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Domination of Nature

The schism in human nature extends to conflict over the relationship to nature itself. On the one hand lies nostalgia for lost vitality and paradise, and the motive to preserve what remains of the natural world. We long to be restored, in some sense, to a life of greater authenticity and harmony within it. The irony there, of course, is that our species probably never did live in harmony with nature. A life strictly within the natural order—that is, without culture—would be the vital but unreflective life of the brute, limited in the damage it could inflict upon the planet, to be sure, by small numbers and the restraining presence of other creatures. Having already been there and tried that, phylogenetically speaking, humans began early to search at the other extreme for security, superiority, and conquest of nature. The first step in this program, initiated many thousands of years ago, was the elimination of large menacing or competing predators. The final step would be complete control and transcendence of matter, energy, space and time—indeed, the conversion of all matter to conscious, if not human, intelligence.

RELATED TAGS: [divided/conflicted human nature, relationship to nature, paradise lost, harmony with/conquest of nature, human predator, mastery of nature/space and time, technological control/mastery]

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