Nature is orderly. That which appears to be chaotic in nature is only a more complex kind of order.
Ecology begins as an inkling—an acknowledgment—of the sacredness of life. It is an assertion of value: that life does not begin or end with humans, or even with plants and animals—but is a force, a flow, a pattern (a system of patterns, the source of patterns, the origin of order) that animates the whole of the universe.
It is important and useful to return, repeatedly, to the simple recognition inherent in this statement—the source is recognizable through feeling, impression. It may not be audible over the hectic clamor that propels and entertains us. It may (often) be a whisper, a fleeting glimpse of some original face peeking through the branches.
It may be a subjective impression. It may be deniable. But it is not deniable.
The opposite of aesthetic is anesthetic. If we can’t appreciate beauty, we won’t be bothered to care at which point anything (everything) is left to degrade.
“The connection between order and feeling is fundamental. In some fashion, profound order makes us feel our own existence,” says Christopher Alexander. The reverse makes it clearer still: disorder and disorganization displace us from the possibility of attentive awareness. If we lack attention, we are nowhere. The self, the personal, only coalesces in awareness that is sustained from moment to moment.
Consider this: if you are unable to comprehend the order of the alphabet, there is no possibility of deriving meaning from the symbols.
Even more so when the symbols are patterns of nature—dynamic patterns, a system in process. We clearly become more alive as we are more able to witness the order inherent in nature.