Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Man IS Nature!

Natural products. Man-made products. Green products. Man v. Mother Nature.

We separate ourselves from Nature. We are not part of Nature. What we produce is not considered "natural." But the human being and his output are part of Nature. A plastic bottle is as much a product of Nature as is a tree! A tree has a chemical make-up - so does a plastic bottle. If we break them down into their atomic elements - the only difference would be which elements are used in the tree, which in the bottle, and how they are relate to each other chemically. All these chemical elements are "natural." Yes, one may be defined as "alive," but both are "natural." Somehow if man makes it, it isn't part of nature. If a bird builds a nest, the nest is considered part of nature. If a man builds a house - it is not.

When we separate the world into Mother Nature and everything else, we should accept that this is a specious division. What we are in fact doing, is disconnecting what may be good for man from what may not be so good for man. When man invents an atomic weapon, he is doing nothing more than assembling existing materials into a product. Mother Nature has provided him with the products and the means of assembly. Man can never "fight" Mother Nature because he is, and we are, all part of "her."

Mother Nature doesn't care what happens to the Planet Earth. Neither do giraffes or bacteria, or viruses. It seems that only we humans consciously "care" about the future of our planet. What we really are concerned with is not Mother Earth, but with ourselves! We want to preserve the "natural" so that our life-forms can somehow continue into the infinite future, a future that looks pretty much like the present, with fish and forests, giraffes and gerbils. However, if bacteria or mosquitoes had the right to vote, do you think they would vote as we might as to how this planet should be preserved?

We, as is true for all species everywhere, are dedicated to self-preservation - if necessary at the expense of other living forms. We have arrogated to ourselves the position of Number One. After all, in Genesis God grants humans dominion over all other earthly creatures! And we use this power to assume mastery over our "domain." We have been put by God, or by evolution - take your pick, at the pinnacle of the planet. We have determined the relative worth of all that exists. We have the right to direct Nature. We have the right to assign worth to natural forms. People are more important than dogs - dogs more important than oysters - oysters more important than mosquitoes.

A tree is interfering with the function of an adjacent cell phone tower that is so designed that it can easily be mistaken for a "real" tree. Should the tree or the cell tower be removed, assuming the expense is equal? The tree is "part of nature," the cell tower "is not." We would choose to relocate the cell tower, I presume. We now discover, however, that the tree can cause a lethal form of cancer in children. I think I would be correct in concluding that it would be the tree that would now have to go. We show little regard for the creatures that may be relying on the tree for food or shelter when the lives of children are at stake.

Once the existence of one form threatens the nature of another form - the threatened tries to eliminate the threatening. Have you, in destroying the tree, interfered with Mother Nature? Not to worry - you have not. The birds and the squirrels may not survive and you will. This is not interference with a process - this is part of a process. So is the cell phone tower.

Man is part of Nature. Nature (or God) created Jackson Pollock. Pollock created his art. His work, therefore, is as "natural" as a "directly created" sunset. We should not arrogate to ourselves some extra-natural powers that can somehow affect Mother Nature or disconnect ourselves from her.

Mother Nature couldn't care less about us. We are fragments of nature that may be affected by what we do, but we should not presume to be Nature's focus. Who we are and what we create are all nature's doing. Nature creates the tree and nature creates the cell phone tower. We humans cannot create anything without the elements provided by the natural environment of which we are a part. Natural? Man-made? Its all the same!

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