"Muir’s writings indicate that the clearest avenue to the ecological position is beauty. In the perception of beauty, we overcome civilization and participate in God–‘no synonym for God is so perfect as Beauty’–and affirm our own ‘most richly Divine’ nature. For Muir, beauty was no effete concept, and not a casual activity for leisure time: it was the key to wild nature and thus self-nature. The purely anthropocentric mind is closed to beauty on this level; a ‘streaming,’ open consciousness is required.
Muir’s chief technique for inspiring this border-crossing kind of consciousness is to show all nature as alive and moving, so that the ordinary Lockeian theory of mind–a separate ‘subject’ perceiving ‘objects’–is transcended."
–Thomas J. Lyon (1972)