Biology of Beauty

This is an incredibly fascinating article that my friend Greg Florence found.  It’s basically explaining a scientific study about why Adele’s song “Someone Like You” makes everyone cry.

Apparently, when musicians use the technique called appoggiatura, our bodies react with goosebumps, chills, or tears.

British psychologists, John Sloboda and Martin Guhn explain that appoggiatura is “a type of ornamental note that clashes with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound” which causes just enough tension within the listener so “when the notes return to the anticipated melody, the tension resolves, and it feels good.”

I can’t even get over how cool this is. Our biological bodies react in biological ways to music, without us doing anything besides listening. So when you throw emotions into the mix and we listen to the lyrics of a song, or find the beat hypnotic, or respond to the accompaniment, we react.

We are biologically wired to find joy in beauty. Why? This is what I just can’t wrap my head around. What is the scientific reason for us to enjoy beauty? Like, we are wired to get hungry to eat so we don’t die, we get tired so we sleep so we don’t die. But why do we listen to music? Why do we study art? Why do we read book after book after book?

Because beauty feeds our souls need for something beyond us. Beauty points us to something that is beyond what our biological and scientific mind can comprehend. Beauty reminds us that creators can create amazing things, and that the greatest Creator of all time, created creations that can create creations.

It’s acknowledging that God made us and made everything for us, but then also gave us free will and specific talents to add to his masterpiece. Often, it’s like we are given crayons to add to Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, or like a well-meaning Spanish lady trying to restore the “Ecce Homo” fresco (I will never get tired of this story). But sometimes we succeed, through grace, of course, and often our creations can lead others to the ultimate Creator.

Which is pretty amazing.

Before the beautiful—no, not really before but within the beautiful—the whole person quivers. He not only ‘finds’ the beautiful moving; rather, he experiences himself as being moved and possessed by it” — Hans Urs von Balthasar

Here is a post that says everything I want to say, also found by Greg Florence



2 thoughts on “Biology of Beauty

  1. Pingback: These are a few of my favorite things | twocatholicgirls

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s