Wallowa Lake, OR
We respond immediately when we happen upon a field of wildflowers blooming en masse, but the thrill is just as great when we stumble upon a single, radiant blossom on the forest floor. Our reaction is immediate and heartfelt in both cases, not subject to intermediate parsing by the brain. This says to me we are hard-wired for beauty. Clearly, it is a survival mechanism when we recoil from a snake, but doesn’t our reaction to beauty suggest a similar, but positive survival mechanism? We DO need beauty to survive and thrive, and humankind always has.