In beauty, there is extent and there is essence. If observing beauty, the question arises as to how much – to what extent – do I like the beauty. For example, if I hear music, how much do I like it? Is it amazing and wonderful and moving or is it not much more than a shrug of the shoulders and a meh? If I see a picture or a painting, does the beauty in the form take me to other places and make me wonder about other times or lives? Or does the picture do nothing more than make we want to look at the next picture? The point is that, in beauty, there is extent – how much do I prefer or not prefer the beauty.
But then there is essence. I argue that all things have an essence of beauty in them even if, at first glance, it appears grotesque or poorly done. It might be hard to identify the essence, but all things have an essence of beauty. A beautiful person – it’s not hard to see the essence of beauty in him or her. But a landscape of war strewn with bodies and destruction? It takes some doing but I believe there is beauty even in such an evil thing. Consider what the scene was before and what it can be after. Consider the essence of beauty in the silence and holiness of the location. Wonder about the beauty in the sheer rawness of the emotions before, during, and after the destruction.