Beauty is felt, before it is understood.
While making something beautiful, we discover patterns that resonate. An artist will sometimes find common threads linking mathematics, natural forces, and our own mythology. Philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists of every field all originated from the same cloth: creative people seeking a universal order. Great artists tap into that knowledge as they master the language of aesthetics, which most of us can hear but not speak.
Beauty is important. It is not the domain of a cultured elite – any person can tell a bad tune from harmony. That rule is universal, from music to architecture to a fleeting moment in nature. The presence of beauty lifts our spirit. Once, we reserved our greatest splendor for the public realm – city squares, gateways, and places of assembly that encouraged pride and civility. Can we decode something so vague yet self-evident? How can we design the intuitive?
Symmetry is one of the most powerful aspects of beauty; a resonance of proportion that unites various scales of a composition. It creates a satisfying sense of order. When we detect symmetry, we smile knowingly – we believe the subject was created with intent and skill. It reassures us that an order defines our universe, and we may yet grasp it; a window to understanding. We find it in the branches of a tree, the forks of a river, and splintering lightning.