On Beauty

A hypothesis about what beauty is, connected to the theory of creative systems.

The Asifoscope

File:Lichen on Nunavut rocks.jpg

Beauty is at the border between boredom and confusion. Think of hearing music. If the music is very simple, like just one or two notes repeating in a fixed pattern, it is boring. If it is extremely complex, you get confused and it is perceived as noise. In the middle between the two is the “beauty zone”. Things in this area are not boring, because new, surprising things are happening all the time. They are also not confusing because the rate at which something new is happening or is being discovered is not too high. So the new information can be integrated into the pre-existing knowledge successfully.

So the feeling of beauty, I think, is an emotion of success of perception that arises if the knowledge we use in perceiving things (like, for example, the knowledge of a music style that we have already) is successfully extended to assimilate, i.e…

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