"Nature conceals her mystery by means of her essential grandeur, not by her cunning."If I was sitting with Einstein on his porch facing Mercer Street, I like to think I would have asked him,
Isn't nature's cunning the allure of her grandeur?Nature appears to unfold with a certain randomness because we frequently fail to recognize or appreciate the profound beauty of its overarching patterns.
|Ice break-up, Yellowstone Lake, May 2012.|
Indeed we often ignore, or are ignorant of, the framework ― the physical and biological patterns ― in which these events occur.
I observe scant if any naivete in nature. The physical and biological patterns I observe then ruminate about suggest that
Nature appears feckless, but has a reliable record of intelligence.What are examples of the physical and biological patterns that make up the framework?
The most dominant biological pattern is self-correcting survival. Species are programmed to proliferate with a simple rule:
Self-correct the template by mating with survivors.Then there are the physical laws of the earth and of the universe. There are the sublimely evident and irrefutable earth-bound truths like
conservation of energy.
"Our life is a faint tracing on the surface of mystery, like the idle, curved tunnels of leaf minors on the face of a leaf."Within this framework nature abounds and proliferates. It is up to us to find the passion and self-discipline to observe, to understand, and to appreciate its grandeur.
― Annie Dillard
The old philosophical saw "if a tree falls in the forest" strikes me as naively human-centric. As Annie Dillard writes in the opening chapter of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,
"The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there."
- Nature Does Not Conspire. February 2012, Gödel's Lost Letter.
- Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Annie Dillard.