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Existential Significance of Beauty in Human Life

Roger Scruton displays a fascinating essay on the value of beauty in the arts and human life. In his documentary, he claims the impacts of art, architecture and music on beauty and affirms that there is a forgotten beauty in such specialties. He emphasizes on the contribution of art and music in making a cult of ugliness and loss of spirituality (sacred). He attributes the presence of beauty to the meaning of life. Besides, he affirms that beauty justifies itself as something pursued for its own value and hence there is no need for any other reason as to why one should despise and forsake beauty since it is an ultimate value in life (Airey et al., 2018). Also, he connects the absence of beauty and the existence of spiritual desert. Roger Scruton focuses on the preservative approach to beauty and claims that the idea of beauty is slowly disappearing from the world. He implies that the Art has lost beauty and our physical surroundings, language, music, and manners have become very ugly. He criticizes the impact of art in breaking moral taboos and principles. The art is misused to express the ugliness of the world at the expense of focusing on that which is most painful in the human condition and restoring it in the work of beauty.

Beauty is a necessity as it defines the meaning of life. It can transform the surrounding and elevate the society to high levels of spirituality and morality. Beauty is to be observed and conserved and not be exploited as far as art is concerned. Art is not there to satisfy individual’s appetite or the appetite of the consumers but should be engrossed in beauty of morality. Without appreciating the meaning and usefulness of beauty, it diminishes from a whole societal culture. Loss of personal experience with beauty, make the surrounding ugly as building is only for personal gain and focus is only on the importance of construction. Most ugly constructions has preoccupied the spaces which could be reserved for large golden fountains, curvy ornaments and mesmerizing green gardens which would impact quality life, the reason being, there is high personal appetite and thirst for personal gain (Leist, 2018). As a result, there is no place for constructing something sacred and spiritual.

Humans have pursued beauty for a period not less than 2000 years in art, architecture and also in shaping the surroundings in general. Through art, there has been recognition of sufferings and chaos for which beauty has been as a remedy to define the value of human life. But recently, the importance of beauty in art is lost and the surrounding is filled with ugliness. Modern art does not maintain the the remedy for chaos in life as beauty, rather it avoids the value of beauty. It claims beauty as relative and depends on the eye of the beholder and due to this it has lost the aesthetic value (Hamilton, 2022). There is more focus on the originality of the idea and not the reality of its transcendental representation. Modern art claims that anything can be art and anyone can be an artist as there are no skills required. However, this is not true according to Roger Scruton who considers beauty as universal and non-subjective quality. Considering only the practicality of an architecture with no aspect of beauty would render most buildings useless overtime.

Roger emphasizes the value of beauty to sustain usefulness in architecture. In the documentary “Why Beauty Matters” there are explanations on the need of beauty in human lives. It also appreciates the importance of beauty for sustainable living and in appreciating the harmony of traditional architecture in the surrounding and the calmness of sublime nature that beauty offers to humans (Scruton, 2018). Without giving attention to the value of beauty, spirituality and morality is likely to decline in human life since they both have universal origin. This would bring a lot of confusion as every member in the society would justify claims about what for their own interest is regarded as beauty. Beauty should be appealing to everyone as it is a universal perception. Cultural practices to instill and define standards of behaviors would be disregarded as every individual in the society would do that which pleases as per their own perception and not the universal outlook. Most of architectural structures would be so displeasing making human life not appreciated. Beauty and morality go hand in hand and with time loss of beauty leads to a significant loss of morality. Without morality then then there is danger in losing the mean and value of life and that is the reason why Scruton asserts beauty as an essential aspect of art and life is filled with art. There is therefore a need for conservative approach to address beaty and restore it to present (Cullen, 2020). Beauty is a real and universal value anchored in the rational nature of humans.


Beauty is not subjective nor arbitrary as it is not justified through the beholder’s view but generally what is truly beautiful. Judgement of beauty is therefore necessary for solid reasoning to harmonize the activities in the society and the principles of life. The creation of a generally pleasing surrounding requires a coordination that solely rely on the aesthetic judgement. Nevertheless, such kind of judgement exist to ensure rationality and it incapacitates one who lack the grasp of aesthetic judgement. Beauty is a very crucial quality in life and hence take account of the aesthetic experience of architecture. Beauty defines how humans understand and interact with the environment. It infuses the inner life of humans and creates relationships between humans and the environment from landscape to art and even relationships with one another (Horcher,2022).


Airey, J., Scruton, R., & Wales, R. (2018). Building More, Building Beautiful. Policy Exchange.

Cullen, D. (2020). Roger Scruton, 1944–2020: Conservatism Unmodified.

Hamilton, C. (2022). ART, THE SELF, AND THE VALUE OF IMPERFECTION. Imperfectionist Aesthetics in Art and Everyday Life.

Hörcher, F. (2022). Rationality and Tradition in Roger Scruton’s Thought. In Critics of Enlightenment Rationalism Revisited (pp. 283-299). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Leist, A. (2018). Sustainability and modernisation in conflict: On Roger Scruton’s conservative green philosophy. In Cultural Sustainability (pp. 63-74). Routledge.

Scruton, R. (2018). Why beauty matters. The Monist, 101(1), 9-16.


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