Last year I came across a quote very similar to the sentiment Steven puts forward: that ugly things are always human made, we invented aethetics and produced the first ugly things to give meaning to the term. Initially I found this very compelling and true.
A few days latter, however, I was coming in to Vancouver in a little float plane, gazing down on beautiful forested mountains and rugged coast lines. When we began to approach the city, the blue water took on a darker shade, it grew muddy and polluted. The beaches and cliffs were overtaken by horrible industrial piers and “satanic mills”. And yet, in some perverse way, this landscape wasn’t ugly; it was beautiful, tragically beautiful.
Look what we have done to our environment; look at the atrocities we have committed against the natural world and each other. Even so, I ask you, have you ever seen something that is unequivocally ugly? No matter what, there is beauty. No matter what. Sad beauty, ugly beauty. But beauty.