We live at a time when beauty has become a trivial value, something only in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is relative and subjective, an opinion that cannot be argued. We call it skin deep, superficial, not worth arguing about.
But we also say it’s dangerous to girls and women; it’s sexist, racist, elitist, hedonistic. We deride beauty as a sales gimmick and many condemn it as distraction from the great unraveling of civilization.
Yet all that misses a significant point: to shift the current economic paradigm we must re-elevate beauty to its rightful place of importance. Many peoples historically understood beauty as fundamental to the structure of the cosmos. But beauty was transformed into personal opinion, and we were talked out of caring for the natural world and into caring for the economy.
We convinced ourselves that nature was dead and beauty was trivial, which allowed us to strip the natural world of all value except as a resource for human use. So the loss of beauty and the loss of ecological integrity are intertwined. A world in decline is intrinsically less beautiful.
To free ourselves from this mechanistic framework that bears much responsibility for the deterioration of the planet we must re-imagine the world, and ourselves, so we can speak of it‘s intrinsic value and resurrect beauty as a dimension of that value.