The Virtue of Aesthetics: Unveiling Beauty’s Impact on Personal and Societal Development

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Could aesthetics, “a set of principles concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty” be both a path to virtue and a virtue in itself?

Consider the people – privileged as they are in this position – who choose to use their work vacations for leisure travel, selecting a destination and allocating their time and money towards having an experience that typically provides little to no immediate productive or material benefit.

Consider the people – privileged as they are in this position – who choose to use their work vacations for leisure travel, selecting a destination and allocating their time and money towards having an experience that typically provides little to no immediate productive or material benefit.

Within this reasoning lies a supposed source of happiness and enjoyment that is removed from the influences of necessity and obligation, present in most other circumstances of daily life. Thus, under the highly likely assumption that leisure travel is predicated on a destination with pronounced aesthetic qualities, we can assert that there is an inherent appeal of beauty.

Aesthetics, previously established as transcending lower-level thought through its basis in beauty, involves higher levels of awareness and conscientiousness. Thus, an aesthetics-focused person is not only enriched by beauty, but by also the way that their mind is subsequently sensitized to detail and trained to find purpose in otherwise seemingly irrelevant things and concepts. The benefit of beauty does not then lie solely in the beauty, itself, but also in the way that a person who appreciates beauty views the world around them, and themself. As a result, this person is inclined to embody virtue as a consequence of higher-level thinking that becomes implicit in the person.

As such, aesthetics becomes a nonstandard tool for becoming virtuous by developing the self and by extension, society. Though aesthetics may not be the most commonly considered method for becoming virtuous and developed, the consequences of virtue and development are very well understood. Through these practices and ways of being, humans may operate at their highest capacities with the abilities to create, analyze, problem-solve, cooperate, and empathize and ultimately, cultivate a more wholesome and fulfilling life.

Sources

“10 Examples of Sustainable Architecture Around the World.” RMJM, 16 Mar. 2023, rmjm.com/10-examples-of-sustainable-architecture-around-the-world/.

Aristotle, et al. Eudemian Ethics. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2021.

Oxford English Dictionary, www.oed.com/. Accessed 15 Nov. 2023.

Montana Lorbetske
WRITTEN BY

Montana Lorbetske

One of the most attractive aspects of studying international relations and politics is its versatility, with every conceivable topic being relevant to this study, by connection to humans. I find everything about humans, with our simultaneously complex and simple nature, to be endlessly fascinating. In my life, I aim to intently observe and evaluate humans and their connections to all matters of attention and make personal connections with people in order to gain insight into the innumerable iterations of humanness and the human experience.

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