Theory and Criticism
Is beauty subjective or objective? Is it true that beauty lies in the eye of beholder or does it speak for itself?
Ahmed Ali
"What is aesthetic in Islamic architecture?"
Shiraz Allibhai
The Beauty of Beauty is that it can both speak to some while on rare occasions speak to all.
Elinor Taylor
India's Baroda University's Faculty of Fine Arts has in its logo, an old Sanskrit expression: "Satyam shivam sundaram." -- Truth is blissful and beautiful.

And the 2nd century Indian aesthetician has defined beauty as: "that which thoroughly absorbs the consciousness is beautiful."

It's an aesthetic juice that oozies out when perceiving something or being or thought or action from our cognitive consciousness in response. It is not produced as the outcome of the beauty contest, whether of the female human beings or the architectural designs. To our knowledge, there was no architectural design contest that brought about Taj Mahal or any of the many wonderful structures of the past, all over the world. Or, even the Golden Gate Bridge, for that matter.

It has nothing to do with the material of expression. All the competitive, comparative and award winning contests have produced nothing more than a contrived sense of form, which, without its wordy theoritical discription has no appeal, as it shows what motivated its creator, the hunger for name recognition as a prerequisite for money; therefore, it feels contrived.

Otherwise, "the peacock's egg has no design on it," as expresses a saying, suggesting that it comes from within. So, unless one feels beautiful, one can't do beautiful.
Shailesh Dave
Beauty is relative, it's perception changes from person to person depending upon socio cultural, religious, educational and even economic conditions. It has great link with pshycological aspects and it is very difficult to arrive at common agreeable considerations to define the degree of beauty or for that matter ugliness. It's the `fear of critisism' by society or other powerful groups which forces individual to readyly agree with accepted concept of beauty. Afterall it is always safe to move with the group!
Abhay Purohit
But there is something in some idealistic organization where beauty is universally admitted.

Many artworks (including architecture) is treated as 'beautiful' by everyone. Although beauty is relative, but this also possible to create something which will be treated as 'beautiful' by all.
Mohammad Tauheed
However, there are no `Universal Standards' to define beauty and rightly so because rather than dealing with rational, beauty deals with emotions. One has to move beyond mathematics to realise beauty and in that sense, it is relative.
Abhay Purohit
Beauty has been discussed since Roman's Time. Romans said that beauty lies in proportions. With the passage of time the definition changed. In renaissance period the frame of an Artist was considered as beauty. The eye of an artist locates beauty. The definition further changed in modern ages. Now beauty is defined as "Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder".
Hussain Ali
To start with, read Kant's third critique!
Irfan Sonawala
The concept of ��Beauty�� has been hotly debated since ancient times by philosophers, theologians, artists and common man alike. There is no single point of view that has been universally accepted. Here is one of them: Consider these scenarios: 2 people faced with a vast pile of dried fish may react thus. To Person1 it might be ��ugly and revolting�� filling him with disgust but to person2 ��the most beautiful sight�� making him happy. So, is the pile of fish ugly or beautiful? A person whom you meet for the first time will seem like a very plain person. After a few years when that same person is your closest friend, you tell her everyday how beautiful she is. So is she plain or beautiful? A compelling argument for deciding that ��Beauty is in the eyes of the Beholder��. After all doesn��t the famous line go ��To see the beauty of Laila, requires the eyes of Majnu��? So where does beauty lie, just in the person who sees/hears/feels it? If that is so, if beauty is created only by the subject, then is there no beauty inherent in Laila or the fish or the friend? This can��t be true! Then logically speaking, beauty exists everywhere and anywhere, just waiting to be discovered. Taking the case of art: A grotesque painting of war may, due to choice of subject, seem ugly. Of course ��war�� is never beautiful. But still the work of art will be ��beautiful�� when it elicits the response from us that the artist had intended. To quote ��A work of art is beautiful to the extent that it realizes its makers intention��. All the same, a work of art though it realises fully its creator��s intentions, may still go unappreciated due to many reasons and may not be called ��beautiful�� but is still is beautiful. So over and beyond basing our judgement of beauty on mere sensation or emotion, we also need to include the rational component ��understanding��. Only when we truly understand a work of art, does it communicate to us & we in turn appreciate its beauty. When it is merely based on emotion, it becomes a judgement not of beauty but of taste. Emotion & understanding have to go hand in hand. The concept of beauty & taste is further elaborated in the ��Rasa Theory�� basically with reference to dance but can be extended to all art forms. Finally beauty is said to be one of the three states in which man is freed from himself and becomes the Higher Principle. It comes into being only when it is perceived & beauty is not reached unless the subject is passionately felt. For further elaboration & reading pls refer to the essay ��That Beauty is a State�� by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy and his book ��transformation of nature in art��. The above argument dwells heavily on AKC��s thoughts.
Kshama Satish
Hi all!
Beauty can certainly not be measured at any absolute scale, and will be relative to the person assesing it. But Beauty afterall is realization of a particular kind of experience which is an outcome of bio-chemical/ bio-sensory activities in some part of the brain. Though complicated these activities must be tangible with a set of physical/chemical parameters. Thus for a person, this can be measured!
I am of an opinion that beauty can be quantified and that so far we have not been able to decipher the codes of the nature.
Till quite recently we beleived that Colors are immesurable. No more so. Before that Wohler broke our faith that we could never synthesize organic compounds in laboratory...

