In contrast, if something depends on an arbitrary perspective/reference point (as in your example - ie "to one perceiving it"), then it cannot (by definition) be absolute.
 
  • #30
You are right - word "absolute" is a "difficult" one, and I did try to be careful on how I use it...

As I said, perception of beauty is absolute to the perceiver (to current state of awareness/understandings/feelings), not absolute in the universal way. (You'll see bellow why I don't agree with "your" definition of word absolute.)

Also, note that I used term "temporarily absolute", with which I meant that even if it's absolute to the perceiver at the moment, in some other moment it might be different, since awareness is not fixed, but kinda slightly fluid. Well, I think awareness alone doesn't change much in a short period of time, but perception of one depends way more than just on current personal (soul's) awareness, it also depends on current state of body (and we know how many things can affect our health and beingness, be it of internal or external origin) and brains (mainly personal thinking capacity & quality, and personal ability in how well we memorize things).

Note also, that none can truly/absolutely prove anything to anyone. We cannot even prove our own very existence to anyone else except to ourselves, and ultimately, it's not proving which matters, but how we "feel" about it. In this sense we could say that...

Our very existence is absolute to us, but relative to others.

I don't think that anything can be "independent of arbitrary standards of measurement", which was shown even in Physic, if I recall correctly, e.g. the one who's just observing the experiment affects the experiment itself (if it's true on quantum level it's also true on any level, even though we might not notice it).

So, nothing in real life is truly/absolutely objective, but always subjective.
 
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  • #31
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none can truly/absolutely prove anything to anyone.
Proof is proof. Absence of proof is absence of proof. To add the adjective "absolute" to the word proof does not add anything in terms of meaning. Unless you could elaborate the difference between "proof" (simpliciter) and "proof absolute"?

Our very existence is absolute to us, but relative to others.
All I can say in reply is that you would seem to have a very "relative" definition of absolute, which is peculiar to yourself.

If our existence is "absolute" to us BUT relative to others, then this simply makes our existence relative (ie it depends on one's perspective). To say that our existence is "absolute" but only under particular conditions implies a rather strange meaning for the word "absolute".

Could you perhaps define what you mean precisely by the term "absolute", since it seems you disagree with my suggested definition?
 
  • #32
Proof is proof. Absence of proof is absence of proof. To add the adjective "absolute" to the word proof does not add anything in terms of meaning. Unless you could elaborate the difference between "proof" (simpliciter) and "proof absolute"?
"Absolute proof" would be describing something which is fundamentally, ultimately and always true in all possible dimensions and realms.

"Proof" describes something which works WITHIN observed realm, not necessarily in others. (Even our own reality is too strange to comprehend with common sense, for example, on quantum level time can go backwards, things do stuff which is impossible in our "normal" level of perceived reality.)

E.g. All I absolutely know is statement "I am", all else could be speculation, and dependent on my awareness, my physical senses and my mental abilities. Do you exist too? Well, you surely seem to, yet, I cannot know with absolute certainty, or at least, with such degree of certainty as I know my own existence, since I'd have to be you too! Why? You might as well be a simulated object in a simulated Universe.


All I can say in reply is that you would seem to have a very "relative" definition of absolute, which is peculiar to yourself.
Well, nature of reality is peculiar ;)

Let me define words "relative" and "absolute" in regard of awareness, since all that matters in the end is being aware of things and self. Each of us is at certain state of awareness, which is what makes us unique in the first place, and secondly, our bodies and brains are very alike but also different in structure, thus, we are unique due that too. So, our current state of awareness is our "maximal" state of awareness, we CANNOT know more or better than that, so, in each moment of our life we do our "best" (of what we know, even if we lie it's still our "best"). Thus, we are "absolute" to ourselves and whole of existence due to our current "maximal" state of awareness. And at the same time we are "relative" to others, because others are in different states of awareness and knowingness. Nevertheless, our own "absoluteness" can still change with changes of awareness, our old absoluteness becomes relative to our current new absoluteness.

I know what I "want" to say, but I don't know how to say this better, so perhaps everyone could understand it. My knowledge is absolute to my current self (as is yours to current yourself), yet, it's relative to others!
 
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  • #33
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"Absolute proof" would be something which is fundamentally, ultimately and always true in all possible dimensions and states of existence.

"Proof" would be something which works WITHIN observed realm, not necessarily in others.
A proof is a demonstration that a particular argument is valid.

All arguments have premises. What you call an "observed realm" is presumably one of these premises?

Demonstrating the validity of an argument depends on the premises. As long as the premises remain unchanged a valid argument remains valid. Change the premises, and the argument may no longer be valid.

