IX. Types of Beauty

Let us now consider the various types of beauty. Since traditional aesthetics have discussed the types of beauty, I would like to consider this topic from the Unification Thought perspective.

A. Types of Love and Beauty from the Perspective of Unification Thought

Beauty is determined when a subject and an object engage in give and receive action centering on purpose. Accordingly, beauty varies depending on the observer (subject), and also depending on the type of object (an art work, a natural thing). Accordingly, there is a virtually infinite diversity in beauty; however, the various types of beauty can be categorized by grouping similar kinds of beauty. So, some scholars have tried to present what they regard as the basic types of beauty and to characterize the special qualities of each type.

From the Unification Thought viewpoint, as already mentioned, love and beauty are inseparable, and beauty can not exist apart from love. The more parents love their children, the more beautiful the children appear. Thus, as love increases in quantity, beauty is also felt to increase in quantity. This is because love and beauty form a reciprocal circuit in the give and receive action between subject and object partners. That is to say, the giver gives love, and the receiver receives it as beauty. In this way love and beauty are two sides of a coin. Accordingly, in thinking about the types of beauty, the first thing to do is to consider the various types of love.

God’s love is manifested in the family as the three divisional forms of parents’ love, husband and wife’s love, and children’s love (If brothers and sisters’ love which is included in children’s love is dealt with separately, there are four forms of divisional love). These three forms of divisional love are the basic patterns of love, which can further be divided into (1) fatherly love, (2) motherly love, (3) husband’s love, (4) wife’s love, (5) son’s love, and (6) daughter’s love.

Thus, the three basic types of divisional love are further divided into the pairs of unilateral love of both genders. These six kinds of unilateral love can be further divided into more subtly detailed kinds of love, manifesting more diverse types of love. For example, fatherly love has the qualities of strictness, magnanimity, broadness, solemnity, profoundness, awesomeness, and so on. Accordingly, fatherly love is manifested in the forms of strict love, magnanimous love, broad love, solemn love, profound love, awesome love, and so on. On the other hand, motherly love is mild and peaceful, and is manifested as graceful love, noble love, warm love, delicate love, gentle love, passionate love, and so on.

Next is conjugal love. A husband’s love is masculine love, and so it is manifested to the wife as active love, trustworthy love, courageous love, resolute love, and so on. A wife’s love is feminine love, and appears to her husband as passive love, supportive love, obedient love, reserved love, and so on.

Children’s love appears to their parents as filial love, obedient love, dependent love, cute love, comical love, and so on. In addition, there are an elder brother’s love for his younger brothers and sisters, an elder sister’s love for her younger brothers and sisters, a younger brother’s love for his elder brothers and sisters, and a younger sister’s love for her elder brothers and sisters―all these various modes of love are included in the concept of children’s love. Thus, the three basic forms of love are divided into pairs of unilateral loves, and further diversified, appearing as innumerable “colors” of love.

In correspondence to these various types of love, the different types of beauty are manifested. First, corresponding to the three basic forms of love, three basic forms of beauty are established, namely, parental beauty, conjugal beauty, and children’s beauty. These can be further diversified as unilateral forms of beauty: (1) fatherly beauty, (2) motherly beauty, (3) husband’s beauty, (4) wife’s beauty, (5) son’s beauty, and (6) daughter’s beauty. These can be further sub-divided into the beauties of the accompanying diverse characteristics. They are as follows:

Fatherly beauty: strict beauty, magnanimous beauty, broad beauty, solemn beauty, profound beauty, awesome beauty, etc.

Motherly beauty: graceful beauty, noble beauty, warm-hearted beauty, delicate beauty, gentle beauty, passionate beauty, etc.

Husband’s beauty: masculine beauty, active beauty, trustworthy beauty, courageous beauty, resolute beauty, brave beauty, prudent beauty, etc.

Wife’s beauty: feminine beauty, passive beauty, supportive beauty, obedient beauty, calm beauty, tender beauty, cheerful beauty, reserved beauty, etc.

Son’s beauty: filial beauty, obedient beauty, dependent beauty, youthful beauty, comical beauty, cute beauty, all of which have boyish characteristics, etc.

