In her slim 2013 volume, “On Beauty and Being Just,” Harvard Professor Elaine Scarry attempts to unravel the mysterious pull and effect of the beautiful on human consciousness. Far from being mere surface gloss obscuring the deeper or truer nature of any given object or experience, beauty is central to human experience, summoning us to ever deeper exploration—and our own depths in responding to it.
“Something beautiful fills the mind yet invites the search for something beyond itself, something larger or something of the same scale with which it needs to be brought into relation,” she writes.
And perhaps most importantly, beauty instills in us a desire to both replicate and share it—to point, to exclaim, to paint, to sing and dance and exult, to communicate about how we have been moved and inspired and ultimately, changed by it.
And to advance the possibility that others might be changed, too.