Beauty, according to the Thomists, is rightproportion, brilliance, and integrity. Evolutionary theorists have tried, and in some cases managed, to find biological grounding for our concepts of beauty. For instance, they at least seem to grasp the relationship between human beauty and reproductive viability, but even these relationships are associational rather than necessary.

But it is more ineffable than that. David Bentley Hart is more expansive:

“Beauty is something other than the visible or audible or conceptual agreement of parts, and the experience of beauty can never be wholly reduced to any set of material constituents. It is something mysterious, prodigal, often unanticipated, even capricious. We can find ourselves suddenly amazed by some strange and indefinable glory in a barren field, an urban ruin, the splendid disarray of a storm-wracked forest, and so on.

Hart, The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss 279-280

But in this evil age, the concept of beauty is being subject to the standard word games. The concept behind the word, however difficult to define, is essentially being deconstructed on two fronts. Some claim that beauty is an invention of the mind, especially the minds of men, and therefore needs to be rejected. Others seek to force the word beautiful to refer to that which is not beautiful, neither in the eye of the beholder nor by objective assessment. One remembers that there are four lights:

If you do not care to watch, a man is told that if he would simply say what he is told rather than speak the truth of which he is convinced, good things will happen. The truth under question is inconsequential. But this character bases his whole life on the principle that his first duty is to the truth. It concludes with him speaking the truth rather than giving in.

What modern art and other forces are attempting to do is get you to look at that which is ugly and call it beautiful. Seriously, watch this documentary some time:

At one point in the film, a sculptor tells Scruton that the artists and philosophers who want us to reject beauty are ultimately tempting us to reject knowledge itself.

If we call ugly beautiful, we become more comfortable calling false tue and evil good. Once we become so comfortable with self-deception, we find ourselves unable to discern the difference between any of those categories any more.

Isaiah 5:20 (NET): Those who call evil good and good evil are as good as dead, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn bitter into sweet and sweet into bitter.

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