Humans’ Place in Nature

Nature, the bearing principle of what we think of as material reality, has become strangely alien to western thought, and that mutant insensitivity has increased across the world—a situation due partly to religion and partly to science, the two answer-seeking indulgences which often rear up as opposing qualities.

Western religions have, by and large, pursued the notion that the creature man is meant to have dominion over nature and that humans are called upon by some divine overseer of the universe to control that life-sustaining organism we speak of as nature.  Science, drawn more to exploring how things work and evolve,  does so not in a drive to dominate nature but to (ideally) learn how to cooperate with nature and utilize the powers from which we became manifest as conscious life forms.

The western religious assertion that we must take control(dominion) over the wisdom that functions as nature and which produced our physical being is a rather infantile stance considering that as a complex species of nature we humans too often fail in even understanding or controlling ourselves.  We should take into consideration that western religious philosophy which professes to know so much about the nature of a supreme being remains curiously vague about the nature of man’s relationship to creative forces.  That vagueness attests to weak theology, and that lack of insight has infected humankind with a sense of estrangement from his natural being and his natural environment.

Science, which may be described as theoretical naturalism, customarily professes faithfulness to an indulgence in  rational consciousness which, unfortunately, is almost as indefinable as the mystical soul.  Both science and religion can only theorize from a state of limitation because the studies of both use humankind in nature as the object that is studied as representative of the subject.  And because such a technique focuses on external manifestations it means that neither of those theoretical approaches can act as a subjective observer.

Through such theoretical  exercises of science and religion we continue to feel that we are estranged in some way from the inner workings that function as nature.  Nevertheless, everything that is active as conscious life and all events active as nature are mutually interdependent.  Man cannot rightfully be understood as an object that stands apart from the subject nature.  Such a sense of estrangement from nature then encourages the self-destructive exploitation of the resources of the planet that have led humankind into the present day environmental predicament.

Like it or not, humankind has a total  involvement with nature.  Ultimately inhumanity toward nature is to deny humankind a future that holds any higher potential.

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