Friday, December 28, 2012

An Inconvenient Truth:No matter what and everything we do is Natural.

Written in response to published comments on the Newtown shootings asserting that our world is falling apart  and that we have lost our way regardless of the fact that we are "the highest part of Nature".

No matter what and everything we do is Natural. Yes, we humans are social. We form groups to help us survive and succeed. Our world is not falling apart. Meanwhile, we are not the highest part of Nature. No matter what and everything we do is Natural.

Our success at reproducing and survival as a species has depended on humanity's ever more creative, cooperative and exploitive consumption of Nature's resources to satisfy our ever-evolving definition of our "basic" needs  -- to the detriment of ourselves and many species who surround us. Meanwhile, that's Natural. Many other species have preceded us to success, collapse or extinction because of these same natural processes.

The success and demise of civilizations is Natural as well. We celebrate the achievements and monuments of Egypt and Syria, of Persia, Greece and Rome, of "the Church" or "the One", of Spain and France and Empires galore. We seldom reflect on their consumption, waste and selfish cruelty  suffered on other groups and their environment that led to their success and "evolution", naturally.

Our tribal nature has helped in our success because we can, and tend to, blame other groups and/or external forces -- Nature -- for our woes and selfish failures. Focusing on differences between our group and others has led us to excuse our mass-killing of millions of "others" every couple of decades, to ignore or exploit the suffering of other groups and/or to defend against other groups' -- and Nature's -- real or perceived attempts to succeed in stealing the resources of our group. And here we are, Successful, forgetful and ... Natural.

3 comments:

Vane said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/books/review/the-world-until-yesterday-by-jared-diamond.html?pagewanted=2

This review and the book second my emotion.

Vane said...

We're just Natural. Where are the atheist or religious coral reefs, butterflies, monkeys or Neanderthals? Our tribal nature has helped in our explosive success(?) -- because we tend to group, then blame other groups and/or external forces -- Nature -- for our woes and selfish failures. To defend against those others' real or perceived attempts to challenge our group, we focus on differences. This leads us to excuse our mass-killing of millions of each "others" every couple of decades or to ignore or exploit the suffering of other species and groups for our benefit. And here we are, successful (for the time being or not), forgetful and, god or no god, Natural.

Vane said...

I like brilliant, I like sarcasm, I accept hopeless, that's all. There will always emerge a Dick Cheney. A Ghandi. A Kellogg Briande Treaty. A Declaration that reads "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" and a Constitution based on it that reads "Life, Liberty and Property." There will always be financial interests that trump social, environmental and political ones. As A Short History of Progress points out, things ("civilizations") always "fix" themselves. Nature and our evolution will always produce the "right" result. Nature doesn't "care" about us. It just moves on. Do the whales care if their race survives? They, like us, just do what they do, and Nature, including all of us, will move on, with us or without us. Party on, humanity.