I moved to Southern California from the East Coast a few years ago. One thing I’ve noticed here is that there are so many flowers, and they are so beautiful. I’m not even a person who is “into” flowers, really.
Many times when I am out for a walk, I see a stray flower that completely captures my attention. Like this one.
Flowers like this just appear randomly along a walkway near my house. I don’t even know if it’s meant to be there on purpose. It might be wild.
Every time I see a flower like this, I exclaim to my uninterested husband, “Look at this flower!! It’s so perfect!” and I can’t stop looking at it and commenting on it. I wonder why he doesn’t seem to give even the smallest care about it! It’s so amazing that it’s so perfect!
He’ll be like, “Yup.”
But I think there is something about this perfection in nature that gets to me. It’s like the ultimate beauty, and it seems like it’s by accident. Now, I know nature isn’t “by accident”–that flowers look the way they do to attract pollinating bees and stuff like that–but the way the flowers just grow and reveal their flawless designs is such a wonderful things for us humans, because we get to enjoy it.
I asked a scientist friend if she could explain why humans find flowers attractive. She led me to a site that said this: “There is a sense of chaotic order in the way nature works. Everything coexists in nature without the necessity of outside intervention. It is a system that has existed successfully since the beginning of time, which provides a sense of structure, coherence, and reliability… Realizing that human beings are an essential component of this larger structure can supply a sense of purpose and belonging.” source
Hm. That sounds very pleasant.
Then I did a quick search on “why are flowers beautiful?” and a random comment caught my eye. Someone wrote, in response to the aforementioned question:
“Bees and humans both have brains that are based on the same basic building blocks, neurons or nerve cells. These cells are linked together in networks that have predictable behaviors. First and foremost is threshold behavior. Stimuli must overcome a given amount of intensity before evoking a response. Plants have evolved flowers that evoke a response from neural networks.
An interesting behavior in neural networks is their lack of sensitivity to the idea of too much stimulus. You can’t have too much beauty.” source
WHOA. Thanks for the awesome quote, buddy!!!
First of all–disclaimer–I have NO IDEA if this person quoted above knows what they are talking about. It’s just a comment I found on the internet, so there’s no proof about anything. But the fact that they said “You can’t have too much beauty” set off bells in my head.
I wrote a post a while back about being overwhelmed by beauty. It’s about how when I see a beautiful place, like an old cathedral or nice scenery, I feel like I can never appreciate it enough, and I’m bothered by that.
Maybe I’m drawn to symmetrical, beautiful flowers because their intense beauty stimulates a response in my brain. Aren’t our brains drawn to stimulation? (sensation seeking?)
Perhaps that flower is beautiful enough to overcome my stimuli threshold and evoke a response in me…but it’s not enough to evoke it in my husband.
So, I think I’ve found the solution. I have a lower beauty threshold than him, I guess. At least when it comes to flowers.
What a delightful post!!! It’s wonderful to hear the way another HSP thinks 🙂 I’ve never thought about my response to beauty being different. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to put many of the deep thoughts of HSP’s together in a book? It could have a title to do with it being the deep thoughts of HSP’s. I’d buy it in a heartbeat, and I’m sure it would be one of my most treasured volumes. Your post would be perfect for a book like that. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
I loved this podcast/ article! Since I was in elementary school, I loved looking at fashion magazines and not until my adult years did I start to wonder why was it that I could only look at them in increments. I typically get a little anxious after I get 1/4 of the way in and now, I totally get it! I’ve hit my beauty threshold.
wow, what a great connection!! 🙂
If I had a way to put a microchip into my brain in order to activate this in response to noxious stimuli, or if I could restart my life with this ability ( selective sensitivity, mind you!) already built in, I would! This, to me, is how stress and pain, even in regards to the suffering of others, should feel, but strangely, it feels even more intense and severe, though not *as* bad.
It’s not like it feels *better* per say, but I recognize it as a much better warning sign than typical reactions and sensations. It’s one of the ways I can tell that I’m getting sick or not getting enough sleep! If I just feel miserable, pained, or stressed out…I don’t get it…at all! It’s like a different stage of cognitive functioning.
While it IS indeed beautiful, it can also trigger panic/anxiety attacks, psuedodepressive states, and even paranoia, too! Once I saw a white rabbit outside of my bedroom window at 4 in the morning, and at first, I was like “Oh! How adorable! It’s a rabbit…” then I started feeling…”off”, like my skin was crawling, I curled up into a ball, and fro some reason, I felt…someone was watching me or something wasn’t right. I wound up staying up because I was so overloaded with it, which lead to that beauty threshold passing into the next day!