How to decide what is beautiful?

 14th July 2021 at 11:37pm
Word Count: 172

Beautiful things ARE sustainable things

Bruce Sterling outlines four criteria for sorting through the objects you own so as to decide what to keep and what to discard as a part of your new, sustainably designed life. (From Sterling's essay The Last Viridian Note)

  1. Beautiful Things
  2. Sentimental Things
  3. Utilitarian Things
  4. Everything else.

Categories 1–3 are worth keeping, category 4 is to be discarded.

When de Botton talks about beauty in design and architecture, his “beauty” encompasses Sterling’s top 3 categories.

But, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Sterling found the need to break his list of criteria four separate entities, and not just “beautiful things” and “everything else.” I find a well crafted hammer functional, utilitarian, and beautiful. To another, it might just be functional. The paintings and drawings I find beautiful are what another might find ugly. The things I find sentimental are unique to me. Not everyone has the same idea of what should be sustained as not everyone thinks the same things are beautiful.


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