In the chapter “Nature” the authors Nealon and Giroux use lines from Shakespeare’s King Lear to provide an interesting example of how we see this concept of “nature” in play. The example shows how polarizing nature can be; it is at once “an original innocence from which there has been a fall” and a “destructive…force”. Nealon and Giroux link this back to “the ethical and ecological consequences” of how humans have affected nature, but personally I read this example and saw something else: a link to the psychological version of nature.
I find that I often look at things from both an English critic and a Psychology minor viewpoint when reading this book. Imagine how happy I was to start this chapter entitled “Nature” only to feel slightly let down when it didn’t mention anything directly about the psychological viewpoint other than Freud, who did help create some interesting theories and trained later great psychologists, did not truly create a school that is very useful to this debate of nature versus nurture.
As the picture above humorously depicts, psychologists have tried to work out which is more important in human development, nurture (the environment we live in) or nature (biology and genetics). Now most psychologists agree that there is an interaction between the two that helps shape our minds and selves, but I don’t think the fact that they are related downplays the importance of either. In fact, reading Nealon and Giroux’s Lear example reminded me of why so many psychologists for so long believed that it was all “natures” role in our development. In fact, I see that nature in the psychological meaning also works within the example. Psychologists who lean towards natures role being most important believe that we need no prior experience to perform or behave in certain ways as they, for lack of a better word, come “naturally” to us. Another way of putting this is that we have an “original innocence” that once certain factors are acted upon can lead to a “fall”. We don’t need to watch others to model our behavior, we just behave. I also see relations of this type of nature being a “destructive…force” as biologically we can wreak havoc on our own bodies that can literally destroy us through death, or have genetic abnormalities that causes us to be “different”. This may seem like a long-shot from this chapter, but as a psych minor enrolled in a lot of different psychology classes I never look at the word “Nature” without immediately thinking of these concepts.