Wonder and Other Survival Skills

Wendee HOLTCAMP (wendee@greendzn.com)
Wed, 22 Apr 1998 22:09:24 -0500

There's a great article in the current issue (Spring 1998) of Orion
Magazine by Scott Russell Sander, called "Beauty," under their special
section on "Wonder and Other Survival Skills." It touches on "natural
revelation" via the wonder of the world, and the appreciation of beauty in
both people and the natural world, and how this is more than merely
"obeying our genes."

As he says "Otherwise, how could a man who is programmed to lust after
every nubile female nonetheless be steadily attracted, year after year, to
the same woman? Why would I plant my yard with flowers I cannot eat?"


"The most incomprehensible thing about the universe, as Einstein said, is
that it's comprehensible. How unlikely, that a short-lived biped on a
two-bit planet should be able to gauge the speed of light, to lay bare the
structure of an atom, or calculate the gravitational pull of a black hole."


"This predilection [for discerning beauty/patterns] brings with it a clear
evolutionary advantage, for the ability to recognize pattersn helped our
ancestors to select mates, find food, avoid predators. But the same
advantage would apply to all species, and yet we alone compose symphonies
and crossword puzzles, carve stone into statues, map time and space. ... I
am convinced there is more to beauty than biology, more than cultural
convention. It flows around us and through us in such abundance, and in
such myriad forms, as to exceed by a wide margin any mere evolutionary need."


"Beauty feeds us from the same source that created us. It reminds us of the
shaping power that reaches through the flower stem and through our own
hands. It restores our faith in te generosity of nature. By giving us a
taste of the kinship between our own small minds and the great Mind of teh
Cosmos, beauty reassures us that we are exactly and wonderfully made for
life on this glorious planet, in this magnificent universe. I find in that
affinity a profound source of meaning and hope."

I highly recommend this for anyone! Excellent writing, excellent reading.
Orion has a web site but the articles are not online. But you can check it
out at http://www.orionsociety.org/orion.html

Wendee Holtcamp -- GREENDESIGN Communications
Environment/Nature/Adventure-Travel Writing
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