Is beauty an evolutionary cheat sheet? What is beauty's utility? (Or as my niece once posed on her Facebook, will it get you free drinks?) In a recent NYT Science article several interesting questions were posed (but like Vanna White...or Barbie) ...never really resolved.
“We’ve been explaining away desire rather than actually trying to understand or explain it.” Says Dr. Richard O. Prum, a Yale ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, about his new book, “The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us. Cont'd below...
The beauty that thrills me, may not do a thing for you.
That's the way of it. What I think of as awesome, you might see as (literal) trash. A few of us (of the eight billion humans on the planet) have the blessing of great choice. We can pursue our longings and our discontents as clues to our best lives lived...or not. (Some do their best to steer the other way.)
From the perspective of the last-time-we-put-our-head-down-on-the-pillow, it can be the difference between satisfaction and sadness.
As a hospice chaplain, I use beauty as a pause button.
A garden rose, a paper angel, a poem, a YouTube performance of favorite music or whatever flavor of beauty that speaks to my patients, it helps them (and me) expand and just rest in the moment...or transport us into life's review.
"Wow, that's beautiful..." Sometimes that's all it takes to turn our backs on fear and face a better way.
Beauty is both a sail and a rudder. What do you use to steer toward your heart's desire?
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