Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Is the Contemplation of the Essence of Beauty the Best or Only Way to Live?

Contemplating the essence of beauty is the best way to live. The essence of beauty coincides with the meaning of extropy – defined as: the extent of a living or organizational system's functional order, vitality, energy, life, experience, and capacity and drive for improvement and growth; or the opposite of entropy – because our mate selection standards and survival mechanisms require it, and our brains are stimulated by such patterns.

Finding the qualities listed above in a mate would greatly increased the odds of species continuation. Therefore, having pattern-recognition systems that can judge beauty in this way was selected. Males store images of many of the females with whom they interact, which, in some internal database, become averaged and serve as a reference point for beauty. Average faces show a healthy mix of genes, indicating that the potential child will have a reduced chance of adverse effects due to inbreeding.

Putricine and cadaverine are smells our noses are specifically equipped to detect. These are chemicals released from rotting biomass, an excellent source of disease and illness. By recognizing these smells and associating them with death and decay (entropy) and the intense desire to no longer experience them, we know to avoid them. Likewise, smelling or viewing a flower allows us to determine its life and energy. Flowers and many other constructs of nature exhibit patterns that humans find pleasing, and have been described mathematically using certain ratios and constants. Nature uses these ratios because they confer some bonus to the organism. We can recognize and appreciate the beauty of the flower because we appreciate its extropy. It would also benefit us to notice particularly healthy and nutritious foods over those less worth our effort.

Whether we have such pattern-recognition systems for these advantages, or if we just utilize them to such ends does not obscure the fact that we use our brains to enjoy art and patterns in nature. Rats living in enriched (elaborate and detailed) and social environments show healthy and robust brains over rats that are isolated and have little stimulation. By giving our brains something to process, we are stimulating and invigorating them, furthering their extropy.



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