Nature is not good or bad. It cares nothing about morality or fairness. It punishes weakness and ignorance. It has no sense of sentimentality whatsoever. It gives its rewards to those who unearth its secrets, who learn the laws and cooperates with them. Luck is its wild card, played any time or place.

Nature’s beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It has no vanity save in humans. It goes on indifferent whether the flower is opening or decaying. It gives what it will to all its member creatures. There are competitions going on but nature cares nothing about who wins: The mosquito and the mammal, the hawk and the mole, the gardener and the ground hog, bacteria that helps its host and kills its host, beetles and pine trees, cancer cells and healthy organs. Trees battle drought, hurricane winds shakes the delicate nest, spring rain and the snowmelt may flood or nourish the land. Survival in this world is a practical matter.  Nature is the force unleashed upon everyone. I am not sure where all those prayers asking God to intercede go.

Humans are having a fantastic run of thousands of years of growth to the point where we dominate any area of land we choose. And we have big appetites. If the other life forms were capable of jealousy then we would be the envy of the planet, but thankfully we are the only species that suffer from that deadly trait.  Our big appetites cause us to kill each other and run roughshod over the resources of the Earth. Nonetheless, we dominate. Our wit, strength, courage, resourcefulness, coping skills, adaptability, tenacity, big brain and nimble bodies trump our violent excesses, at least up until now.

While humans think of the passage of time as linear, nature works in cycles and within that it is completely unpredictable. One of our race’s stranger delusions is that we are not connected to nature, that we somehow rule it but are not part of it. But species come and go, wax and wane, and everything that has ever been alive are now dead or soon will be. Humans included. While humankind looks to unending progress they off times overlook that one of the many things they create: pesticides, new chemicals, radioactive waste, radio waves, and items that hardly anyone has ever heard of, may, and some no doubt will, have unintentional consequences that will cause enormous changes. Small pox wiping out the natives of the Western Hemisphere, or the sparrows brought in from Europe and then decimating the bluebirds are good examples. In a time of tremendous increase of technology and the world becoming interconnected makes these kinds of events even more likely. There is also the possibility of nuclear war even though no one supposedly wants one, yet the weapons still exist in vast quantities.  All our skills at prospering will be needed. We should be psychologically prepared to expect anything.

Meanwhile nature will move on into eternity. The best depiction of the universe I have ever seen is the ancient drawing of a serpent curled in a circle eating its own tail.

One Response to “Nature”

  1. Thanks Terry, another insightful essay.

    You touch upon one of the most alarming developments of human culture – mainly of European origin – the idea that man is separate from and ‘above’ nature.

    From an essay by Leo Marx: (;col1)

    “According to Calvinist doctrine, only those rescued from the state of nature may enjoy the Godgiven liberty to do what is good, just, and honest.”

    This doctrine dominated European thought at the time when the Americas were colonized. The early settlers saw the indigenous people as wild beasts and they saw the unspoiled land as land to be dominated, to be conquered. The bible is full of passages that support this mindset – the concept that man’s role (his responsibility) is to dominate the natural world and its inferior inhabitants.

    Still, I don’t mean to bash the bible. It’s quite likely that the allegories are not meant to be taken so literally, that instead they mean for man to overcome the more brutal animal-like tendencies that prevent a true ascension to higher levels of spiritual awareness.

    Unfortunately for both man and his planet, the overwhelming interpretation is for physical domination, not spiritual ascension. But we can not completely blame the christians, even in remote rain forests, the people do what they need to do to survive – they strip trees of their bark, they kill animals that threaten them. True, they have a closer relationship to nature and feel more part of it, but if the population of rain forest dwellers swelled to the billions, who’s to say they would be good stewards of the planet?

    Let’s face it, as Terry so aptly puts forth, mans foothold on the planet is but a speck in the face of time. These billions of large-brained mammals evolved in ways that enabled them to survive and for their communities to thrive. The same traits that allowed them to adapt to a wide variety of environments, allowed them to travel quickly from place to place, that allowed them to defeat their enemies – these are no more than survival skills.

    The fact that these survival skills will eventually extinguish the species is neither fortunate nor unfortunate – rather it is the way it is.

    Having reached such a pessimistic conclusion does not mean that I am a pessimist, nor that I will roll over and join the destructive wave. It brings me back, once again, to my assertion that individuals can strive for true spiritual evolution. They can speak in voices both loud and soft, striving to elevate awareness, protect natural beauty and defend beneficial acts.

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