Why are we preoccupied with beauty and good taste? Here is one answer—boldly stated and perhaps exaggerated but there is something right about it. And I think wine people have an intuitive sense of beauty’s importance.
Beauty alone can confer on [Man] a social character. Taste alone brings harmony into society, because it establishes harmony in the individual. All other forms of perception divide a man, because they are exclusively based either on the sensuous or on the intellectual part of his being; only the perception of the Beautiful makes something whole of him, because both his [sensuous and rational–moral] natures must accord with it . . . Beauty alone makes all the world happy, and every being forgets its limitations as long as it experiences her enchantment.
This is from Friedrich Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man. (Schiller was an 18th Century German playwright, poet, and philosopher.)
Schiller was right that the appreciation of beauty (or more generally, art, nature, and other aesthetic objects) brings together sensuality and the intellect. Arguably, achieving the integration of these dimensions of the human personality is essential to living a rich and full life. (Whether “beauty alone makes all the world happy” depends on your definition of happiness.)
But this is why gaining wine knowledge is essential to wine appreciation. There is more to wine than just “tastes good.” Why it tastes as it does is part of the fascination and mystery. It’s that pursuit of understanding that provides the integration of the human personality that Schiller extols.
So drink wines that make you think. It’s cheaper than psychotherapy.