Friday, November 5, 2010

Remove the human element

Remove the human element from "nature," and let's see how lovely it is then. If you, even for a moment, stop projecting your own desires, psychological disposition, and relative perspective of the world onto nature, you'll quickly realize that humans are the only living things that care about, well, anything. Sorry, but that's how it is -- aside from humans, nothing cares about much of anything aside from itself or its offspring.

1. Humans are the only animals that can cry.

2. Humans are the only animals that can laugh.

3. Even though plenty of highly functioning mammals are capable of compassion, grief, and joy, they're still quite a paltry part of life on Earth. 99.9% of living organisms -- especially when we tack on the first three billion years, when no life would have been visible to the naked eye, and certainly wouldn't have been multicellular -- wiggle around in the dirt for a few days, suck up enough food in order to poop out a jillion copies of themselves, then die. There is nothing glorious, beautiful, or moving about three billion years of worms, bacteria, and parasites, and if you think otherwise, you are figuratively in love with a vile, indefensible woman solely because she is physically beautiful. Never mind her modus operandi or that disgusting birthmark; she's hot!

In other words, nature lovers are only concerned with looks, and are even in denial when it comes to the preponderance of aesthetic unpleasantness that exists in nature, though that's not what matters in this case. The ultimate point, here, is that beauty is subjective, deceptive, and even manipulative. The sooner you realize this, the more pleasant a place this planet will be for all of us.

Do you love life? Great. Now make a list of your favorite things about it, and let's see how many of them would exist without humans. Seriously, I'd love for someone to do this; I'm curious to know if even a handful of what we cherish predates our emergence. Note: I'm not referencing the objects of affection, but rather, the subjects who perceive the objects as worthy of affection. For example, yes, flowers predate humans by quite a bit, but before humans, nothing thought that flowers were pretty. Get over it.

Ask yourself this question: "What do I enjoy about being alive?" Think hard about whether any of your answers are even physically possible for an organism that is not a human being.

Do not invoke New Age or spiritualist platitudes while thinking about this; instead, also ask yourself, "Is what I'm thinking about right now observable with scientific instruments? If not, then why do I think that it exists? Who told me that it does? Are they trustworthy? Are they fallible? Am I arrogant to cling to this? Am I doing so because it makes me happy, or because I've done some thorough investigation in the name of the truth?"

Do you love nature, or do you love that work of art called Nature which mankind has conceptually fabricated? Funny how we pride ourselves on overcoming religious dogma, where answering every unknown with superhumans is the name of the game, then commit the exact same error while gazing longingly at the mess of suffocation and heart attacks taking place in the jungle. When we're not ascribing human properties to god, we're making nature out to be just another one of us -- a friendly, flower-sniffing human being. We're the crazies in Independence Day holding up the welcome signs just before the aliens blow up Washington.

When will we grow up?


  1. Speak for yourself. Maggots are awesome.

  2. We do, kind of, bank on nature for our existence as a species.

  3. And why should our species exist in the first place?

  4. "Nature" is kind of a doubtful reification anyway.