The term nature has been brought up a lot in this class this semester. I like to define terms and see all the semantically different definitions used to describe it. I do this because of the subjectivity of meaning and the objectivity of words. It is an objective truth that this distinct word exists in our language, but everyone feels, thinks, and grasps the meaning of that word subjectively and differently. One definition for nature that I really like is ‘the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations. ‘Now the reason I like this definition so much is because of how contradictory it seems to me. The definition states ‘products of earth’ as one the requirements for something to be natural. Which surely humans are, but then right after that it says ‘as opposed to humans.’ This is difficult for me to grasp. Logically to me it seems to be a contradiction.
I’m not sure if it is the arrogance of the human ego that makes us think we are above the category of nature. If our use of tools and ability to reason are what make us unnatural. If our rationality and awareness of consciousness makes us divinely unnatural. Are we not products of earth? Products of this galaxy? If we aren’t products of Mother Earth then are we alien to this planet? How can we be native to this planet but not products of it? I think a lot of this stems from peoples view of humans. People view humans as the apex of evolution. We are the top and nothing will ever be smarter, better, more efficient, or more intelligent than us. In reality, we are a small planet in the orbit of an average star, orbiting the center of an average galaxy. I recall reading somewhere that we are about halfway through our Sun’s life cycle. So the creatures (I do not want to call them humans because of the ambiguity of the term) will be as different from our future selves, as we are from protozoa. Maybe even exponentially different because of the advancements in technology.
To me humans are as natural as nature gets. We are inherently a part of this physical world, not above it. We did not change the course of nature. We are nature, we embody and shape nature. Even the technology we create is natural. It is composed of natural elements and composed by natural beings. Whatever happens is relatively natural because it is happening naturally in the eyes of the universe. I do not think being conscious of the physical world makes us unnatural. Humans are the combination and composition of multiple natural elements. Those natural elements being mostly Oxygen and Carbon. All in all I think that humans and everything that humans do is natural. This, however, is my subjective meaning of the objective word Nature. I may just be being semantically pedantic though.