P Das
As far as the current ideology of the Western World is concerned. The concept of "beauty" has no meaning because "All forms of art and behaviour (the good, the bad and the ugly) are equal".
Frank John Snelling
Hi Frank,
Please elaborate on your point.
P Das
Prashant, Hi there. :)

Elaborate? Hmm, to me the word "beauty" is not a single stand alone concept.

Firstly, if you use the word "beauty" then you should use the word "ugly" to describe the opposite infinite concept.

Secondly, "beauty" and "ugly" are both comparative and relative concepts.

When there is a value system such todays' modern ideology in the West, where "good, bad and ugly" are all equally valid. Therefore there can be no comparison between these concepts because when "good = bad = ugly" there is no meaning for "beauty" or "ugly".

In case you wonder, I am not using two-polar logic. To me the concept of "beauty" is an infinite parameter and the concept of "ugly" is the other infinite parameter; between these two parameters lies an complex infinity of shades composed of beauty and ugly.

Thus the parameters are: "beauty" as an infinite (with zero "ugly") and "ugly" is infinite (with zero "beauty").

To paraphrase the four cases of logic:-

(a) Infinite Beauty, Zero Ugly.
(b) More Beauty, less Uglyness.
(c) Less Beauty, more uglyness.
(d) Zero Beauty, Infinite Ugly.
Frank John Snelling

dear ahmed ali,
beauty is both, objective and subjective.
u already spoke the words.. well, subjective beauty lies in the eye of the beholder...while objective beauty speaks for itself... maybe u would say that your house is beauty, but your friend doesn't like it.. and says that it is what do you called it mr. schnelling?? infinite ugly,, well it makes your house
looks beautiful in your point of view.but i actually do not agree with the word of ugly. it is because there's a person who really likes that thing... so it makes that thing not ugly .. as it is. do you understand what i mean ?? even though beauty needs comparison.. so the word "ugly" can make the word "bea uty" comes out. frankly, i still do not agree with that kind of definition. as long as there's still a person who says it beautiful, so there's nothing is "ugly" after all. well, it makes beauty speak for itself in a different point of view. do you all got the pint ?? everything in the world is beauty... well, "picaso" says "monalisa" is beautiful, but not to me. beauty is a common thing that we all have. its a point of view... its how we see something. we have different taste and different sight, it doesn't mean that everything that we dislike can be define as something called ugly ??? i mean... people in here,surely don't want to be called ugly ... or.. do they ???
well, actually... beauty in definition.. has a very long story... and ofcourse..
beauty remains in silence, until someone can discovered in which sight is.
i hope this will satisfy you.