This applies to all "proofs". I don't see how one can have two different classes of proof as you suggest, one which works even when the premises are changed, and one which does not?

To illustrate what you mean, could you perhaps give examples of what you consider to be an "absolute proof" and a "non-absolute proof"?

Let me define words "relative" and "absolute" in regard of awareness, since all that matters in the end is being aware of things and self. Each of us is at certain state of awareness, which is what makes us unique in the first place, and secondly, our bodies and brains are very alike but also different in structure, thus, we are unique due that too. So, our current state of awareness is our "maximal" state of awareness, we CANNOT know more or better than that, so, in each moment of our existence we do our "best" (of what we know, even if we lie it's still our "best"). Thus, we are "absolute" to ourselves and whole of existence due to our current "maximal" state of awareness. And at the same time we are "relative" to others, because other in different states of awareness. Yet, our own "absoluteness" changes with changes of awareness.
As I said, this seems to be a peculiar use of the terms "absolute" and "relative". You are of course entitled to define your terms as you wish, but the rest of us then need to be very careful in trying to interpret what you say when using these terms.

My knowledge is absolute to my current self (as is yours to current yourself), yet, it's relative to others!
Which means (in my view of the world) that your knowledge is simply relative (subjective), with no "absolute" (objective) aspect about it at all. Your personal knowledge depends on your unique frame of reference - and that is just what relative means (to most people). It is the antithesis of absolute (the way that the word "absolute" is normally used by most people).
 
  • #34
Which means (in my view of the world) that your knowledge is simply relative (subjective), with no "absolute" (objective) aspect about it at all. Your personal knowledge depends on your unique frame of reference - and that is just what relative means (to most people). It is the antithesis of absolute (the way that the word "absolute" is normally used by most people).
"Exactly", none of us has any absolute answers/knowledge for others, we "just" have a lot of usable and valuable answers/knowledge. And the most important knowledge of them all is one gained through our personal experience of our existence and ourselves -- and that's absolute to each of us while it can be (and usually is) relative to others.

Will return to our discussion tomorrow. Have a great day!
 
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  • #35
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"Exactly", none of us has any absolute answers/knowledge for others, we "just" have a lot of usable and valuable answers/knowledge. And the most important knowledge of them all is one gained through our personal experience of our existence and ourselves -- and that's absolute to each of us while it can be (and usually is) relative to others.

Will return to our discussion tomorrow. Have a great day!
:yuck: "absolute to each of us" is once again an oxymoron - it's a phrase like "deafening silence".

"absolute to each of us" contains within itself the explicit reference to an arbitrary standard (ie what is being measured is being measured relative to myself) - which is the antithesis of absolute.

Of course you may use language however you wish - I am just trying to point out the incongruity of your expression when viewed according to the normally accepted meanings of the words you choose.
 
  • #36
Since we are living within space-time, then the way I use word absolute is accordance with that. (True absoluteness is not bond by space or time.)

Something can be absolute at certain period in time -- like, what we do is absolute to us, because that's exactly and the ONLY thing we know to do, until we change it, while at the same time it's relative to others, who can see it differently in that same period of time.



And let's not forget, I was using/describing words "absolute" and "relative" in regard of our state of beingness, which defiens perception of beauty.

There are countless states of beingness, from one which is not-aware to one which is ultimately aware. We as humans are somewhere in between. And, current state of beingness of each of us is absolute to our own state, yet relative to other states.

I'd appreciate if you wouldn't put so much focus on words but on that which I am conveying.

In short, in eyes of perceiver beauty is objective/absolute. Beaty doesn't exist without awareness of it.

Asking if beauty is objective is same as asking if awareness is objective. It's kinda silly question to ask, but if you have to ask, then yes, awareness cannot be not objective.
 
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  • #37
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I'd appreciate if you wouldn't put so much focus on words but on that which I am conveying.

In short, in eyes of perceiver beauty is objective/absolute.
[email protected], I understand you want me to pay attention to what you "mean" rather than what you "say" - but I cannot do that if you continue to use the wrong words in trying to convey what you "mean"....

If you think the words themselves are not so important (as you claim), then we can solve the problem immediately by you simply dropping your use of the word "absolute" in what you are trying to describe.

If something is "absolute" then it is, by definition, independent of an arbitrary standard of measurement. If something is judged "in the eyes of a perceiver", but the same thing may be judged differently by another perceiver, then by definition that thing is NOT absolute.

No matter how much you want to twist things around, you cannot make something absolute when it is not just to fit your personal preferences.

Sorry.
 
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