You’ll find the introduction to this series here.
This post looks at Beauty.
Beauty, according to an ancient aphorism, lies in the eye of the beholder. Experience suggests this is so, most of the time. But will our future produce different standards of beauty? We know fashions, trends, local traditions, and beliefs all impact on what is and is not seen as beautiful in the world.
The natural world is crammed with beauty (it also contains a good deal that’s ugly, but we’ll leave that aside here). There’s something almost universally uplifting to the spirit in a sight of natural beauty. Will growing awareness of the intrinsic natural beauty of our world influence attitudes toward the coming climate emergency? Perhaps that approaching catastrophe will increase humanity’s awareness of the special nature of the world we occupy. Will appreciation of the beauty of our planet then help in the fight to reduce our carbon footprints? Of course, the term is so frequently applied to feminine appearance as well that it’s become almost synonymous with that aspect.
Looking at human beauty, will improvements in cosmetics and physical health, edging more people toward a perceived ‘perfection’, permit the display of human bodies in their natural state without condemnation? And will such liberation apply to works of art, the cinema, theatre, as well as to public exposure in the street?
Much of the condemnatory aspect of human body display stems from religious organisations and their extreme attitudes to sex, usually the result of concern that preoccupation with the physical beauty of a member of any attractive gender is likely to take the viewer’s mind away from what these organisations frequently label ‘spiritual matters’. Will a growing trend toward reason and rationality reduce the influence of such prohibitions? When logic overrules dogma, will a greater freedom result in an entirely different set of rules about what is and is not ‘decent’ or ‘obscene’?
These are just some of the suggestions I make for consideration if you’re including the idea of beauty in your story. I’m sure you can think of many more. Please feel free to let us know your ideas, using the comment space below the post.
Part 1, Introduction and Accommodation. Part 2, Activism. Part 3, Advertising. Part 4, Agriculture. Part 5, Artificial Intelligence. Part 6, Animals, as Pets. Part 7, Art. Part 8, Authority. Part 9, Banking.