Would you find this more/less beautiful depending on which sentence you believe to be true?
A. The color is the result of dye being added upstream as an April Fool's joke.
B. That's the color of blood--the result of a huge massacre upstream.
C. The color is a natural result of minerals stirred up by heavy rains.
Not tellin' which is true (yet). Photo credit: Rochelle Coffey, National Geographic.
UPDATE: OK, it's C. The picture made me think of a passage about how we value wildness in an article by Ned Hettinger and Bill Throop.
Imagine how visitors to Yellowstone would feel about Old Faithful if they thought that the National Park Service put soap into the geyser to regulate and enhance its eruptions...People value more highly what is less subject to human alteration or control than a more humanized variant of the same phenomenon.I react as they predict--believing A would make me find the scene less beautiful than believing C. Of course, wildness is not an "absolute value." If I believed B (and believed the massacre was a matter of normal predation), I'd find the color disturbing, not beautiful. But wildness is something I (we) value. That colors my thinking about lots of issues...
A. Use fake chicken stock--tastes just like the real thing. Lots of strange words in the list of ingredients.
B. Use real dead chickens.
C. Make rich vegetable stock from scratch.
Is the fakery of A unappealing, like the fakery of dyeing the falls red? Is the carnage of B unappealing, like the massacre turning the falls red? Is C the ethical aesthete's best choice?