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Nature Lovers


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Initial post: Sep 21, 2007 1:47:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 21, 2012 10:23:42 AM PDT
We seem to have a lot of Nature-lovers on this Forum, and pretty much from every way of life, too: Pagans (of course!), atheists, agnostics, Christians. So I'm curious - what place does Nature's beauty (I don'tknow if I should use a capital "N" or a little "n" here) have within your belief (or non-belief?) system?

This post can be found in "The Book."
Karen, co-author of *The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship*

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 2:40:17 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 28, 2008 12:45:20 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 9:39:23 AM PDT
Runny Babbit says:
Karen- I love nature. Sometimes I write it with a capN to show my reverence.

To me, the beauty of nature is proof of the power of naturalism. The way systems interact to continually improve is evidence that there is no need for magical intervention. But the question is: why do we find it beautiful? As a designer myself, I would say that the repetition of pattern, symmetry, and dynamic balance are pleasing to our sensibilities. Why are there these elements? Because they work efficiently. Our psychological make-up tells us that if something is healthy, it is good. This gives us a bias to call it beautiful.

Clearly, my Christian friends will have a problem with this.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 10:24:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2007 10:25:17 AM PDT
Curt Fox says:
Karen, nature is one part of the extensive system in the middle of which we find ourselves. It can be effected by us, and we depend on it. It weighs into the balance needed to keep us, and all sentient creatures, here and healthy. It is beautiful, ugly, creative, destructive, powerful, impotent, subtle and bold. Not surprisingly, much like us, in so many ways, or at least many of us personify it as such.
And we muck about with it at our own risk. I don't believe we cause the globe to warm, at least not appreciably, but we can destroy plants, and animals, and air and water. We eliminate species with seemingly little regard, and worse, with very little if any comprehension of how those species fit into the symbiotic system that sustains us.

And I agree with DLH that because it is such a dynamic force and because we inherently understand just how much we need it to survive, we carry a fascination with it, and with that fascination often comes the attribution of beauty.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 1:43:44 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 28, 2008 12:44:59 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 1:59:16 PM PDT
GSRich says:
David,

I agree that those patterns are pleasing to our sensibilities, in part because we are a result of the same processes. I think we're naturally predisposed toward, for example, a logarithmic spiral or to the golden ratio. They're aesthetically pleasing because they're inherently familiar to us.

Cheers

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 2:54:49 PM PDT
Hi Karen,

All great thoughts so far and as a designer as well I especially appreciate the patterns, colors and textures of nature both on the micro and macro level. Nature is my church. Riding my bike and leisurely walks are what recharge my batteries. Getting my hands dirty in the garden is great too. Anything that reminds me that I am part of the whole.

One thing I have realized fairly recently is just how brutal nature is. We watch a sunset over a mountain range or ocean and are awed. We tend to forget that countless life forms are being devoured alive in that beautiful scene at that very moment. No benevolent designer created nature that's for sure!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 3:36:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2007 6:02:32 PM PDT
book factory says:
Karen,

I find nature a breath-taking experience. How does it fit in with my belief system. I think we should love and enjoy all the gifts God gave to us. He gave us beauty to enjoy.

I agree with David Allen, that it is pleasing biologically because of symmetry. As a Christian I have no problem with that and am unsure why he made that comment.

A comment on what I believe with is related to the idea of physical beauty...
Beauty can be very deceiving! People with the same degrees/experience/great personalities...the better looking get the job most of the time. Is this because symmetrical people appear healthier and it is just our biological instinct at work? I think the idea of natural selection is one thing, but judging people by looks, by color, by race...basically by anything that we don't have control over should be closely examined. Just take a look at tv...we celebrate the physical. So be cautious is my opinion.
Nature is easy to love, so is a beautiful person. Don't be confused, a person's outside and their insides are different works of art.
The greatest work of art is invisible in the heart/soul/spirit. That is beauty that is everlasting and the only thing that lasts forever. After all, doesn't science say, nothing can be created or destroyed. My body becomes part of nature...the trees etc. But my spirit doesn't die.

Just a note. I saw a pbs special like 15 years ago that I will never forget. It was called nature of the world or something like that and it had 7 basic shapes that exist in the world I believe. Serpentine, rings, shape of cells,...etc. If anyone knows anything about this please let me know!
Also, whoever is really into nature may want to check out Andy Goldsworthy's art. Sorry to get off the subject.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 6:11:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2007 8:46:55 PM PDT
David,

I absolutely love your response! I can almost hear my dad's voice in your e-mail. He is a non-religious mountaineering scientist (geologist/hydrologist) and artist and I think he would completely understand your response to the symmetry and patterns and balance in nature. I like where you write, "Our psychological make-up tells us that if something is healthy, it is good. This gives us a bias to call it beautiful."

I'm a kind of a Christian (I've been told on this Forum a lot lately that I'm not a "real" Christian, so I'm not really sure what to call myself anymore) - but I'm that kind that has no problem with what you wrote.

Thank you!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 6:16:35 PM PDT
Curt,

Thank goodness for intelligent, sensible, poetic people such as yourself! You write, "It is beautiful, ugly, creative, destructive, powerful, impotent, subtle and bold. Not surprisingly, much like us, in so many ways, or at least many of us personify it as such." I wish that all people on this planet could recognize the importance of our relationship with our environment, and the importance of keeping balance in our lives and on our planet!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 6:28:07 PM PDT
old man,

I'm so glad you responded! You write, "How we are part of it and yet try to be apart from it amazes me." Man, that is just so profound! People try to act like nature is something "out there" - beyond themselves. I think that's kind of sad, actually. I love enveloping myself in the beauty of the mountains and the sea - I thrill at being part of it.

