My Aunt Who Is A Nun Wrote Me This

told her that life didn’t have a higher purpose and that we are just the result of material chemicals and natural selection. She wrote me this…

“Oh, Bill, life is richer and more beautiful than that - the interplay of matter that has always existed ! The human person : with his openess to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, his longings for the infinite and for happiness discerns signs of his spirituality, irreductible to the merely material. Human intelligence has to be capable of finding a response. It´s so important for all of human life. The transcendent origen of the world opens a great window through which the human reason can know with certainty that our existence has a purpose.”

How Do Philosophers/scientists explain consciousness and the want for happiness and the infinite? Our appreciation of beauty?

— Hello Bill!
Perhaps the “chemicals” and evolution are the reason we have love and appreciation for beauty.

well yea… but i was hoping for an answer in more detail. Like why did we evolve to appreciate beauty?

Beautiful people are often very healthy people, and mating with healthy people means it’s more likely that your offspring will be healthy.

I think my aunt means beauty in nature and art.

in my opinion our appreciation of forms was an attempt to spot predators in the undergrowth.

Love is a reproductive device meant to keep people each other to afford their children protection. Have you ever considered how much easier life would be without love? But so much more boring.

Most of the “higher thought processes” are accidental off shoots of the mind moving from modular to combined where processes overlapped. It was all originally thought to have happened to make us better liars and better imitators (so we can learn generation to generation) and then kinda went from there.

So there’s not really a “why” to answer, it just happened because of the way our brain is arranged.

The mistake that a lot of people then make is that because there’s no reason for us to appreciate art (i.e. because God deemed it so, or whatever other reason rocks your boat) that it is somehow tainted. That’s is not true.

When Newton showed how light was made up of different colours and thus explained the rainbow he was accused by some poets of destroying the magic of the rainbow. One with an open mind can in fact look at if from the other direction, knowing how a rainbow is formed actually makes it more magical.

Matt said:

Exactly! art is the lie that knows itself as lie and in that respect it is honest! Beautiful paradox!

When I hear a noise with my ear, my eardrum vibrates like the air vibrated to carry the noise to me. If the noise is loud it can vibrate my ear so much causing it to be damaged, these types of noise are unpleasant to hear, because of the damage and pain the vibration of the noise is causing to my ear. While another type of noise might gently vibrate my ear and the ear finds this pleasant and soothing (like the way if someone gently rubs their hand along your arm it’s enjoyable). But a single noise to the mind can become boring very fast, so you need to arrange these noises in interesting patters a.k.a. musical songs. That way you have noises that the ear and the brain can both enjoy on different levels. The same is true for the eye, as bright lights will cause them pain because they’re becoming damaged. Like the way sounds vibrate the ear, if you look at colours from opposite ends of the visible light spectrum and are side by side on a page. When you look at one then the other in quick succession for a couple of seconds it starts to tire the eyes. This is because the iris is going to its max, and minimum focal lengths. This is actually giving your eye mussels a workout! Looking at certain colour combinations can have the same affect as the hand caressing you arm, but on your eyes. But again it must also contain some method of stimulation for the mind to be “intellectual” stimulated. I use the word intellectual very loosely here, to mean a simple puzzle or some interesting pattern that the mind can enjoy thinking about.

Physical factors set aside; how we interpret what we perceive is also affected by emotional attachments to events and other peoples’ emotions, seen through body language, or vocal tones & pitches in speech. If we see a certain emotional characteristic that a person in a painting or photo is displaying, it allows us to get a deeper understanding into the meaning of what the purpose of the picture is trying to express (i.e. “intellectual stimulation”). Even old memories triggered by the picture will change our appreciation for the picture, does it bring back a happy or sad emotional response. All these factors effect the enjoyment and other emotional responses that this stimulus is producing in our own mind, as each person will perceive it slightly differently, because their life experiences and mental predisposition are different. Like the stoics say, “Man is the measure of all things.”

Some people don’t want or need a rational understanding of why we feel the way we do when simulated by certain stimuli. The emotional experience is enough for them. Yet for others logic is the more dominant so only logical understanding of the stimulus will suffice.

Beauty is no more then a mix of these things stirred together and slowly brought to a boil. Hidden in the subconscious mind lies the formula for our perfect Beauty. But hidden it will remain till the day we meet someone with those characteristics, and the obviousness of the match is plain to see. When Beauty is at last revealed by the eye of the beholder.