Saturday, February 16, 2013

Under the microscope

This post, my third blog, finally (procrastination and technology fails; it's a curse), will talk a little bit about how scientific knowledge can enhance your appreciation of the aesthetics of the natural world. I'm using the passage in the textbook about Leopold's "Land Aesthetic" and the above picture to sum up my reflections here.

What I appreciate most about Leopold and his idea of a land aesthetic, is his emphasis on the inherent qualities of the natural world.  The natural world is not always a pretty thing, but even the not-pretty parts of the environment might be necessary to maintaining the integrity of an ecosystem, or provide a service to the environment which makes it more beautiful. Most people hate spiders, but I love having them in my house in the summer because they catch the flies and mosquitoes that get in through the doors. Plus, they are adorable.

The above picture is an image of what sand looks like when placed under a microscope. To see sand on the beach, one might not think of it as "beautiful". It's brown, it's grainy, it gets everywhere, and there's just so darn much of it.  But when you take a tiny bit of it and look under a microscope you see the polished jewels and microscopic sea organism shells and skeletons, you find a beauty you might not expect.  Without scientific curiosity, there are so many aesthetic experiences we might miss out on.

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