but the appearance of symmetry is a reliable expression of formal
organization - of purpose, even intent. Symmetry is an unmistakable
sign that thereís relevant information in a place. Thatís
because symmetry is a property shared by a relatively small number
of things in the landscape, all of them of keen interest to us.
[...] Symmetry is also a sign of health in a creature, since
mutations and environmental stresses can easily disturb it. So
paying attention to symmetrical things makes good sense: symmetry is
same holds true for bees. How do we know? Because symmetry in a
plant is an extravagance (whereas animals who want to move in a
straight line canít do without it), and natural selection probably
wouldnít go to the trouble if the bees didnít reward the effort.
if the pleasure bees and people take in flowers have a common root,
standards of floral beauty soon begin to specialize and diverge -
and not just bee from boy, but bee from bee as well. For it seems
that different kinds of bees are attracted to different kinds of
symmetry. Honeybees favor the radial symmetry of daisies and clover
and sunflowers, while bumblebees prefer the bilateral symmetry of
orchids, peas, and foxgloves. Whatever the case, the more perfect
the symmetry, the healthier - and therefore sweeter - the flower.
Pollan: The Botany of Desire, Random house, New York, 2002.