What a great question! Here’s what I think Iris might say: beauty is the name we give to a certain quality found in art and nature. Being connected to nature, paying attention to it, allows ‘unselfing’. Forgetting the ego, vanity, a selfishness and allowing unselfish care. ‘Unselfish care’ is central to living a good life. It seems that the health of natural beings is important to the quality we call beauty. A well-tended garden or healthy forest, with flourishing animal + insect life, can inspire the sublime feeling – the self-forgetful pleasure – we have when joining with nature. A degraded or unhealthy natural environment could elicit the unselfish care, but be accompanied by pain rather than pleasure (beauty). This is a complex question, but I hope I’ve made a decent start!
Very best wishes
Kathryn MacKay – Sydney