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Table of contents
PREFACE
TOUCH-1
TOUCH-2
TOUCH-3 (begin)
TOUCH-3 (end)
TOUCH-4 (begin)
TOUCH-4 (end)
SMELL-1
SMELL-2
SMELL-3.1
SMELL-3.2
SMELL-3.3
SMELL-3.4
SMELL-3.5
SMELL-4 (begin)
SMELL-4 (end)
SMELL-5
HEARING-1
HEARING-2
HEARING-3
VISION-1.1
VISION-1.2
VISION-1.3
VISION-2.1
VISION-2.2
VISION-2.3
VISION-2.4
VISION-3
VISION-4
VISION-5
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B HISTORY-1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.2
APPENDIX B HISTORY-2.3
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.1
APPENDIX B HISTORY-3.2
INDEX OF AUTHORS

VISION 

 

I. 

 

Primacy of Vision in Man--Beauty as a Sexual Allurement--The Objective 

Element in Beauty--Ideals of Feminine Beauty in Various Parts of the 

World--Savage Women sometimes Beautiful from European Point of 

View--Savages often Admire European Beauty--The Appeal of Beauty to some 

Extent Common even to Animals and Man. 

 

 

Vision is the main channel by which man receives his impressions. To a 

large extent it has slowly superseded all the other senses. Its range is 

practically infinite; it brings before us remote worlds, it enables us to 

understand the minute details of our own structure. While apt for the most 

abstract or the most intimate uses, its intermediate range is of universal 

service. It furnishes the basis on which a number of arts make their 

appeal to us, and, while thus the most aesthetic of the senses, it is the 

sense on which we chiefly rely in exercising the animal function of 

nutrition. It is not surprising, therefore, that from the point of view of 

sexual selection vision should be the supreme sense, and that the 

love-thoughts of men have always been a perpetual meditation of beauty. 

 

It would be out of place here to discuss comparatively the origins of our 

ideas of beauty. That is a question which belongs to aesthetics, not to 

sexual psychology, and it is a question on which aestheticians are not 

altogether in agreement. We need not even be concerned to make any 

definite assertion on the question whether our ideas of sexual beauty have 

developed under the influence of more general and fundamental laws, or 

whether sexual ideals themselves underlie our more general conceptions of 

beauty. Practically, so far as man and his immediate ancestors are 

concerned, the sexual and the extra-sexual factors of beauty have been 

interwoven from the first. The sexually beautiful object must have 

appealed to fundamental physiological aptitudes of reaction; the 

generally beautiful object must have shared in the thrill which the 

specifically sexual object imparted. There has been an inevitable action 

and reaction throughout. Just as we found that the sexual and the 

non-sexual influences of agreeable odors throughout nature are 

inextricably mingled, so it is with the motives that make an object 

beautiful to our eyes.[131] 

 

The sexual element in the constitution of beauty is well 

recognized even by those writers who concern themselves 

exclusively with the aesthetic conception of beauty or with its 

relation to culture. It is enough to quote two or three 

testimonies on this point. "The whole sentimental side of our 

aesthetic sensibility," remarks Santayana, "--without which it 

would be perceptive and mathematical rather than aesthetic,--is 

due to our sexual organization remotely stirred.... If anyone 

were desirous to produce a being with a great susceptibility to 

beauty, he could not invent an instrument better designed for 

that object than sex. Individuals that need not unite for the 


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