Blue Flower

a displeasing, or painful Idea excited in the Mind on Occasion of some Object, which wants of that Uniformity, that constitutes Beauty. See BEAUTY.'Tis an Inquiry of some Delicacy, and Importance, whether there be any such Thing as absolute Deformity. Our Perception of the Idea's of Beauty, and Harmony is justly reckon'd a Sense; From its Affinity to the other Senses, in this, that the Pleasure does not arise from any Knowledge of Principles, Proportions, Causes, Uses, &c. but strikes at first View; as also in this, that the Ideas of Beauty, like other sensible Ideas, are necessarily pleasant to us, as well as immediately. See SENSE.But, as the other Senses, which give us Pleasure, do also give us Pain; does this Sense of Beauty make any Objects disagreeable to us, and the Occasion of Pain?That many Objects give no Pleasure to our Sense, is obvious; many are certainly void of Beauty: But then, says a late excellent Author, there is no Form which seems necessarily disagreeable of it self, when we dread no other Evil from it, and compare it with nothing better of the Kind. Many Objects are naturally displeasing, and distasteful to our external Senses, as well as others pleasing, and agreeable; as Smells, Tastes, and some separate Sounds: But for our Sense of Beauty, no Composition of Objects, which give not unpleasant simple Ideas, seems positively unpleasant, or painful of it self, had we never observ'd any Thing better of the Kind.Deformity, then, is only the Absence of Beauty, or a Deficiency in the Beauty expected in any Species: Thus bad Music pleases Rusticks, who never heard any better; and the finest Ear is not offended with tuning of Instruments, if it be not too tedious, where no Harmony is expected: And yet much smaller Dissonancy shall offend amidst the Performance, where Harmony is expected. A rude Heap of Stones is no way offenfive to one who shall be displeased with Irregularity in Architecture, where Beauty was expected. And had there been a Species of the Form, which we now denominate ugly, or deformed, and had we never seen, or expected greater Beauty, we should have receiv'd no Disgust from it. Tho' the Pleasure would not have been so great in this Form as in those we now admire. Our Sense of Beauty seems design'd to give us positive Pleasure; but not positive Pain, or Disgust, any further than what arises from Disappointment.There are indeed many Faces which at first View are apt to raise Dislike. But this is generally not from any positive Deformity, which of it self is positively displeasing, but either from Want of expected Beauty, or from the carrying some natural Indications of morally bad Dispositions, which we all acquire a Faculty of discerning in Countenances, Airs, and Gestures. That this is not occasion'd by any Form positively disgusting, appears hence, that if upon long Acquaintance we are sure of finding Sweetness of Temper, Humanity, and Cheerfulness, tho' the bodily Form continues, it shall give us no Disgust. There are Horrors rais'd by some Objects, which are only the Effect of Fear for our selves, or Compassion towards others, when either Reason, or some foolish Association of Ideas makes us apprehend Danger, and not the Effect of any Thing in the Form it self. For we find, that most of those Objects, which excite Horror at first, when Experience, or Reason has removed the Fear, may become the Occasion of Pleasure; as in ravenous Beasts, a tempestuous Sea, a craggy Precipice, a dark shady Valley, &c.This Association of Ideas makes many Objects beautiful and pleasant. The Beauty of Trees, their cool Shades, and their Aptness to conceal from Observation, have made Groves, and Woods, the usual Retreat of those who love Solitude, especially the Religious, the Pensive, the Melancholy, and the Amorous: And do not we find, that we have so joyn'd the Ideas of those Dispositions of Mind, with those external Objects, that they always occur to us along with them? And according as the Habits, or Passions contracted, or gratified therein give us Pleasure, or Pain, Remembrance is pleasurable, or painful. The Dim Light in Gothic Buildings has had an Association of a very foreign Idea, which Milton expresses in his Epithet, A dim religious Light. After the like Manner, the casual Conjunction of Ideas give us Disgusts where there is nothing disagreeable in the Form it self. And this, in Effect, is the Cause of most of our fantastic Aversions to the Figures of divers Animals, &c. Thus Serpents of all Kinds, and many Insects, really beautiful enough are beheld with Avetsion by many People, who have got some accidental Ideas associated to them. See ASSOCIATION of Ideas.