Week Two, math, Yu Hsiao


In the lecture, there were a lot of references of beauty being connected to the golden ratio, Fibonacci’s ratio, etc. It seems like beauty matters, a lot. In modern media, there is sort of this ideology that we shouldn’t be so shallow and always emphasize beauty. We should look for personalities rather than the looks. But the truth is, beauty does matter. In a research done by BBC, babies were exposed to pictures of individuals, some ugly, and some very pretty. The babies cried or stayed away from the ugly pictures. And of course, the babies spent more time around the beautiful face of a woman. Studies also show that beautiful people get better paid jobs, and get better opportunities in a society. So the question is, is this potent force in our lives, our connection to beauty, a total subjective thing where it is different from person to person, or is there, a very scientific, and universal rule to beauty?
It turns out that, scientists have found a pattern for beauty. One of them is the golden ratio. We can see the golden ratio celebrities’ faces, such as Angelina Jolie, or Elizabeth Hurley. The dimensions of their faces have direction connections to the golden ratios. Other works of art, such as the Parthenon, which is considered one of the most beautiful architectural works of the Greeks, have also connections to the golden ratio. So it’s definitely not a coincident that the golden ratio is apparent in beautiful things. Though we can say that if something has the golden ratio in them, it could be beautiful, it is my opinion that we can’t say a person and anything must have the golden ratio to be beautiful. Beauty is completely subjective. The picture of the ugly person in the youtube video I posted, might be found beautiful by other babies. With Popper’s view, mentioned in the last week, we cannot simply prove that all babies find that picture ugly, so therefore, we can assume that there must be some individuals out there who would find that picture attractive. I also talked about this with my friend. Each person has their own sense of tastes for the opposite sex. We came to a conclusion that everyone will find someone that will find them attractive. If not so, then how do couples, of not so good looking get married?  Individuals will all find beauty in things that have no golden ratios or other connections to scientifically proven patterns.

In the lecture we also talked about how beautiful music can be created through mathematical equations. One example was a website that had music that were made from mathematical symbols. There was a music made based on the pattern of pi. There was a piece of music made based on the patterns of the Pascal’s Triangle. It bothered me that, they made music from math, and feeling-less functions, instead of making music that expressed their feelings. I agree that, we could probably find, a universal pattern, like the golden ratio, among all good pieces of music. But I do not think music should be created from solely from mathematical equations. Music should be created from an individual’s creativity and feelings. It’s meant to be performed by a person to express one’s virtuosity in music, and also one’s feelings. To make sounds based on mathematical origins, then it destroys the whole purpose of music.

I have been in a band for 3 years now, and we’ve performed at some concerts in our high school. To me, music was about performing in front of an audience. No matter how big or small the audience is, I feel that playing music is connecting with my audience. It could be a crowd of three hundred people, or it could as small as a single loyal friend. Playing music made from feelings, and creativity of one’s own unique mind expresses words of meaningful stories, that comes from one’s experiences, encounters, and journeys. I feel that the music presented in the lecture this week has almost no meaning. Though it might sound nice, and delightful, or beautiful in some people’s perspective, after all, the music itself is made from a bunch of numbers. Surely you can argue that those numbers come from nature, but there’s no stories behind those numbers that we can relate to as individuals. In my second youtube video, this is a concert held by the famous band Queen in the Wembley Stadium. We can see that the singer makes connection with the audience, and the audience sings with the singer, making the vibe of the song constructively unite together. It makes the music more meaningful, when you can connect and relate to the story behind it.

I think this week, the professor is trying to teach the idea that beauty and science can be fused together, and beauty can be scientifically engineered, such as the perspective drawing, where if the artist makes correct mathematical measurements, then the drawing can be near perfect and have beauty. I agree that those scientific patterns could be found in works of art that contains beauty, but I do not think that works of beauty should created from those patterns. Rather they should be created from emotional creativity. Also, how we judge beauty in people in general should be also how we feel, rather than sticking by those scientific ratios. If we make things based on those guide lines and ratios to make them beautiful, then we might as well be robots that make things based on what we know, rather than what we could make out of nothing, by imagination. After all, according to Einstein, imagination is more important than knowledge.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.