top of page

Book 348 - A Year of Magical Learning

Reflection Title: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder!

Book – An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the World Around Us by Ed Yong (Part 2 of 2)

Book Description:

The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every kind of animal, including humans, is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of our immense world. In An Immense World, Ed Yong coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses, allowing us to perceive the skeins of scent, waves of electromagnetism, and pulses of pressure that surround us. We encounter beetles that are drawn to fires, turtles that can track the Earth’s magnetic fields, fish that fill rivers with electrical messages, and even humans who wield sonar like bats. We discover that a crocodile’s scaly face is as sensitive as a lover’s fingertips, that the eyes of a giant squid evolved to see sparkling whales, that plants thrum with the inaudible songs of courting bugs, and that even simple scallops have complex vision. We learn what bees see in flowers, what songbirds hear in their tunes, and what dogs smell on the street. We listen to stories of pivotal discoveries in the field, while looking ahead at the many mysteries that remain unsolved.


What do you think came first, a flower’s beautiful colors or a bee’s ability to see them?

Well, I was shocked to learn, if you are to believe An Immense World, the answer is the bee’s ability to see the beautiful colors came first and then the flowers adapted themselves to make sure they could stand out amongst this new trait. I would have totally guessed that the world is what it is and then our unique senses adapted to reveal this hidden world to give us an evolutionary advantage. Apparently, quite the opposite.

An Immense World labels this phenomenon as sensory exploitation, meaning that world around us adapts to what we see, hear, smell, taste, to make itself more attractive to us. In other words, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

What we experience is beautiful to only our unique existence.

No one, other than myself, has any idea how much beauty, joy, and fulfillment I receive by hacking away at my keyboard each morning while sharing my thoughts, going on a long run listening while listening to an audio book and learning something new, or sharing what I learned each night with my ClubAny co-founder.

3 years ago, my unique paradigm in which I viewed the world found no joy or fulfillment in any of these activities. Not only did I find no joy, but I also wouldn’t be caught dead on a running trail out in 30 degree weather, didn’t even have the slightest inclination of ever wanting to become a writer, and I hadn’t read more than 1 book for fun in over a decade. To say that I was the furthest thing from being a reader, a writer, or a runner would be an understatement. This stuff, the people that did them, and the joy they found in them didn’t even exist in my world. Before I met my daughter, I was literally blind to the idea of doing any of these things. All three belonged to those worlds of others that I didn’t understand and had no desire to explore.

However, when my whole world changed 3 years ago after we lost our daughter…all the things that I found beautiful about this world died seemingly died with her. Somehow, day by day, I channeled my daughter’s strength and kept moving forward. Magically, I found myself doing these weird new things each day and had no idea why, but I was enjoying them. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how, but as I kept doing them and I slowly began to find beauty again in this world. I was learning, reflecting, growing, and enduring and then I made the transformational discover that I wasn’t doing any of this alone. I found I had a partner in crime that wanted to still hang out with her daddy and would tag along while we were doing this stuff.

When Emilia and I figured that we could stay connected by doing the stuff we love together, I knew there was no way that I could ever stop. This is what we call Living for 2.

Living for 2 is a beautiful thing which has opened my eyes to so many new experiences that I could have never imagined before meeting my daughter. There were so many things about this world that I couldn’t sense before, but as my eyes, ears, curiosity, and consciousness opened, it is like the world changed before me and I could feel all new ways to experience beauty, joy, and fulfillment in this world that I never knew was possible.

Even though my daughter is not physically here with me, I still think we live a beautiful life together. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder and this world adapts to help you discover it.

Question: How has your world changed to reveal something beautiful you didn’t know existed?



What is The Year of Magical Learning? - An Introduction

YOML Podcast Discussion - Coming Soon

YOML Bookstore - An Immense World by Ed Yong

8 views0 comments


bottom of page