“Salads are more useful than flowers,” said the housekeeper.
“You are wrong,” replied the bishop. “The beautiful is as useful as the useful.” Then after a pause, he added, “More so, perhaps.”
— Victor Hugo, Le Misérables
Is the bishop right? I think so. Useful things may give us a means to live, but beautiful things give us a reason to live. Utility is at least as important as beauty.
Top: Portrait of a Woman by Leonardo da Vinci; Bottom: manuscript of “Bright Star” by John Keats