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So a while ago, a friend linked me to this website that showed the 'averaged' faces of different cultures, that is, a program took photos of a large number of people from a specific country and performed some averaging function over them, for several countries. I'm not sure about the specifics, but the interesting thing (to me) was that all of the faces would definitely be considered to be above average in 'beauty'.

Which got me thinking: what is 'beauty'? It definitely seems to be something that is, like, 'greater than the sum of its parts', and it seems to apply to many fields, in differing ways.

The 'beauty' of a sunset over the Grand Canyon is different than the beauty of a poem, which is different than the beauty of Monet's Waterlilies, which is again different than the beauty of, say, Henry Cavill *whistling*, which is different than the beauty of an elegant math proof.

Yet, to me at least, the term 'beauty' seems to be apply equally well, and, more interestingly, seems somehow 'consistent' in being applied to all these very different things. Why is that? What exactly is beauty? Is it quantifiable? (I mean yes, it's "in the eye of the beholder" to some degree, but there does seem to be general consensus on the 'beauty' of many things) Is it something that is inherent, or that can be developed? Is it something that is merely a concept, or is it somehow tangible? Is it a weapon, a tool, a strength, or a weakness? What is it?

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You should put the link on here. That website sounds interesting :)

My best friend and I often argue about which actresses are more beautiful (typically American actresses), but the one thing we tend to agree on is that the ones who look more "natural" (i.e. they don't have so much make up on their face that they look like their going to drown in it, they don't have any plastic surgery done to them) are the most beautiful. But that's just my opinion :blush:

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Lol...I was recently watching an episode of Franklin and Bash in which they defined art as "anything that evokes strong emotions"...

But I don't agree with Flame's hypothesis about evoking positive emotion. I tend to find the most beautiful poems, for example, to be the sad ones, and I think that can be said for, like, some photography as well.

Most of the time beauty is considered a positive thing, but does this always have to be the case? I.e. is there such a thing as "too beautiful"?

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Well, there is such a thing as a dreadful beauty. Maybe beauty is simply magnitude, whether it be positive or negative.

Yes, there is such a thing as too beautiful. For instance, with actresses and actors, after they have like a billion surgeries, they start looking too beautiful/handsome and feel unrealistic to our eyes. Then, we consider them no longer beautiful but simply alien.

Also, side note: Why do I feel that in a couple years, the thoughts expressed in this thread will be written into a book?

EDIT: Beauty is not the evoking of feeling, but a feeling in itself apart from all the others.

Edited by flamebirde
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