Thursday, April 9, 2009

man vs. nature: life in nature: man's limitation, innovation and duality

If we are part of nature, why do we ultimately separate ourselves from even collectively living in it and balancing with it. What makes us different? What goals has progress created that really matter? (I see that there are some (and I'd like to further emphasis some), but for the sake of discussion, let's pretend I don't).


  1. Shelter is identified as one of basic necessities of life. Why? because we are vulnerable to the elements. Maybe this vulnerability drives us "dominate" vs "cohabitate".

  2. As I stated in my nature project, that going on around us doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. You seem to have a similar opinion: ("What goals has progress created that really matter?").

    However, we take completely different approaches. Your approach seems to follow the naturalist belief when you say "we are part of nature, why do we ultimately separate ourselves from [it]". I took a supernaturalist approach, so I tried to separate myself from it in an attempt to attain something that cannot be grasped through natural means.

    So I guess that would be my answer to your question of why we would want to separate ourselves from it.

  3. at this point in time we continue to separate ourselves from nature because, like christine commented, it is out of necessity now to seek shelter because of our vulnerablitity. progress and change, no matter how much you may or may not believe in it, has further separated us from nature by almost adversely affecting ourselves by making us, our biological 'us', very weak in the eyes of pure nature. is it a progression when we continue to biologically weaken, where if we were plopped into a wild forest with nothing 99% of us would be dead within a week. or is it the technology that continues to progress that is our advancement, making up for own individual biological weaknesses? i think it is inherent in man's mind to be capable of controlling the environment around them, but to me that cannot always happen, or at least continue to happen. even in our attempts to control the global warming issue there is crazy talk of controlling the atmosphere and currents and sun rays etc. can we continue to seemingly fight and thus separate ourselves from nature like this and come out on top?

    i don't think that answers your question at all. it got me thinking though, thanks. can't wait to see your completed "ewok village."

  4. Are we a part of nature or are we different? I can't tell which stance you are taking.

  5. Like Christine said, some separation from nature is necessary for survival. But this does not preclude a balance between man and nature. The difficulty is in the gradient of opinion on where this balance exists, or if one believe there should be a balance.

    Has "progress" helped man find additional meaning? I say no. The struggle for meaning was as difficult today as it was 2,000 years ago - involved the same topics.

  6. I agree with Ian, progress often seems in opposition to natural processes. When you say that "99%" of people would likely perish in a true "man vs. wild" scenario, I think of a colony of ants. In groups ants can move relatively gigantic objects, build elaborate nests, and overcome threats many times their own size. Alone, an ant is weak and will faill at any of these complex tasks.

    So, evolution has allowed a COLONY of ants to be highly successful survivors. What if a group of humans had to survive in the wild instead of an individual?

    Ultimately, I think that evolution has given humans cognitiion. As a group, we can progess much faster than biological evolution allows. This increases our rate of survival/ reproduction. Is this what nature has intended?

  7. I would argue that in the extreme end of things no separation from nature is required for survival. Man is a social animal, an animal nevertheless. I'm not sure I can offer an explanation for why we choose to control nature. I do think the idea of separation is impossible. Did we come to think of "nature" as the internet? We can edit it, change it and choose not to be part of it. Why are we studying biological systems if ultimately we choose not to participate in natural cycles?


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