"The peacock's tail," said Charles Darwin, "makes me sick." That's because the theory of evolution as adaptation can't explain why nature is so beautiful. It took the concept of sexual selection for Darwin to explain that, a process that has more to do with aesthetics than the practical. Survival of the Beautiful is a revolutionary new examination of the interplay of beauty, art, and culture in evolution. Taking inspiration from Darwin's observation that animals have a natural aesthetic sense, philosopher and musician David Rothenberg probes why animals, humans included, have innate appreciation for beauty - and why nature is, indeed, beautiful.
Sexual selection may explain why animals desire, but it says very little about what they desire. Why will a bowerbird literally murder another bird to decorate its bower with the victim's blue feathers? Why do butterfly wings boast such brilliantly varied patterns? The beauty of nature is not arbitrary, even if random mutation has played a role in evolution. What can we learn from the amazing range of animal aesthetic behavior-about animals, and about ourselves? Listeners who enjoyed the best sellers The Art Instinct and The Mind's Eye will find Survival of the Beautiful an equally stimulating and profound exploration of art, science, and the creative impulse.
The book sounds fascinating, unfortunately, it just didn't deliver. There seemed to be too much elaboration on the less interesting bits and not enough interesting bits. I just couldn't get into it enough to think much of the book.
Would you consider the audio edition of Survival of the Beautiful to be better than the print version?
Yes and No. I always prefer to listen than read, but It is harder to use an audio book as a reference source than a hard copy.
What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?
Lots of ideas in this book and areas that you may want to look into further.
What about Kris Koscheski’s performance did you like?
Clear and well modulated
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes, and again immediately after.
Any additional comments?
highly recommend to anyone interested in aesthetics.