A part of living a good life is to perceive beauty, to wonder and enjoy it. Already artefacts of early cultures show that people have always decorated themselves, their environment, and the things they produced. The desire to create beautiful things was particularly evident in religious contexts, as an expression of gratitude for the beauty of creation.
Time and again, social movements, concerned about justice and standing up for the good life of all, have fought the pursuit of beauty. They even destroyed beautiful things which in their opinion represented the exploitative conditions that produced them.
Beauty and luxury often lie close together: many beautiful things that have survived, cult objects, buildings, paintings, but also music, dance, theater, and poetry, were created in circumstances of great wealth of individuals or institutions, for example, the nobility or the church, later the rich and the bourgeoisie.
Less is known of the traditions of beauty in things of everyday life: handicrafts such as patchwork blankets, the ornamentation of cakes and pastries, the design of living spaces and gardens, the decoration of workspaces. It is precisely this „everyday” and relational beauty that is important for a good life. It enables and strengthens the love for things, which conditions people to take the trouble of caring and repairing, thereby counteracting the waste of resources that is being pushed by the consumer industry.
Usually it contributes to the good life of all when people try to bring beauty into their daily lives. It was no coincidence that striking women workers not only demanded „bread” but also „roses,” a slogan later been taken up by the women’s movement in general.
The fashion and entertainment industries convey images of supposedly ideal beauty, especially in women, but recently also in men. They call for reshaping one’s body according to these „ideals,” with no consideration for health. The notions of beauty that are effective in this context are focused primarily on what makes women sexually attractive in the eyes of many men. For owning a „beautiful” woman is still considered to be a status symbol in men’s culture, as is the possession of a beautiful car. The beauty of women is an attribute of power and wealth.
But real beauty of people can not be fabricated. It reveals itself when people are truly present and alive in their bodies. You can find it in their style and appeal. It is especially apparent when humans perceive the beauty in each other because they relate to one another or perhaps even love each other.