Aesthetic Intelligence, Perceiving Beauty

Aesthetic intelligence allows us to grasp beauty where others see nothing. 
Aesthetic intelligence, perceiving beauty

Why does something look extremely beautiful to some people but seem devoid of any beauty to others? There are many occasions when beauty is seen where others cannot. This phenomenon is called aesthetic intelligence, or grasping beauty where others see nothing. 

The concept of beauty is by no means easy and there are many thinkers and philosophers who have tried to define it. Is it an aesthetic model? A combination of color and shape? A feeling? Fruit of spiritual pleasure? The Italian philosopher and psychotherapist Piero Ferrucci, with his theory of aesthetic intelligence , offers us an explanation of the concept of beauty starting from ugliness and the effects it has on us.

Violence against animals, child maltreatment, wars, disasters and damage to nature. Sometimes it is necessary to face destructive ugliness in order to understand beauty and shake off the most superficial, sentimental or ambiguous meaning. Whatever it is, beauty seems to possess extraordinary healing power for the soul.

Aesthetic intelligence is a way of understanding beauty

There is doubt as to why some people may find something extremely beautiful while others fail to see any beauty in it. In many cases some see beauty where others cannot find it. It is called aesthetic intelligence, or the ability to perceive a beauty not appreciated by others.

According to the theory of aesthetic intelligence, there are three main components that define the degree of aesthetic perception : the degree of aesthetics, the depth of experience, and the ability to integrate beauty. These three variables occur in different terms and degrees in each of us.

Hand with feather

The degree of aesthetics

Those with a broader degree of aesthetics are able to capture beauty in more situations. For example, people who see beauty not only in music, but also in poetry, cinema, landscapes, home decor or the sound of rain on the ceiling.

These people are capable of perceiving beauty in many simple situations of daily life. This way of understanding beauty is not common to everyone, on the contrary, a more general type of perception of it is more widespread and linked only to the physical appearance of people.

The depth of the experience

The perceptual experience of beauty can vary from person to person. It can barely “touch” some people, who recognize it, but do not let themselves be carried away by it. They experience it as something “external” that does not affect them significantly.

Conversely, the same qualities can have a very intense effect on other people. There are moments in which beauty takes possession of our being, to the point of oppressing us or making us feel intense and difficult to explain feelings. We can’t explain how we feel, the feeling of pleasure is very intense.

The ability to integrate beauty

Integrating perceived beauty explains why there are beauties that “touch” and beauties that “change”. We talk about integration when beauty doesn’t just touch us, but alters our thinking. 

The experience of beauty enriches our lives

The concept of aesthetic intelligence highlights an evident fact:  people with a narrower aesthetic degree see a poorer and narrower world and have a less flexible personality. There seems to be a relationship between this characteristic and the ability to adapt to new environments and circumstances, having in this case more difficulty in managing change.

Eye and rainbow

On the contrary, people with a wider aesthetic degree develop more curious personalities, more inclined to learn and to welcome new ideas and projects, as well as having a great capacity to be amazed and have fun while learning. They are much more flexible with regard to circumstances, others and themselves. They have greater ability to relate to others, greater self-esteem and a more intense vital spirit.

For many people, surrounding yourself with beauty is vital and necessary for happiness. Piero Ferrucci, in his book  Beauty and the soul , assures us that the deprivation of beauty can cause depression, restlessness, aggression and a profound feeling of futility.

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