For me, of course, as a theist, I see God's expression in nature - color, beauty, grace. I've always found it impossible to feel separated from my conception of God when I'm standing on a mountaintop, surrounded by the majesty of what surrounds me.

Thank you, old man, for your wise words!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 6:33:28 PM PDT
Hi John!

I was hoping to hear from you here!

I think my dad would say that nature is his church, too. And I can totally relate to the joy of getting one's hands dirty mucking around in a garden.

Yes, nature can be brutal, can't it? And I would agree, that no benevolent designer would create some of the scenes we see on "Animal Planet."

Yipes! I have to get my son to a football game ...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 21, 2007 8:46:20 PM PDT
Hi John,
Back from the football game - talk about brutal scenes from nature...

Anyway, on one post somewhere you were describing the wildlife and scenery near your home in Texas and it sounded really beautiful. I've only been to airports in Texas, so I've never had the opportunity to see what "Texas Nature" was like. I always pictured dry land, cattle skulls, and cactii. But I had a couple of friends from Austin, who described it as a beautiful place. And I imagine that the coastline of Texas must be wonderful.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 3:29:01 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 28, 2008 12:45:28 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 7:27:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2007 7:35:23 AM PDT
J. May says:
Hi Karen :) Great question. Nature's beauty has been a constant comfort to me throughtout my life. Whatever state of belief (or disbelief) I was/am in. It helps, it calms and it soothes, it beauty and detail makes me feel grateful and is an amazing gift.

No matter how I believe, I feel blessed by things I've seen. It has a way of making me feel connected to something -something very special. Thank you very, very much for posting something that is positive. Oh, and definitely a capital N ;-) Thanks again for posting something positive and not divisive. This board is making me feel so incredibly sad lately, and your post is like a breath of fresh air.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 7:30:43 AM PDT
Clara says:
J. May said: Thanks again for posting something positive and not divisive. This board is making me feel so incredibly sad lately, and your post is like a breath of fresh air.

---
Yes, I agree with that sentiment.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

Clara

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 8:28:01 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2007 8:29:23 AM PDT
J. May says:
Just curious:What are the things or places that have touched you the most in Nature? There are too many for me to name, but a very starry sky is one of them. I also live in a place where the sky looks like Heaven would look like. The colors and cloud formations are amazing. Also there are these really Old trees that I love (actually I love most all trees ;-). The amazing colors in some of the flowers down here-Totally Gorgeous and very grateful to see them The way the grass and cedar smells. An egret flying over a lake. The lake itself and the way it flows. Too much to mention-LOL. :) What are some of Yours?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 8:40:30 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 22, 2007 10:01:31 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 9:01:47 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2008 4:07:12 PM PDT
Hi book factory!

I accidentally overlooked your post the first time I went through the thread. Interesting thoughts on beauty. Thank you!

You write, "I think the idea of natural selection is one thing, but judging people by looks, by color, by race...basically by anything that we don't have control over should be closely examined."

I have to say that I have been around physically beautiful people - both men and women - who have actually been repellent to me. Women who are afraid to laugh for fear of cracking their make-up or making wrinkles in their face don't seem very attractive. And men who are too conscious about their appearance and who use their charm and popularity to bully the "little guy" turn me off.

The pbs special you mention sounds really interesting. Let us know if you find out anything about it.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 9:19:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 19, 2011 9:32:58 PM PDT
This post can be found in our book.
Karen, co-author of *The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship*

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 2:15:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 22, 2007 2:15:51 PM PDT
Dear J. May,

I like what Mary Baker Eddy says about the things of Nature in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Thought you might like it, too. She says, "Nature voices natural, spiritual law and divine Love ... Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers, and glorious heavens, - all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity. Suns and planets teach grand lessons. The stars make night beautiful, and the leaflet turns naturally towards the light."

Later, Eddy writes, "Spiritually interpreted, rocks and mountains stand for solid and grand ideas ... The fowls, which fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven, correspond to aspirations soaring beyond and above corporeality to the understanding of the incorporeal and divine Principle, Love. "

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 2:19:11 PM PDT
Watching the ocean waves crash upon the shore...a beautiful, starry-sky, the rustling of leaves in the wind...these are some things that remind me of the beauty of this world.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 2:56:51 PM PDT
book factory says:
Karen,

Your friends sound like they are all beautiful inside and out. They sound like a bunch of neat people. I have a friend who is Hispanic and we have been friends for 25 years. One of my oldest friends. Great person. All my friends are great. They vary more in religion and non-religion. Its hilarious. I have like one of every type! It's almost uncanny or something. It's odd.
I think that when you meet someone really beautiful, they make you feel beautiful too. If I meet someone who is pretty but mean I just think they are that, pretty but mean. I like to reserve beauty for those with that flower inside.
I haven't found the pbs thing and I did some searches. Dang it!
I think women who won't laugh and men do the one upsmanship ... they live in a self-made prison. They probably fear they aren't all that and so they just hold back. Insecurities can be limiting.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 3:01:31 PM PDT
book factory says:
Karen,

<Nutrient-rich smell of the saltwater.>
<. Quick! Put the props in place! Hurry - the sun's about to enter the stage - everyone in their places! >

Oh I love your words! Makes me want to go down to the beach or a stream and stick my feet in the soft muck.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2007 4:37:32 PM PDT
Thank you, Artemis!
Don't you just love it?!!
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Initial post:  Sep 21, 2007
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