Once again I thank everyone for this lively and enlightening discussion. Now that so much discussion has taken place, I'm actually able to slightly better articulate what I was groping at in my original questions, which is: Yes
, beauty is a subjective response to stimuli; Yes
, whether a being will 'see' pleasing things or not depends on his/her previous kamma; However
, there being trillions of beings sharing the same universe(s), and there also being some generally agreed upon standards
of what constututes 'the beautiful' vs what constitutes 'ugliness', it would appear that it is not purely
a subjective experience, but a feature
of the world, a 'universal' rather than just a 'subjective' reality.
Anyway, maybe it's all getting over-intellectualized...I've been accused of that in the past (not in this forum) but then again, I'm the speculative type, so that's my acquired tendency
...but I'm still glad I asked the question, and I don't see it as pointless. Even if beauty has no inherent essence, and even if beautiful objects ultimately change and become otherwise over time (or immediately upon closer inspection, eg the human body), I still appreciate the mystery of how certain objects (eg flowers, the moon, and still, calm evenings) were nonetheless appreciated even by the One who had no craving whatsoever
for them (the Tathagatha) as being pleasant and agreeable. For me, beauty still inspires reverence, just as truth does.