The question is:
“Why do people universally like ‘niceness’? Why are ‘attractive,’ ‘plush,’ ‘quality,’ and ‘stylishness’ desired?”
This may seem to be a silly question, but when you think about the universality of people’s liking of “nice” things, you see a superficial reflection of the deeper issue.
First, I’m speaking of “nice” as a way of understanding the universal [or at least it seems] desire/liking/appreciation of items/characteristics/feelings/etc. of a comparative quality or goodness: people’s like for the butterfly rather than a like for the pile of trash the butterfly is on. [This is not a discussion on defining what is/isn’t “nice.”]
Second, I’m not referring to a “desire/liking” for a “nice” thing as a greed or perverse desire. Of course, the desire for “niceness” is where the argument begin: why do people want things? But this is another topic altogether: “Human Desire.” In this discussion, I’m referring to “Why do people want nice things?” [I’m not dealing with the issues of selfishness, self-servitude/-worship.]
So, why do people like niceness? [I understand this to be a universal aspect of all people, barring some strange anomaly of character or belief.]
Is it cultural? Peer/Family-driven? Personally-developed out of selfishness?
Is it a symptom, a reflection, a sign, a superficial aspect of a deeper issue?
I believe the universal liking of nice things is a reflection of a deep, inherent knowledge of a “good” and a “bad” existing in the world.
Obviously, one could learn that the butterfly is different than the trash in the above illustration, but that is a pragmatic issue/argument, when what people are actually saying is not a judgment on “use” of the butterfly but on the “goodness, prettiness, beauty, fairness, sweetness” of the butterfly. And this is not necessarily in contrast to anything, but a statement about the good of the butterfly in general.
The universality of this “liking of niceness” reflects a knowledge of “good” [as opposed to “bad”], and this must be tied to an ultimate/universal/eternal “good,” or Good, in order for the idea and knowledge/acknowledgement of beauty/good to be universally present among all people [This is not to say that all people acknowledge the same thing(s) as “good” (speaking of which there are great similarities in the things that all people tag as “good”), but that all people do acknowledge a difference between “good” and “bad.” Even the pantheists who purport all being one, and say “good and bad are the same,” still make a distinction between a “good” and a “bad.”]
What is this eternal Good? God, the Creator, the One True God that created man in his image: God made man with intellect, as a relational being, as a spiritual being, unique from all the rest of creation. Being made in the image of God means that there is a unique connection between man and God [and between God and man]: man is able to have a relationship with God, who desires this relationship and who desire it to be right/righteous.
God has done much so that man will know God in a right way, and not merely when the individual’s life is over and they are face to face with the Creator and Judge and Savior they never knew and lived their life opposed to: He has spoken to man and preserved his Word, the Bible. He has acted in history. He will come again to finalize everything, to finish evil, for beauty to triumph with finality [thought the victory is already guaranteed].
God’s beauty, his creation, the ways of the world he has created point as a reflection of their maker, as a fingerprint of the Creator.
The Creator’s fingerprint, is initials/signature, he has also put on the hearts of men. This is reflected in the hearts of all people desiring goodness, all people desiring to be treated well, to know truth, to see and live among beauty not squaller and putrid things, for life and freedom over death and slavery!
So, although people may have a motivation to have good things/nice things as defined by their peers/culture/society/family, the heart of the universal liking of niceness is a matter of the eternal God having made all men to know him, his truth, his reality, and to have a right relationship with him.