Influence of Cleanliness and Sense of Beauty

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The sense of beauty has a more important place in life than proven theory has ever taken in philosophy. The plastic arts, with poetry and music, are the most conspicuous monuments of this human interest, because they appeal only to contemplation, and yet have attracted to their service, in all civilized ages, an amount of effort, genius, and honour, little inferior to that given to industry, war, or religion. The fine arts, however, where aesthetic feeling appears almost pure, are by no means the only sphere in which men show their acceptance to beauty. In all products of human industry we notice the keenness with which the eye is attracted to the appearance of things: great sacrifices of time and labour are made to it in the most improper manufactures; nor does man select his dwelling, his clothes, or his companions without reference to their effect on his visual senses. Of late we have even learned that the forms of many animals are due to the survival by sensual selection of the colours and forms most attractive to the eye. There must therefore be in our nature a very extreme and wide-spread tendency to observe beauty, and to value it. No account of the principles of the mind can be at all enough that passes over so clear a faculty. A circumstance that has also contributed to the absence or to the failure of visualspeculation is the subjectivity of the phenomenon with which it deals. Man has a justice against himself: anything which is a product of his mind seems to him to be unreal or comparatively insignificant. We are satisfied only when we fancy ourselves surrounded by objects and laws independent of our nature. The ancients long speculated about the creation of the universe before they became aware of that mind which is the instrument of all speculation. The moderns, also, even within the field of psychology, have studied first the function of view and the theory of knowledge, by which we seem to be informed about external things; they have in comparison...