Re: Wonder and Other Survival Skills

John Neal (
Thu, 23 Apr 1998 18:48:39 -0400

Isn't God great?!
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
-----Original Message-----
From: Wendee HOLTCAMP <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, April 22, 1998 11:09 PM
Subject: Wonder and Other Survival Skills

>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
>"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
> Wendee Holtcamp -- GREENDESIGN Communications
> Environment/Nature/Adventure-Travel Writing
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> List-Owner, Envwrite Writing Workshop
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