South American Travel Notes, Part Two
The butterfly lives on average for three weeks. Although it enjoys many months as a larva and caterpillar, its winged existence is intensely beautiful and unimaginably brief. In the few days it has before it expires, the butterfly must find a mate and leave behind the next generation. Its brilliantly gaudy wings help attract a partner.
Usually, with birds and frogs and other animals, the message of bright, beautiful colors in nature is: Don’t eat me, I’m toxic trouble!
The message of visual beauty in civilization is: I’m desirable! (I might be complicated and self-absorbed, but you should doggedly pursue and consume me.)
Luckily for beautiful human specimens, pulchritude doesn’t signal a short life. On the contrary, like a fortunate butterfly, innate beauty attracts a large selection of potential mates.