Beauty in nature is a process, the process of life. Beauty is real and forever. It is neither in the eye of the beholder nor ephemeral. It’s there because of itself. Even if the world perishes, its existence stays real because it was, and that can’t be undone. Beauty doesn’t mind company appreciating, enjoying and enquiring into it.



We are part of the beauty of nature unless, of course, one believes human beings are extraterrestrial or supernatural. Beauty in its infinite variety is always the beauty of the same nature. There are no two ‘natures’, just as there are no human races – we are all in our unique way the same: human. All human cultures share the same basic values. Leisure is the basis of beauty, science and all kinds of human pursuits. A minimum of it is required, but beauty is in principle accessible for all and – like butterflies – knows no boundaries.


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Visualisations and interpretations of nature like in art or science are snapshots of the process of life, i.e. beauty. Beauty is happening at all levels from the infinitesimal to the infinite and in between, from grasshoppers to waterfalls. Beauty is ubiquitous. You don’t need to travel to find it: it’s right at your doorstep. Beauty in art is never a match for beauty in nature but a reminder of the perfect aesthetic experience out there that is in you. You are predisposed to beauty –  all you have to do is to let it rock.


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The ignoramuses and aesthetic killjoys, the merchants of ugliness, claim that beauty is merely a social construct, all subjective, all relative and all sentimental, irrational kitsch. They’re a waste of time. A spectacular sunset or sunrise is a sublime experience. No surprise that sunsets are probably the most popular photographic theme ever (unlike for the sunrise, you don’t have to get up early). There is no such thing as a sunset or a sunrise, but does it matter? 



Nature produces sensations for all the senses which is why no art can replace the real thing, e.g. going for a walk, fishing or hunting. Limited as they are, visualisations can nevertheless capture some of the atmosphere. After all, light (energy) is an essential component of life, and ‘trapping’ it in a picture might convey  some of the beauty out there. Visualisations (paintings, photos, movies, collages etc.) are perhaps the next best thing to the real aesthetic experience right at your front door.



 The crisp morning air, that gentle cool breeze, the morphing clouds, the call of birds, the roaring of stags … some processes are obvious. However, we don’t consciously hear, see, taste, smell or feel the vast majority of events: the morning dew condensing , leaves and flowers opening up  to the sunlight, insects warming up for action, aeroplankton floating in space, sap oozing - zillions of different macro- and microevents produce beauty in nature, which we perceive as one. 



The death of the fish is the life for the tern. All life thrives on death. Some people bemoan the fact and decry the works of nature. Rather than wallow in the morass of pessimism, looking for, appreciating and enquiring into the beauty of nature is guided by a life-affirming, rational, optimistic attitude.



“The leaping trout sees far below, a few white clouds as they flow” (Onitsura). Whichever way you look at it, water is the source of life. Ninety percent of our brains are water which makes you wonder about the respective powers of the water and the remaining ten percent of matter. Whatever they may be, the equation 'no water = no brain' seems to hold, whereas 'no brain = no beauty' doesn’t square because beauty does not require perception. The popular  idea 'no perception = no existence' cancels out Earth's history. For aeons, no minds perceived reality nor dinosaurs, yet reality and dinosaurs were there all the time.



Everything ever discovered was there all the time. Beauty is no different – it patiently waits for its turn everywhere. Alpine life and beauty were hidden behind a veil of a harsh, hostile, horrifying and unforgiving environment. Leisure lifted the veil. The Romantic poets discovered and celebrated the sublime beauty of the Alps. Over time their swoons spread around and these days alpine beauty is appreciated and accessible for all. 



The glacier is ‘working’ round the clock by milling rocks into glacier or rock flour. It’s the daily grind for the glacier. The ultra-fine particles of the flour float in the water and interact with the sunlight in a way which produces that somehow unreal turquoise colour of alpine lakes. Even on a dull day it’s a sight to behold. Glaciers and lakes are part of the water cycle, part of the process of life. Beauty never sleeps.



Water can be so clear you wouldn’t know it's there except for its consistency, sound, temperature and smell. Perhaps this is what tempted D.H. Lawrence to make some interesting watery remarks: “I am convinced that the air we normally breathe is a kind of water, and men and women are a species of fish.” He also thought that:  “What the eye doesn’t see and the mind doesn’t know, doesn’t exist.” You couldn’t get it more wrong. On the other hand, he surely has a point when he says: “Water is H2O, hydrogen two parts, oxygen one, but there is also a third thing, that makes it water and nobody knows what that is.”



Colours can be all sorts of things, such as camouflage or messages. To generate a message for breeding, such as nuptial coloration, energy and resource are invested: While this can be seen in purely utilitarian, functional terms there is also the aesthetic angle: appreciating beauty means to enjoy life. Life is beautiful, life is good.



A coral reef is teeming with life. Any healthy ecosystem even in the desert produces life and beauty. Beauty and its colours are indicators of an intact environment. Beauty is in more than one way useful. Beauty is business: spectacular land- or waterscapes where beauty is absolutely obvious are popular tourist destinations. Their beauty is often legally protected! Closer to home, a leisurely walk in the park or a stroll on the beach invariably reveals some beautiful surprises. Beauty is good for your health – and it’s free.



Beauty is always the same ‘thing’, the same package: unity in diversity. If you are fully focused on observing a bird, you’re not just seeing the bird. The bird’s beauty hits you because you take in at the same time as the entire surroundings. Your aesthetic autopilot does that for you. Beauty in nature is never an isolated event. Just imagine this kotuku in a cage … the very thought is an insult to beauty.  The baby trout just gulped down by the kotuku has probably other ideas – if any. 



The godwits know their destination. It’s innate and unerring. We don’t know ours which is equally innate, which is why we more often than not err (by, for example, destroying their habitats). Nevertheless if we take beauty as a compass we can’t go wrong: shielding and promoting beauty means protecting and enhancing biodiversity. 



There is no corner of the globe left untouched by the activities of human beings. If not directly then indirectly, e.g. by emissions from industry or air travel. In that sense earth has become a man-made nature. That by itself doesn’t impede beauty but it does undeniably produce some ugliness in places. Nevertheless, cultural landscape and biodiversity can be an excellent match. Successful conservation in the cultural landscape creates beauty. It’s like a work of art, only you can’t hang it on a wall. You have to experience it ‘al fresco’.



The sun is nuclear power. The Greens would probably have objected to its ‘creation’ could they have done so. Solar energy (light) fuels life and beauty. We only see a limited section of the light spectrum. The fact that there is more to light than meets the eye underlines the point about the existence of ‘things’ we don’t perceive. Beauty is also packed with mathematics (spirals, symmetries, golden mean etc.) which are invisible yet perceived as beautiful. If mathematical truths are multiversal truths, then that applies to beauty too.



Like ant supercolonies cities are part of nature. Concrete and glass deserts they may be, but there is life and there is beauty. Sure enough there is also ugliness like poverty or malfunctioning sewage systems, but life and beauty there are. Cities are no different from cultural landscapes: they need looking after in order to protect and enhance biodiversity. In fact suburban gardens are a great opportunity to cultivate biodiversity. No garden too small to be a wildlife garden - a source of beauty.