The Frivolity of Beauty?

Aesthetics Research Lab

We often think of beauty in terms of ‘nice’, like it’s something nice to have. But, we continue, it isn’t really necessary. It’s something that we add to our lives, if and only if everything else is in order. We have occasion to experience beauty during times of stress, but this is surely only accidental. While it’s true that beauty won’t fill a starving belly or cure diseases, it is necessary for a life to flourish. There is an interesting example from less than 100 years ago that shows the power of beauty in a dire situation.

Primo Levi was a prisoner in Auschwitz. He barely had his basic needs met—food, water, and shelter. In his book, If This is a Man, Levi recalls that he and a fellow prisoner were walking to carry the soup for lunch. It was a pretty far walk that would take about…

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