Zhang rui zhi
Muhammad Rifki Mazhar
Beauty is nature
Ibrahim Olorunoje
Beauty rests within the prayer that its worshipper has dug into himself to achieve it! All the good and great tiltes belong to Allah and his alone is a worship worth a reward.. Hence adam saw Eve and was dumbstruck "you criminal creature are you pleaed with the dark shadows on my face and look at yer thin untidy feet ,how unblessed are we ,no respite will we get for ye worshipped satan and untill the last day that comes to pass over all events he shall but burn in the hell "
The Lord Merciful called on Adam " there is mercy for those who will walk towardsa me again in the garden with me dwell ' Adam fell to the ground on his belly and tied his hands towardfs the Mercifull's voice and cried .Sameway Eve followed the motif. " Merciful said" hold on to prayer and walk northwards there is mercy for ye both but remember your prayer to me alone shows you the way further"
when we are young we predispose ourself to the sense of beauty and beauty is institutionalised by Great Britian .They so rightly and profoudly
say 'we have his weakness"
lot of us pray by imagining inside what to do with beauty whether modern or conservative although in time we start thinking and looking at beauty that was of no interest to us.Since beauty has limits in our public education and liberary we wander from style to style, like from European Beauty to Chinese .....
Sher Saddozai
In order to have a concept such as beauty then there must also be the concept of uglyness as the equal but opposite concept.

And, this means that there is a span from complete beauty through banal mediocrity to complete uglyness.

Whereas, the modern ideological agenda of today is based upon the idea that there is no difference between good, bad and ugly and if there are no differences, then there can be no such concepts as beauty or uglyness.

This then allows for the absurd notion that "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In other words, nothing is fundamentally good, fundamentally bad or fundamentally ugly because beauty is only a (meaningless) label.
Frank John Snelling
i agree that "beauty lies in the eye of beholder", and also in the object itself.
there are somethings all of us agree that it is a wonderful,magnificent,spectacular, and there are other things debatable, i say it is wonderful, but you say No, it is normal.
aslo the trained eye, as someone said above, can look at the reality with multi-perspectives, that because he/she has some standards control her/his opinion.
and i wish nobody forget that the "art" is the most common language among the whole world, and also don't forget that environment, social surroundings affect on the human concept about the beauty.
So, the beauty is a result of the human or individual gifted or genius mind God gave it to him, produced spectacular things or arts inspired from the nature given by GOD, or the fertile imagination of the individual.
Waleed Akef
i find 'ugly' NOT as the opposite of 'beauty', but that it only shows how we differ in our criteria for what 'beauty' is. for instance, say, the Ms. Universe beauty pageant. whilst the ladies all look pleasing, it is the context of a pageant that gears us to be more discriminating. shall we give weight to charisma? to intelligence? to 'international relevance'?

then, we invent a gamut of variations, starting from the high-fashion world of the supermodels, down to ... well... camels.

it seems both funny and absurd, but it shows how much the human mind can stretch the concept of beauty.

it is then when the mind does not stretch at all that i find to be the opposite of beauty. but i'm not sure what word befits such state.

how about apathy?
Jofer Magsi
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
Confucius (BC 551-BC 479) Chinese philosopher.
Kelly Kay
Salams Ahmed,
'Beauty' is Subjective to the admirer &
Objective to the one being adimired.
Haseeb Siddique Shaikh
Dear Ali,

He only Creates Beautifully and the beauty.It is the eye which goes beyond the fact.
Shalinder Malhotra
i have gone through some of the debates in this string.. but i have not seen at least someone who really thinks that the eye doesnt comein front in beauty,

if it is so it is visual beauty,
beauty is a very vague term that we have to define carefully and check in which stream that we shoud go.
i think it is good to tink the way feel beauty,
is it through the eyes, ears, nor with any other senses.
to me the beauty is a feeling that evokes in my mind..
may be visual or any other but im not aware sometimes.
Tharanga Suresh Edirisooriya Arachchige
hello Tharanga Suresh.

i think you're right; most of what is said about beauty is that which is perceived through our eyes.

i'm wondering if anyone can pinpoint an architectural form whereby the design is driven not so much of the beauty that is seen, but that which is perceived in some other way.
Jofer Magsi
I think, every possible TRUTH prefers 'beauty'.
Nahid Hasan
Beauty is a law of nature,
its by default guys!!
Neha Korde


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