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There is thus an emotional or affective component in the beauty of the intellect just as there is in the immediate beauty of perception.
And this experience of the beautiful through the intellect may reinforce our attributing value to nature here as well, but a deeper kind of value, the intrinsic value I talked about in the last essay.
Here it is not only that nature is valuable because it is beautiful, but nature is beautiful because it possesses intrinsic value, grounded in its intelligible structure.
So in Emerson we might find the resources for seeing evolution and the drive to survive as a beautiful rather than an ugly process, governed by laws that tend to increase reproductive fitness and that we can understand through observation and inquiry.
And lastly, Emerson points to the relation between what we take to be an individual and the rest of nature as a quality of the beautiful.
To help you with this I recommend this little experiment with color blocking.
Our goal here is to create a bold composition with loud but harmonious color combinations, vibrant hues, and strong graphic elements.Nature can reveal its beauty in all places and at all times to the eye that knows how to look for it.We can hear Emerson wrangle with himself on this very point in the words of this journal entry: At night I went out into the dark and saw a glimmering star and heard a frog, and Nature seemed to say, Well do not these suffice? Ponder it, Emerson, and not like the foolish world, hanker after thunders and multitudes and vast landscapes, the sea or Niagara. Emerson says that nature is beautiful because it is alive, moving, reproductive.He writes that “the question of Beauty takes us out of surfaces, to thinking of the foundations of things.” In other words, we can also experience the world as beautiful because of its rational structure and our ability to grasp that structure through thought.Think for instance of the geometric structure of a crystal, or snowflake, or nautilus shell.Although I’ve been advocating an approach to nature based on its intelligibility, we are far from tying down the giant that is nature with our minds.Emerson writes that “the perception of the inexhaustibleness of nature is an immortal youth.” Although we shall continue to try to uncover nature’s secrets, let us also continue to take pleasure in our immediate encounter with her.Let us continue to be awe-struck, like the child on the seashore, or clambering up a tree.Let us hold onto that experience, and fight for the environment that makes it possible, both for the child in each of us, and for those that come after us.To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.The close observer of nature sees a river in constant flux, even when the river’s water is frozen and everything appears to be static and unchanging for a time.