Beauty and Politics


Beauty is a central topic in politics and aesthetics. It has become a matter of interest for social justice movements, but its political associations have been problematic. These associations have included race, gender and other aspects. However, these are not the only areas where the political association of beauty has been overlooked or ignored.

The concept of beauty has been explored in early philosophical works, from Aristotle to Plato. In classical philosophy, beauty is defined as a matter of proportions or relations among parts. Often, this is expressed in mathematical ratios.

In the twentieth century, many thinkers wrestled with what beauty is. They were concerned with how to reconcile the new age of war, genocide, and wastelands with the idea of beauty. Ultimately, they believed that beauty was not a real thing, but rather a phantasm of the mind.

David Hume, in Essays, Moral, Political and Literary (1758), defended beauty as a gentleness that is willing to allow variance, but still holds to the principle of good taste. He also argued that beauty has no higher status than entertainment.

Other philosophers have examined beauty in more abstract terms. For example, Aristotle wrote about the symmetry possessed by an object. He argued that symmetry is the beauty of parts towards one another. Moreover, the symmetry embodied in a line, for instance, is a symbol of order.

Another example is the mathematical equation, the golden ratio. This is a series of numbers that express a beautiful numerical pattern in the length of limbs of well-proportioned people. Interestingly, this pattern is often found in religious texts and in Islamic geometric designs.

In the context of art, the golden ratio is often regarded as a symbol of perfection. It is not merely a mathematical formula, but rather a reflection of God’s limitlessness. Some examples of the ‘golden ratio’ include the leaves on a plant stem, a well-proportioned human body, and a building that reflects the golden proportion.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, great art was sometimes dedicated to furnishing the homes of the wealthy. In this sense, beauty became a means to conceal the suffering of the wealthy. Modern art, on the other hand, became a saboteur and a means of sabotage.

In the twentieth century, the idea of beauty took a turn for the worse. Many artists were criticized for their use of “beautiful” techniques, and the arts became subject to sabotage and destruction. In addition, the notion of beauty itself, especially in the era of the industrial revolution, was trivialized, causing many artists to seek more urgent projects.

A modern definition of beauty includes the idea of “goodness”, which is defined as the state of being ordered. Goodness is an essential condition for beauty in aggregate. Thus, a car design must function as a car before superfluous features can be implemented.

The ancient treatments of beauty are often ecstatic in nature, paying homage to the pleasures of beauty. However, some ancient philosophers such as Plotinus have suggested that beauty is a matter of form.