Does beauty matter? Very much so! But why does it matter? What does beauty do for us? For that matter, what is beauty? Bryan Baise—Saving Elephant’s first out-of-state guest to make a repeat appearance of the podcast—joins host Josh Lewis to attempt to untangle why beauty matters.
How we think about beauty can impact how we think about nearly everything. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that, for something to be beautiful, it must have integrity, proportionality, and brightness, clarity, and texture. Beauty was portrayed by classical and Christian thinkers as something that involved both the intellectual and moral parts of humanity. But in modern times people began to question this notion of beauty. They began to ask why beauty might do for them, and originality and utility became more important than mere beauty in the arts.
In focusing on originality, art became unoriginal in that all it had left to say was that some people like looking at some things and other people like looking at other things and that, in the end, nothing really matters. In focusing on utility, art became useful but void of the beauty that enriches lives. When everything has to have a use we lose the ability to look outside of ourselves because we’re always asking “what’s in it for me?”.
Bryan Baise is a professor of philosophy and apologetics at Boyce College. Bryan is the program director of philosophy, politics, and economics and the program director of the Christian worldview and apologetics. Bryan is currently working on two book proposals, one about beauty and another about introducing the conservative worldview to a non-academic audience.
Be sure and check out Andrew Snyder’s blog Josh mentions in the conversation and his post The Reality of Beauty, which argues that beauty can better portray reality than even material objects.