Monday, November 14, 2011

Does beauty fill your stomach?

Human behavior is pretty varied. Yet in the end, we are organisms with the sole intent of keeping homeostasis. So with all the weird and wonderful things we do apart from the rest of nature, how exactly does beauty fit into the maintenance of an organism? This is the time when the evolutionary psychologist steps in and answers, that we enjoy physical beauty because people with symmetrical features are a sign of good reproductive health.
So, because people with symmetrical features have better health then less symmetrical ones, the preference for symmetry spills over into the world and creates art, expression and the like? Case closed? I would ask, what about Dionysian-esque or asymmetrical art forms? Even a lot of east Asian Buddhist and Taoist poetry refer to things that are free flowing, without order, or without apparent symmetry as having beauty. Therefore, how do we account for these non-symmetrical kinds of aesthetics? I wildly speculate that there is another factor influencing human behavior that is not explained by the Darwinian paradigm. Dare I say it, something resembling platonic forms but perhaps more like archetypes, that do not stem from natural selection but from something transcendent to nature? Perhaps…