Once people were instinctively tuned to the beautiful. In those distant days before the advent of the motor car and the washing machine, the electric toothbrush and the wheel, craftsmen and musicians, masons and poets, painters and dancers simply did not know how to make an ugly thing; they could not close their hearts to the light of heaven. For them countless numbers of them beauty was as necessary as the air they breathed. It gave dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives, and inspired great (but often brutal) civilizations in which people lived creative and useful lives. Beauty is the nourishment of the soul. It is something that gives us dignity as a species. John Lane calls us to awaken to the possibilities of a culture that recognizes the importance of beauty, and to acknowledge that we are only fully human in contact with the beautiful.