WHAT IS BEAUTY?
Here's a fascinating Darwinian explanation from philosopher of art Denis Dutton. Following the line of reasoning from the peacock's tail he argues that beauty is not so much a cultural aesthetic or mere taste located in the individual eye of the beholder as it is an evolutionary force of sexual attractiveness in search of a promising mate. He concludes that this leads to certain universal preferences.
I would argue additionally, that many notions of beauty are rooted in ecology and reflect nature's great variety of niches. One of the most impressive things about living in Amazônia is the widespread use of dramatic and intense colors which is reflective of the way plants attract pollinators in the dense vegetation of a tropical forest. You will never see colors like these used commonplace in suburban New York or London.
RIO BRANCO: A GRINGO'S VIEW