Beauty in Nature: Appreciation vs Thankfulness

Beauty in Nature: Appreciation vs Thankfulness

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Beauty’? Do you immediately recall the appearance of a person you find irresistible? Or a scenic view of a place close to your heart?… Thomas Aquinas, prominent philosopher and Catholic Priest of the Middle Ages, defined beauty as ‘something which gives pleasure when seen’ – or as more accurate translation might suggest, ‘when contemplated’. He believed that beauty is both objective (can be formulated and recreated) and requires active intelligence to be appreciated. Much of what we think of as beautiful is likely the result of human design and creation – a painted master piece or an emotive musical composition, for example. But have you ever seen anything so stunningly, but seemingly unnecessarily, beautiful – that it’s made you question how and why such a thing exists at all? You’re not alone: Beauty in existence has been the inspiration behind philosophical thinking for centuries! Aquinas concluded that the only reasonable answer to nature’s naturally occurring beauty is an intelligent designer, or God, and that the only reason we are able to contemplate, recreate and find pleasure in it is because that God must be good and care about us. Did you know, with all of Science’s accumulated knowledge and understanding – still no-one can explain why leaves are green? We know the thing that makes leaves green is chlorophyll. We know that chlorophyll works by absorbing light to fuel the photosynthesis needed to grow and sustain plants. But we also know that of all the available colours on the natural spectrum, black is by far the most efficient at light absorption. Evolution teaches us...