Ageing is a natural process, not a disease, although ageing makes us more susceptible to diseases and less able to heal from them. And while ageing is not a disease, neither is youth synonymous with health.
The concept of healthy ageing is gaining traction in the marketplace of ideas, and helps to highlight the aspects of ageing over which we have some control. While ageing is inescapable, the rate at which it progresses towards its logical conclusion does vary considerably across the human population.
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While we commonly think of beauty as the domain of the painter or poet, a convincing body of research suggests that our cultural definition of beauty may be better expressed in science and mathematics. In fact, artists and philosophers have long approached beauty as a science, at least since the Renaissance.
For all the emphasis we put on a pretty face, aesthetic perfection is not unique to the human form. Sunflowers, seashells, classical architecture—these unrelated examples of beauty are explained by what is called “the golden ratio” (aka, the golden section or the golden mean). It is a geometric relationship first discovered by the ancient Greeks, of roughly 1 to 1.6, which they called ‘PHI.’ When objects are designed with this ratio in mind—let’s say the width of a building’s façade compared to its height—the form is regarded as aesthetically pleasing.
Other have argued for a Darwinian explanation for beauty, a sort of “survival of the prettiest”. And typically emphasize healthy facial features as the goal, as a reflection of overall biological health. Those displaying asymmetry of features, or bearing marks of damage or age, are judged “unhealthy” and not desirable for reproduction of the species. Beauty and survival get bound together.