The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan

870 Words4 Pages
Beauty can be defined in many ways. Though, regardless of its definition, beauty is confined by four characteristics: symmetry, health, vibrancy and complexity. Michael Pollan, in the book The Botany of Desire, examines our role in nature. Pollan sets out to discovery why the most beautiful flowers have manipulated animals into propagating its genes. Most people believe that humans are the sole domesticators of nature, although, beauty in some sense has domesticated us by making us select what we perceive as beautiful. In flowers, for example, the most attractive ones insure their survival and reproductive success; therefore the tulip has domesticated us in the same way by insuring its reproduction. Whether it is beauty or instinct humans have toward flowers they have nevertheless domesticated us. Humans have long recognized that flowers are an indication of future fruits. Therefore it was vital for nomadic hunters to remember where in the wild they saw flowers. And further yet each type of flower produced a specific fruit. Thus fruits and flowers had something in common; the preference of one fruit meant the preference of a type of flower. Most often, as in modern times, the most healthy looking flower shows signs that it will produce quality fruit. The beauty of a flower told hunters that a nutritious fruits would ripen after the flowers bloomed. This concept explains how we have evolved toward preferring healthy looking flowers. But how does this explain the security of a plants reproduction? It is necessary to mention that plants not only produce fruits to stop herbivores from eating the plant, but in their own diabolic plan, plants found a new way to spread their seeds through fruits. Herbivores would eat the fruits an...

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...e likely to reproduce. He also states that the ability to change to the environment also make it vital to survival. The tulip in regard to its complexity has changed to fit desire. So who has been manipulating who? The tulip in its part has given us the desire of beauty, while we in turn select for the most beautiful. We have instead been living a relation of co-evolution as explained by Pollan. Nomadic hunters relied on distinguishing flowers to get to future fruits before others. Also the vibrant colors tulips produced genetically, favored us to choose certain strains. Flowers in some way have been domesticating us to choose their strains. Plants related their flowers beauty to successive reproduction and thus evolved its flower to adjust to human desire. Flowers indeed have manipulated humans to fit their pollination needs.

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The Botany for Desire

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