Call me superficial and shallow. Call me whatever you want. But from the bottom of my heart, the thing I hold most dear to my heart is aesthetics.
According to the Oxford online dictionary, aesthetic is an adjective that 1. is “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.” and 1.1 “giving or designed to give pleasure through beauty.” It is also noun that is a “set of principles underlying the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.”
If you’re jiggy with the cool kids of this generation i.e. young millennials and generation X you would be aware of the fact that aesthetic has become somewhat of a Tumblr trend and “meme” that alludes to your online content and atmosphere looking a lot like this:
Beautiful artistic photographs that have a certain grunge, alternative, or quirky atmosphere to them often times plastered with Japanese symbols or phrases that teenagers often use. So Tumblr. There are different types of factions in this Tumblr aesthetic but what most people picture when they see the word “aesthetic” online, is this.
According to Wikipedia, aesthetics is actually a branch of philosophy that focuses on “the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation and appreciation of beauty.” Out of all definitions of “aesthetic”, this would be the most accurate definition of the way I see aesthetics. It’s an appreciation of beauty in all parts of our lives. However, there’s a Danish word that sums it all up perfectly: “hygge”.
Hygge, to me, is the ultimate aesthetic because to me, aesthetics are more than just the visual appeal or the themes of photographs and settings. To me, “aesthetic” is just a synonym for “atmosphere.” How does this setting make you feel? How does this picture make you feel? What type of atmosphere does this create? These are the most important questions to ask when viewing works of art because what we’re actually absorbing when we look at them is the energy it is emitting- the energy that is created by the atmosphere. That energy and atmosphere relationship is essentially what aesthetic is and my personal answer to all of these questions is “comfy” which is exactly what hygge means (kinda).
These are just two of countless definitions of “hygge” you can find on the internet. You see, there is no direct translation of this Danish word in English and I think it’s because hygge is more of a feeling and an aesthetic than an actual fathomable put-in-a-box one-word definition type of thing. Hygge basically means “cosiness” and the great thing about “hygge” is that it can mean whatever you want it to mean. It’s your definition of cosiness. These pictures are descriptions of what the creators define as cosiness. There is no ultimate “hygge” (although I’m sure there are some Danish folk out there who would disagree with me) because it’s subjective. “Hygge” is all about what you find warm, comfortable, and cosy.
And what I find comfortable and cosy is cold warmth. The feeling you get when there’s a thunderstorm outside and you’re listening to the XX while drinking a chai latte and reading a book. It’s the feeling you get when you’re in a large bustling city that on a superficial level looks cold and unaccepting with its high rise buildings and everyone around you speed walking as if they need to be somewhere at exactly 11:37 or their whole family will be murdered by a gang of intimidating thugs. However, once you search deeper you discover the rich, warm, inner life of the city. You’ll find building walls turned into murals dedicated to 2Pac and quaint antique shops on random corners. You’ll find the warmth and comfort in the cold and unforgiving. That is my aesthetic.
As previously mentioned, aesthetics is more than just what a work of art looks like but how it makes you feel because that’s what you’re really resonating with when you see something you like. This entire existence is a work of art. Our lives are a work of art. You, me, we are works of art. The way you look and behave is a design created by God. Everything around us, nature, food, buildings, furniture, games, television, and music is all art created by something or someone. So, if a picture can create such a warm atmosphere in your heart then wouldn’t you want your entire life to create that same feeling? Wouldn’t you want every picture you take to have that feeling? Wouldn’t you want your house, your room, and your personal style to have that same feeling? Because it’s all art, and art has the power to exude energy. So, once you’ve found the aesthetic that personally resonates with you, that personally gives you that comfy hygge feeling, wouldn’t you want all aspects of your life to have that aesthetic? I mean, they create an atmosphere that fills you with joy. Don’t you want that joy to seep into every part of your existence? Don’t you want to be that joy? Energy is incredibly powerful and certain atmospheres emit certain energies so wouldn’t you want to be surrounded by the energy that makes you happy?
I know I do. That’s why I want to live in Berlin and that’s why aesthetics are so important to me. It’s energy that brings me happiness without me having to do anything. It’s just me absorbing the energy that exists at the same frequency of my heart. It’s energy that births an unfathomable and immeasurable type of joy within you just because something exists in a certain way.
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s amazing.