Joel Garreau - an author I discovered in 2005 - is one to watch as his latest book called Radical Evolution is spreading rapidly around the world. Below some of his thoughts on the rise of beauty in our fast changing world. More inspiring thoughts on beauty can be seen in this post.
"Why is beauty suddenly making its comeback after more than a hundred years of carpet-bombing by the intelligentsia? Some of it may be simply that modernist and postmodernist explanations are losing their juice. For example, the Enlightenment notion that anything not rational is
suspect is no longer an axiom. Feelings are now a legitimate subject of
discussion. With the collapse of Marxism, class is less of a shibboleth. Only the
most devoted postmodernists now argue that just because it is embraced
by an elite, a view of beauty must necessarily be wrong. The role of women is changing. Post-feminists ask why they can't be both beautiful and chief executive officer. With the rise of global media and the 747, many more kinds of physical
beauty are being recognized. A brief walk along the sidewalks of any
American city shows the striking faces of people with origins in four
or five continents.
But it's not just old explanations that are dying. New ways of understanding are being born. Computerized views allow scientists to look deep into the brain to understand patterns of how humans think, while the genetic code is showing how humans are created, lending solid underpinning to the idea that humans have far more in common than had ever before been guessed.
Yet a third broad explanation for this timing, however, is the new need to understand what makes sense amid increasingly rapid change. Old definitions of beauty that held "Beauty is truth, truth beauty -- that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know," as Keats wrote in 1820, resonate anew in a topsy-turvy world in which we try to find coherence. Will beauty become a quick and useful way of determining whether any complex system -- human or technological -- is coherent? After all, "The most general definition of beauty," wrote Coleridge in 1814, is "multeity in unity." In both the arts and sciences the programmed brain seeks elegance, which is the parsimonious and evocative description of pattern to make sense out of confusion of details.
"Patterns have a great deal of power," says Ray Kurzweil, the much-honored Massachusetts computer systems innovator and author of "The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence." "There is a whole elaborate hierarchy of these patterns. But beauty is right at the top of the hierarchy of patterns we deal with in our minds. Beauty is the organizing principle that demonstrates the power of a pattern." The reason, thus, that we are now embracing a new search for beauty may be as simple as we humans searching for a new understanding of ourselves. "Beauty," says Kurzweil, "is the ultimate in subtlety of human intelligence.""