Adapt our Picture of Beauty

What modern people commonly see as inherently beautiful has actually been programmed into us.  I’ll use the examples of the suburban subdivision and the cornfield. What if what most of us agree is beautiful is actually being destructive and degrading.  Knowing the true difference between beauty and brokenness is an important shift in perspective.  It takes a large amount of work and practice because its foundation is deep and reinforced by advertising or art.  This is deeply ingrained in our culture.

One of the best examples of a destructive picture of beauty is the manicured lawn. I love making videos, but it would be fruitless for me to try to make videos better than these two:


  1. Start with this video by Michael Polland (author of the “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” TV host, researcher, and journalist), “The American Lawn.”


  1. Next, you can get a clear picture of how this portrait was drawn, refined, and burnt into our psyche by watching this video on the history of the lawn.  “The Great American Lawn: How the Dream was Manufactured.”


Another incredibly destructive practice is annual agriculture, yet we are deeply moved by the sight of the rolling wheat, soy, or cornfield; especially if there is a sunset happening at the same time. This is not inherently beautiful either.  Many in the regenerative movement see pain and suffering when we see a golf course or a cornfield because we know the true cost that is paid for such vistas (more on this in an upcoming post).

We, humans, are architects and landscapers.  We can move plants and soil. We can create islands and form rivers.  Humans find beauty in that which we craft because it makes us feel special and God-like.  It takes humility for us to find beauty in that which we evolved from and coexist with. The Japanese garden is a good example of finding harmony between nature and man.  It takes into account what nature desires. Permaculture is a philosophy that seeks to use nature as a starting point for decisions we make, as opposed to working from a human origin.

Does this mean you have to be sad all the time?  Not at all. Simply knowing what looks wasteful, dangerous, and unclean (AND WHY) can help you make better decisions and form conversations around it.  Remember your power for consumer-led change. Does this mean you need to rip out your lawn? Also, no! Let\’s adjust our picture of beauty to be harmonious with nature, make decisions based on that and learn the history that has led to some distorted pictures of beauty.  The rest will come.

1 thought on “Adapt our Picture of Beauty”

  1. Pingback: The Way Forward – Forest Ranch Regenerative

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