The Value of Beauty and its Correlation to the Pursuit of Justice

September 22, 2020
Posted in blog
September 22, 2020 Riva Taimur Khawaja

Professor Elaine Scarry published “On Beauty and Being Just”, the proposal in which she claims that beauty impacts us in ways that can assist us in achieving justice. Some commentators have analyzed Scarry’s theory, suggesting it represents a new, theory of justice; others have approved of her work as a category worthy of deliberation.

Beauty presses us to a care for and to attain justice. Both beauty and justice inculcate a shared synonym which is the word “fairness.” We speak of fair faces and fair skies, but we also speak about a fair playing field and fair arrangements.

So how do beauty and justice actually correlate? The totality of beauty’s impact instructs and inspires us in ways that enable us to respond to injustice. This significant result occurs not only because of the qualities that make something or someone beautiful, but also because of our reactions to those qualities. Things that are aesthetically pleasing are symmetrical; they have a sense of proportion and harmony. To Professor Elaine, this balance exists in multiple fronts, on faces, works of art and even laws.’ Not only are we personally ameliorated when we experience a beautiful object, but the object itself takes on a life of its own, creating a sense of protection amongst the beholders. The result is a life-giving/ life-saving compact between the beholder and the object of beauty. We become more perceptive of those around us and are urged to distribute the benefits of beauty to society and future generations.

How, then, do these traits of beauty direct justice? It is tricky, after all, to think of justice as beautiful. The connection is all the more unusual given the fact that beauty isn’t a word given much thought in contemporary politics. I believe that that the exchanges we enjoy when experiencing beauty allows us to care for the item subjected as well as the liveliness of other individuals. The lateral sharing inspired by beauty and its distributional consequence combines with its life-saving/ life-giving qualities to cultivate justice. However, beauty’s subjectivity, makes it challenging to correlate it with justice, since consensus may be hard to reach.  Furthermore, the dissection of beauty into various components “scientizes” beauty, there’s a possibility that some ideas of beauty might lead to political regimes that could be deemed distasteful.

All things considered, in order to genuinely comprehend the connection of beauty and justice we have to put human-made magnificence inside the domain of experience and perceive that aesthetic beauty emerges out of the normal, regular day to day existence. We also need to recognize, that the experience of regular and artifactual beauty inside our environmental factors assists with establishing our identities within our communities making us operators of justice. Moreover, we have to comprehend, that justice can start with the sensibilities and minor demonstrations of people who are moved to treat the distressed with compassion. Beauty has a utility. That utility can additionally legitimize laws that secure and advance regular and artifactual beauty, laws that frequently offer feeble or conclusory justifications. Therefore one can presume that beauty is either the foundation of justice or an indispensable component of justice.

– Riva Taimur Khawaja, Volunteer from Eye on Ivy