Some strange facts of life have a strong meaning, for example that proportions in nature conform to certain mathematical principles, which in turn can be grasped by the human mind – i.e. in the human mind there is a receptive system of mathematical properties which lay at the heart of natural formation. Our mind is part of natural evolution and the laws along which it proceeds. This implies, among other things in the cultural field, that tonal relations in music are grounded in nature, and that the beauty of musical works is related to both how the human mind works, and how nature is structured.
Appreciation of art is evolutionary embedded in the same system that works for survival:
The experience of mathematical beauty correlates with activity in the same part of the emotional brain – namely the medial orbito-frontal cortex – as the experience of beauty derived from art or music:
There are certain aspects of art that seem universally appealing, regardless of the environment or culture in which you grew up – indicating that there are universals in the field of aesthetics, i.e. objective standards, however subjectively interpreted:
Research indicates that, probably, basic universal aesthetic laws do apply, and that they play a role in our appreciation for art:
All this confirms Steven Semes’ observations about comparable aesthetic responses to different art forms – a subject which became a major theme in 19th century art, literature and music, the ‘holistic nature of human perception’:
Science has its limitations, since it can only investigate what can be proven. The most important things in life, i.e. for human life, cannot be ‘proven’ because they are not about things but about meanings, and are very difficult to subject to repeatable laboratory examinations. But that does not mean they are not there or that they have no meaning. When even science points towards what perceptive humans experience immediately, there is ample reason to have confidence in its reality, as we confer reality to things like justice, love, altruism, etc.