Meditative thoughts on symmetry in relation to the nature of beauty

Tunga, Untitled, 2011, ink on paper, 29 7⁄8 × 20″. From the series “La voie humide,” 2011–16.
In approaching the topic of symmetry (in its many forms through nature, philosophy, music, and even logic), we find many different expressions of beauty. Symmetry itself becomes a feature that almost defines beauty in the way we can craft elegant equations in mathematics and physics to our own perceptions of facial features. In symmetry, we find a similarity among all these myriad forms of beauty, and, within symmetry itself, the repetition of a feature creates a sort of rhythm that invokes aesthetic pleasure. In searching for unifying principles among several different perceptions, subjective experiences, and even more objective forms of reasoning, we can view this sort of unity as something that creates defined, certain meaning among many forms. Symmetry becomes a rhythm, like the equality on both sides of an equals sign in a mathematical equation. And, in creating these uniformities among observations, judgements, and perceptions we can deepen our senses of the world and create discoveries in science and philosophy that we couldn’t have done before. Unity would seem to be a moment’s reflection will show us that unity cannot be absolute and be a form; a form is an aggregation, it must have elements, and the manner in which the elements are combined constitutes the character of the form. A perfectly simple perception, in which there was no consciousness of the distinction and relation of parts, would not be a perception of form; it would be a sensation. This sensation is the key to understanding the relation between moral value and aesthetic pleasure that the arts and sciences invoke within us.

Beauty in all forms, as aesthetic philosophers may pronounce, invoke physiological sensations with ourselves. Knowing and determining the nature of these sensations through our appreciation of art (and other aesthetic pleasures). We create them in ways we observe everyday and in anything. A pixel on a computer screen, the beat of a percussive instrument during a song, or even a vibration that travels through space and approaches our ears create patterns as they aggregate, combine, and form with one another. Whatever bodily change or effect of a nervous process that we experience as a result of that is our bodies method of interpreting and analyzing these aesthetic forms. 

Those who pay close attention to these sensations of their bodies and use that to discover new meaning, purpose, value, and other forms of wisdom can reap the benefits of these methods of reflection. But only through this close, careful introspection and reflection upon meaning and value through these aesthetic means (not only symmetry but other methods as well) can we begin to understand the nature of beauty. The form, brought upon by art and, especially symmetry, makes us more aware and sensitive to thought, ideas, principles, and means of imparting knowledge in making us human. 

The part of aesthetic nature we find appealing is beauty of form. In this sense, form is these objects of beauty are expressed. In aesthetic terms, the rudimentary nature of formless stimulation is removed and from the emotional looseness of remaining lost in senseless thought. 

Borrowing from the work of George Santayana, I believe there can be a coming together of beauty and form that a human being performs in the mind. We create inferences and insights about what we observe aesthetically and sense the unity as discussed earlier. Beyond the sensation itself and deep within the insights offered by works of art, we can detect the elements that underly beauty.

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