Daughter’s beauty: filial beauty, obedient beauty, dependent beauty, youthful beauty, comical beauty, cute beauty, all of which have girlish characteristics, etc.

The love a father gives to his children is not always mild and warm. When his children do something wrong, he may scold them severely. On such occasions, children may feel bad, but later they feel grateful. Not only spring-like, warm love but also winter-like, strict love is a form of love. Such strict love can be felt by children as beauty, which can be called a strict kind of beauty. Or suppose a child has made a mistake and comes back home seriously expecting to be scolded severely by his or her father. Then, suppose the father unexpectedly forgives the child saying, “That’s all right.” That child would feel an ocean-like, broad beauty from the father on such an occasion. This is a kind of magnanimous beauty. Thus, when children receive various kinds of love from their father, they feel various kinds of beauty, with various nuances accordingly. In contrast, a mother’s love is different from a father’s love. A mother’s love is mild and peaceful. Children feel such love from their mother as a graceful and gentle beauty. A husband’s love is felt by the wife as masculine and sturdy. This is masculine beauty. In return, a wife’s love is felt by the husband as feminine and tender. This is feminine beauty.

It is the original nature of children to try to please their parents. Children try to somehow please their parents by, for example, studying hard, drawing pictures, dancing around, or doing other things. This is children’s love, and parents can perceive their actions as cute beauty. Or sometimes parents may feel it is very comical. This is comical beauty. Moreover, as children grow up, beauty corresponding to their age comes to be felt by their parents. Also, children’s love is felt differently, depending on whether it is expressed by sons or daughters, as a son’s beauty and a daughter’s beauty. Also, unique kinds of beauty―namely, brotherly beauty and sisterly beauty―are manifested among children (brothers and sisters), corresponding to brotherly love or sisterly love. In this way, we experience various kinds or nuances of beauty as we grow up in our own family.

The various above-mentioned types of beauty can be further compounded, divided, or transformed, and innumerable kinds of beauty manifested. The feelings of beauty that we feel when we encounter nature and works of art are all derived from the types of beauty experienced in the family. In other words, the various forms of beauty experienced in human relationships based on the family are projected onto nature and works of art and are felt as the beauty of nature and art works. We thus have a basis for categorizing the various types of beauty experienced in nature and in works of art.

For example, when seeing a towering mountain or watching a waterfall descending from a lofty cliff, a person can feel a solemn kind of beauty, which is an extension and transformation of fatherly beauty. When admiring a quiet lake or a calm meadow, the beauty we feel is an extension and transformation of motherly beauty. The loveliness of the offspring of animals or sprouting plants is the extension or transformation of children’s beauty. The same can be said about works of art. Paintings and statues of the Holy Mother Mary are the expression of motherly beauty, and Gothic architecture can be seen as the extension or transformation of fatherly beauty.

B. Traditional Types of Beauty

In the history of aesthetics, the basic types of beauty were regarded as being grace (Grazie) and the sublime (Erhabenheit). Grace is the type of beauty that gives us pleasure quite affirmatively and directly; we feel it expressed as a well-balanced beauty of harmony. On the other hand, the sublime is the type of beauty that gives us a sense of wonder, or a feeling of awe―as the feeling one has when looking at a tall mountain or a surging wave.

Kant, for example, held that in beauty (grace) there are the components of free beauty (Freie Schönheit) and dependent beauty (anhängende Schönhei). Free beauty refers to the beauty felt in common by anybody, and not restricted by any particular concept. Dependent beauty refers to a beauty that depends on a certain purpose (or concept), and which is felt as being beautiful because of its appropriateness, such as its appropriateness for wearing or appropriateness as a place in which to live. In addition, pure beauty (Reinschöne), tragic beauty (Tragische), comical beauty (Komische), and other types are generally mentioned in theories of art.

These traditional types of beauty have merely been specified through human experience, however, and any criteria for their classification have been ambiguous. In contrast, the types of beauty set forth in the Unification Theory of Art are based on clear principles, namely, on the various types of love.