My wife and I were walking along a beach last weekend looking for shells and polished stones that caught our interest. Of course interest wasn’t sufficient to justify which ones were worth keeping. As we looked, certain shells or stones looked interesting at the beginning but then it became obvious that there were some defects and they were thrown back.
It got me thinking about humans pursuit of perfection. When shopping or searching for something that is aesthetically pleasing, one looks for something which is whole or untainted. A shell that is not broken yet. A rock that is completely smooth. How many people rotate their Christmas tree to expose the spaces where the branches are missing?
This in turn got me thinking about whether symmetry is really what we look for in finding the perfect aesthetic piece. Most things that are geometrically symmetric though aren’t really beautiful, they are simple. It seems that natural symmetry is really what creates something as both beautiful and whole. This got me thinking about fractals and chaos — essentally, symmetry but beyond the comprehension of humans to fully predict. It’s amazing how God created the world around us.
In the end though, I realized that we find many things pleasing that aren’t whole, perfect, but are things which we have become familiar with or have emotional attachment to. Old books look old and that’s one of the things that makes them so attractive. So this got me thinking about emotional aesthetics which drive a more profound sense of attraction and beauty.
It truly is amazing at the depth and beauty of the world around us.