by Alan Moore on 1st June 2023
The musician Bernard Sumner of Joy Division wrote of his experience growing up in a failed industrial economy and landscape, “You were always looking for beauty because it was such an ugly place, whether again on a subconscious level. I mean, I don’t think I saw a tree till I was about nine. I was surrounded by factories and nothing that was pretty, nothing. So it gave you an amazing yearning for things that were beautiful, because you were in a semi-sensory-deprivation situation because you were brought up in this brutal landscape, but then when you did see something or hear something that was beautiful, you would go: “Ooh, new experience” and really appreciate it.”
Bernard Sumner knew by instinct that beauty lives in the eternal and in nature: the leaping movement of a salmon, the perfection of a head of flowering clover, a heavy rain storm, the smell of baking bread, the face of a child and the awesomeness of a full moon when its closest to the earth, as do astronauts as they witness for the first time the sun the moon and the earth hanging in the vast and endless void. The earth is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, hanging in the void, shielded and nourished by a paper- thin atmosphere. Theirs is a profound epiphany – a realisation of the inseparable relationship between the cosmos, the earth and humanity. It is a moment of transformation, of catharsis, an irreversible cognitive shift.
Many scientists accept there is no comprehensive explanation for our understanding of beauty. Yet the laws that describe our cosmos – nature’s deep design model are described as beautiful. Einstein and Paul Dirac both believed this to be true as did the nobel prize winning scientist Frank Wilczek. They have all discovered nature’s order is founded on symmetry and harmony: a beautiful deep design model at macro and micro scale. Yet, in western thought there is deep mystery with our spiritual relationship with the Earth. Which is why we don’t think beauty, we know it. Or, as the philosopher Iris Murdoch pointed out, “beauty is the only spiritual thing which we love by instinct”.
If that is true, where does beauty instinctively dwell? And, why are we hitched to beauty in so many ways? What if beauty is our true homecoming? What if we as a species are instinctively tuned to the beautiful? Because our experience tells us there is good here supporting the miracle of life to thrive.
What if Nature’s deep design model shows us the way to reconnect ourselves, to eachother, to rethink the true nature of: business, organisational culture, values, metrics, economy, and how to redesign business to create a regenerative world.
What if we just need tuning up to beauty?
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