"A fleck of gray or a receding forehead, a sprouting of pimples or smelly underarm odors, these begin to take on meaning beyond the immediate condition of changing age; they connect us with ancestors who used these organs with the pride of newly-gained identity. Someone with a long nose or short height is wearing a badge of ancestral social strategy—like an organic coat-of-arms from a distant family tree tatooed into one’s soul and skin. Such a badge gives us a deeper tradition of kinship than any of us can trace by oral or written genealogies. For somewhere in our background were our ancestors who possessed a bald pate or were diminutive and had other peculiarities like ourselves; they shared the evolutionary cream of their time and participated more fully in life’s processes—or else you wouldn’t look the way you do today.
The explanation of why you have those particular social organs, which so immensely affect your life, is somewhat unsatisfying if you only know the immediate genetic answer—’your parents carried these genes here, and…’ It’s like someone who is black asking Why? It isn’t good enough to know that you are black because your kinfolk were black. The explanation of the evolutionary why is more satisfying—because you belonged to a distant noble group who once used black skin, as the Scots used their red beards, as status symbols. And that ancient tradition is genetically fixed into your soul.”
—Guthrie, “Body Hotspots”
*Not merely “Aesthetics” but “Organics,” or how organs mean and why. A social anatomy or biosemiotics. Note how “comparative ethology” is just a secular way of saying “totemism.”