The Environment for Wellbeing: The Need for Therapeutic Places of Care and the Languages of Proportions and Colours

  • Maria Giulia Marini


In ancient Greece, the concepts of beauty (kalos) and good (agathos) were considered as one: beauty implied goodness, and, vice versa, the individual virtue spreads charm. Ethics and aesthetics blend, and in the so-called kalokagathia, the ideal of the evolution of the human people could not be separated. Likewise, the term ‘aesthetic’, which comes from the word ‘aesthesis’—sensorial perception—includes more than just the visual perception: it stands for a global perception with all given senses (Online Etymology Dictionary n.d.), encompassing the impression left by what is perceived. In the original meaning of the concept, tactile and visual perception constitutes a whole, together with hearing and feeling. Even scent is part of the aesthesis, as well discernment, which is part of the aesthetic experience. If we think about something very familiar to the medical world, we might refer to the ‘anaesthesia’, i.e. simply the blocking of the body’s sensorial perception either at a general or a local level. As an oxymoron, anaesthesia seems quite to block the aesthesis, the aesthetic experience. We are definitely grateful to a group of researchers and physicians in Boston who discovered the anaesthetic gas in surgery at the end on the nineteenth century. They were not the first: probably, many centuries ago, anaesthetics herbs were used both for healing and for sacrifice. Calling in action the meaning of anaesthesia, I thought it to be powerful enough to explain deeply the roots of an aesthetic experience, something perceived by the whole body, and this something produces something good just by the fact of the engagement of our sensorial and logical system with the world around, the people around and the air around the body.

Keywords of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage

Be somewhere There is Here Where Place Above Below Far near Side Inside 


  1. Anthes E (2009) How room designs affect your work and mood—brain research can help us craft spaces that relax, inspire, awaken, comfort and heal. Scientific American Mind, Scientific American.
  2. Chatterjee A (2011) Neuroaesthetics: a coming of age story. J Cogn Neurosci 23(1):53–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Conway BR (2012) Color consilience: color through the lens of art practice, history, philosophy, and neuroscience. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1251:77–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Online Etymology Dictionary (n.d.) Definition of aesthetic.
  5. Di Dio C, Macaluso E, Rizzolatti G (2007) The golden beauty: brain response to classical and renaissance sculptures. PLoS One 2(11):e1201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Poincarè H (1905) Space and geometry. Chapter 4 in science and hypothesis. Walter Scott Publishing, London, pp 51–71Google Scholar
  7. Ishizu T, Zeki S (2011) Toward a brain-based theory of beauty. PLoS One 6(7):e21852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kosslyn SM (2005) Mental images and the brain. Cogn Neuropsychol 22:3–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Marini MG, Chesi P, Bruscagnin M, Ceccatelli M, Ruzzon E (2017) Digits and narratives of the experience of Italian families facing premature births. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 22:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. O’Connor Z (2011) Colour psychology and color therapy: caveat emptor. Color Res Appl 36(3):229–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Rizzolatti G, Craighero L (2004) The mirror-neuron system. Annu Rev Neurosci 27:169–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Rizzolatti G, Craighero L (2007) Language and mirror neurons. In: Gareth Gaskell M (ed) The Oxford handbook of psycholinguistics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Sternberg EM (2009) Healing spaces: the science of place and well-being. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  14. Ulrich RS (2002) Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals. Paper for conference, Plants for People—International Exhibition FloriadeGoogle Scholar
  15. Zeki S (1998) Art and the brain. Daedalus 127(2):71–103Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Giulia Marini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Healthcare InnovationFondazione ISTUDMilanItaly

Personalised recommendations