Jordan Peterson, a renowned Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, has gained a significant following with his thought-provoking ideas on various aspects of life. In this article, we delve into Peterson’s thoughts on beauty, its importance, and how it affects our lives. By understanding his perspectives, we can gain a deeper appreciation for aesthetics and the role they play in our everyday experiences.

jordan peterson on beauty

The Biological Basis of Beauty

Peterson posits that our appreciation of beauty has deep evolutionary roots. The concept of beauty, he argues, is grounded in our biological and psychological makeup. Humans have developed an innate preference for certain visual patterns and characteristics that signify health, fertility, and well-being. These preferences evolved over time, as our ancestors sought mates who possessed traits that would increase the likelihood of producing healthy offspring.

For example, facial symmetry is often considered a sign of beauty, as it may indicate good genes and a strong immune system. Similarly, the preference for certain body proportions, like the waist-to-hip ratio, may be linked to reproductive health. Peterson contends that our brains are hardwired to be attracted to such features, ensuring that we are drawn to individuals who are more likely to be successful in the game of life.

Beauty as a Window to the Divine

Peterson also explores the metaphysical aspect of beauty, asserting that it serves as a window to the divine or transcendent. He argues that our appreciation of beauty is not merely a superficial, hedonistic pursuit; rather, it is a profound experience that connects us to something greater than ourselves.

When we encounter beauty, we are momentarily transported out of our mundane lives and connected to a higher reality, something that transcends our ordinary experiences. This connection to the transcendent can provide a sense of meaning and purpose, which is essential for our psychological well-being.

Beauty in Art, Literature, and Culture

Peterson discusses the importance of beauty in various forms of human expression, such as art, literature, and culture. He contends that these expressions of beauty serve as a means for individuals to explore and communicate profound truths about the human condition.

Art, in particular, plays a crucial role in our lives, as it provides a medium through which we can explore our deepest thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Beautiful art, according to Peterson, can elevate us to a higher plane of understanding and awareness. It can also foster a sense of awe, wonder, and appreciation for the complexities and intricacies of the world around us.

The Importance of Beauty in Everyday Life

Peterson emphasizes the importance of incorporating beauty into our daily lives, as it can profoundly impact our overall well-being. By surrounding ourselves with beautiful objects, environments, and experiences, we can cultivate a deeper sense of meaning, purpose, and contentment.

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with negative news and stressors, the appreciation of beauty can act as a balm for our weary souls. It allows us to take a step back and appreciate the wonders of life, providing a much-needed respite from the chaos that often surrounds us.

The Pursuit of Beauty as a Moral Endeavor

Peterson argues that the pursuit of beauty is not only an aesthetic endeavor but also a moral one. By striving to create and appreciate beauty, we are engaging in an act of self-improvement and contributing to the betterment of society.

He suggests that cultivating an appreciation for beauty can help us develop a deeper understanding of ourselves and others, fostering empathy, compassion, and a sense of connectedness. In this way, the pursuit of beauty goes beyond mere aesthetics; it becomes a means of personal growth and transformation, allowing us to become better individuals and, in turn, contribute positively to our communities.

Jordan Peterson's Tips for Appreciating Beauty

Peterson offers practical advice for cultivating a deeper appreciation of beauty in our lives. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Be mindful of your surroundings: Take time to notice and appreciate the beauty around you, whether it’s in nature, architecture, or everyday objects.

  2. Engage with art: Visit galleries, museums, and other cultural institutions to immerse yourself in the world of art. This will help you develop a more profound understanding of beauty and its various expressions.

  3. Read widely: Delve into literature, philosophy, and other fields that explore the concept of beauty. This will broaden your perspective and deepen your appreciation for the subject.

  4. Create beauty: Engage in activities that allow you to express your creativity, whether it’s painting, writing, or even gardening. Creating beauty can help you understand its importance and value on a personal level.

  5. Share your experiences: Discuss your encounters with beauty with friends and loved ones. Sharing your insights and experiences can enrich your understanding of beauty and foster deeper connections with others.

Jordan Peterson on Beauty: Conclusion

Jordan Peterson’s views on beauty offer a thought-provoking exploration of the role that aesthetics play in our lives. By understanding the biological, metaphysical, and cultural aspects of beauty, we can begin to appreciate its importance in our everyday experiences.

Incorporating beauty into our lives not only enriches our existence but also serves as a moral endeavor, enabling us to grow and transform as individuals. By following Peterson’s advice on cultivating an appreciation for beauty, we can foster a greater sense of meaning, purpose, and connection in our lives, ultimately contributing to the betterment of ourselves and our communities.

In the words of the famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “The world is beautiful, but has a disease called man.” Let us strive to cure that disease by embracing the beauty that surrounds us and using it to elevate ourselves and our society to greater heights.