Biological roots of beauty or Natural Ergonomics

Beauty may not be in the eyes of the beholder rather it may be in our being. Like hunger makes us eat, beauty makes us act in a most economical and harmonious manner. Our acts reduce the cognitive as well as physical 'overload' by creating an organic order or rhythm in what we do. Like breathing and digestion, this is not a choice but embedded in our biology, in order to exist.

The innate urge for order and 'comfort' among human beings produces actions, postures, processes and products that are apt to the particular action they are into. This innate urge for ease and order could be seen as the biological roots of beauty and may be that this urge is part and parcel of all living beings to coexist in order harmony, both internally and externally. For the time being one could call this aspect 'beauty' which is part and parcel of the operative principle of life. One could understand this as the natural ergonomics of the living system that enables the most apt action. This response is not out of any conscious decision but inherent in the way life happens or one could say it is our nature to be in beauty. This aptness exists whenever there is freedom for natural and spontaneous action. In modern spaces as spaces have become more and more formal, rigid and defined, the natural response seems to have been curbed.

In order to understand beauty as a biological principle one has to re examine the current notions about art, aesthetics, ergonomics, learning process and its history etc.

Re-imagining Ergonomics

Modern products and lifestyles initiated the study called ergonomics to make it easy and comfortable for the user. Nevertheless it was the products and new spaces that dictated the outcome of the study. Moreover, an artifact filled space would naturally dictate man how to behave. In that sense products have more control over the humans and are defining how one should live. Kitchen space has become industry like and even the whole home. Almost all our actions are dictated by the logic used in the industrial workspace and all actions performed sitting have been turned into standing posture.

Natural ergonomics is an attempt to study how people created 'products' and actions in response to their needs and also how they used traditional spaces which did not have too many artifacts. Natural ergonomics could be defined as the most appropriate, most comfortable and least energy spending posture in performing any activity. Unlike modern ergonomics where the human is made to fit in to the products and actions produced by modernity natural ergonomics is about all living beings, how they respond to their natural habitat.

We have been studying rural tribal non literate people, especially artisans from 1999 and have been able to find a pattern in the manner most activities were done. This is also supported by our study on how children learn the real WORLD and how they respond with 'ease'.