Why do we find mountains beautiful?
Please note I am not attempting to argue that "beauty exists therefore God exists", I am actually curious about the question.
It is relatively easy to understand why we find each other beautiful - symmetry being associated with health and therefore good genes, etc. But why do we find things beautiful when they have no obvious survival or reproductive benefit (e.g. the stars)? It would seem odd for it to be a neurological side-effect of finding each other attractive - especially since it is just as easily perceived by children before they are sexually aware, and perception of certain aspects of beauty doesn't seem to vary with gender, sexuality or culture.
I find myself almost subliminally seeing the patterns and the underlying maths behind lots of things I find beautiful (geology, waves, etc) and this is not a new observation. This does not hold for all examples (eg the stars), but there is certainly an association there. So what is the evolutionary advantage to us in enjoying beauty in things that follow some underlying maths? This seems, if anything, even more weird.
Similarly, is anyone aware if any work has been done on why we have a sense of humour?
Having done a bit of searching about these questions, I couldn't find much about the beauty. There were lots of psychological theories about humour, but none of them seemed to have evolutionary roots (or supporting evidence). I suspect the true answer to both of them is "no one currently knows", but I would be very interested to hear your ideas.
Thanks for reading, Capuchin (I like monkeys)