What is beauty? Take a moment to consider your own definition. What comes to mind when you hear the word? What about that person or place or idea separates it from a normal or ugly person, place, or thing? Merriam Webster defines beauty as: “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit.” I don’t think this is a perfect definition (grilled steak gives pleasure to the senses but is not beautiful) but it doesn’t really matter, because we are more concerned with WHY. Why do certain qualities “exalt the mind or spirit”?
Perhaps your perception of something as beautiful is simply your subjective opinion. If so, there is nothing inherently or absolutely beautiful about it—it is beautiful only because you find it beautiful. Your experiences, genetic makeup, education, and senses combine to create a sense of pleasure, and you say “that is beautiful”.
There is one problem with this possibility. While tastes in food and sports (almost exclusively products of experiences, education, etc.) vary greatly from person to person, perceptions of beauty are remarkably consistent across cultures and centuries. I don’t think statistics are needed to prove the point—every man with eyes, since the dawn of time, has looked up at the stars in awe. Nearly every man, since the dawn of time, has looked at a woman and admired her beauty. Of course there are variations opinions about which exact qualities of a woman (or a musical score, or a mountain range) are beautiful, but there is a definite pattern. All people seem to have similar opinions of what is beautiful. It seems unlikely that the perception of beauty is only subjective opinion. It seems there is some objective quality to beauty, something outside of individual opinion, some standard by which we judge something to be beautiful or ugly. Perhaps every beautiful thing in this world is a Cosmic Snail Trail.
A snail trail is that shimmering residue left by a snail as it glides along. When you see the trail, you know there must have been a snail. Trails imply snails. A Cosmic Snail Trail is that beautiful quality that resides in a sunset, a moon reflected on a lake, or any other truly beautiful thing. Again, a Cosmic Snail Trail implies a Cosmic Snail – some higher standard or essence of beauty. If my CST theory is correct, then things in this world are only beautiful in so far as they are like the higher standard of beauty. If my CST theory is correct, there are plenty of other questions. Most pressing is “what is the Cosmic Snail?” I know very little of all there is to know about that, and most of what I know, I can’t teach in such a way that you would learn—half because I’m not much of a teacher, and half because some things can only be learned direct from the source.