I have been contemplating for a long time the seeming mystery of beauty, both what and why it is. Are we attracted to certain forms rather than others due to:
1. Conditioning. A male human feels attracted to a female human form, but repulsed by a female lobster form for example. But a male lobster would see things otherwise! So it is very subjective.
2. Mathematical laws (such as the Golden Mean, Fibonacci Numbers and their relationship with the growth of living things in general). I have read that human faces, for example, that have more of certain mathematical relationships expressed in their structures are generally agreed upon as being more beautiful than those that don't (if this is the case, I wouldn't do particularly well here...). Also that these same laws are expressed in the patterns of growth and thus structures in flowers, seashells, trees etc...
3. Last of all (the non-Buddhist explanation) is what I used to believe, and what has been seriously brought into question by my years of Buddhist practice: Beauty in this world is the mundane reflection of the true Beauty of the Divine / Ultimate / Nibbanic (whatever you wish to call the Summum Bonum) realm. Beauty, as it were, is the fingerprint left by the Divine Orderer, (who / which) makes available both all of the manifested universes, and the process of Awakening itself. (Ok...some old Hindu influences here...).
I personally find beautiful things (eg sunsets, flowers, the moon,the blue sky...) very soothing and conducive to mental calm, and I note that the Buddha makes use of images of beauty in his analogies (of various sublime states of mind, for example). But what is beauty, actually? I am very eager to be informed of any scriptural elucidations on this subject, if they exist, or just the realizations. opinions or musings of others.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."