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praising diversity and excellence
august 10, 2009

intrinsic appeal of diversity in life and its diversifying enrichment: the good of ecological orders

Lamenting the decrease in species variety in a locale, due to environmental events, is easily admirable, especially relative to a biologist’s appreciation—even endless wonder—at the richness of life as such. Diversity is what life “does,” what happens to life, for life, given extended opportunity to flourish. Diversity is what flourishing yields.

We celebrate diversity in gardens, diversity in cultures, diversity in the arts, diversity of research enterprises in the sciences, diversity of design in communities, diversity of lives, and diversity of endeavors within lives. The enrichment of life, in these senses, is easily argued as an intrinsic good.

The good of The Order, the ecology, is that its flourishing show great, even inestimable, diversity, and such diversity “proves” (wonderfully exemplifying) the value of ecologies’s flourishing.

diversity of mind

Diversity of modes can be likewise appealing—diversity of kinds, genera, conceptions, dimensions.

Art using mixed media intelligently may be more engaging than art that works within the bounds a given genre. Minds are commonly excited by hybridity in genres, media, designs, and interplays, like so many windows into diverse niches of mental gardens. Hybridization is surprising, opportunistic, original. Intelligent minds love this.

Lives that highly or broadly or deeply exemplify diversity manifoldly are better exemplars of human actualization of potential than lives that exemplify less.

Exemplarity is regional. For high talents (which others so admire), aspiring to exceed the exemplar (a record holder, say) of a kind of endeavor for a given region easily moves on to aspiring to exceed the exemplarity of a greater region. Winning the “regionals,” one commonly aspires to win the “nationals,” maybe aspiring (so daring) for “world class.” We admire such aspiration, accepting its exemplarity for inspiration, if not (as a rule!) possible emulation.

Leading one’s kind of endeavor in one’s profession is inherently admirable. Aspiring to do this is greatly admirable.

Seeking excellence is natural for a gifted talent, and the gifted talent is naturally admirable for what it expresses about human potential, in which we all partially participate. This isn’t elitist! This is praise of too-sparsely found excellence amid and within our humanity that models aspiration and achievement which belongs to all of us (which is why we so easily identify with heroes when we’re young and mentors ever after).


Orienting our lives relative to a richness of diversity and excellence, to which one may aspire to contribute, is greatly appealing and easily warrantable as telic gravity (giving direction or bearing without evident goal, so it’s not really teleological) by which other aspirations and plans may cohere as the purposiveness of one’s well-growing, well-directed, but open-ended life.

  Be fair. © 2017, gary e. davis