What makes a thing beautiful is the unknown.
A streaked, pastel, candy-floss morning sky intersects and blends into a navy-violet carpet of clouds, lit from below with the deep orange glow of sunrise.
Why is this sight so breathtaking? Because it symbolizes the vast, the mysterious, that which is beyond our measure and our capacity. The grandeur of the natural world, that it is so much beyond us, is its beauty. Even the worldliest scientist feels its wonder.
A beautiful flower, a beautiful person—the principle is the same. Something unreachable, unknowable, serene, apart. A person who is not these things may be “hot” or even “gorgeous,” but she is not beautiful. There is something ultimately internal about beauty, something essential, relating to essence.
No matter how long you stare at the beautiful, it never grows stale or boring. There is much truth in Keats’ oft-quoted line, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” The joy of beholding beauty is renewed each second, just as God renews and sustains the world.
Beauty is bestowed by God—a gift, a testament to His greatness and kindness. As Rambam asserts, we can reach love of God through contemplation of the natural world, because it is such a testament.
How could one not feel love toward the provider of such exquisite, temporal fulfillment?