Feb 9: Nature

Near the beginning of the chapter the authors state on page 231 a line they pulled out of “Environment and Social Theory” that reads “So in the end, the concept of nature can work to remove or separate humanity from the nonhuman or natural order, or it can bring them together in a kind of organic unity.” (Theory Toolbox) Both of these possibilities are brought up and discussed throughout the chapter so what did you interpret the authors opinion on these to be? Did you interpret one idea to be thought of as better than the other by the authors? Did you interpret a need for a balanced existence of both? How do you think this idea would link back to English when referring to popular theme of Man vs. Nature that is often found in literature, which is a debate that the authors came close to by mentioning other works of literature throughout the chapter?

2 thoughts on “Feb 9: Nature

  1. I interpreted the section as a need for a balanced existence of both concepts. There needs to be a balance when dealing with nature, as we have learned for centuries not to mess with the force of something we can not comprehend. I did not see them thinking that one idea was better than others, but rather they laid out the options with details so the reader could decide on their own. The concept that nature can help develop a non-human to live the life it should biologically live sounds like a good idea. I have never owned pets besides fish and I have never wanted to because I have always felt weird owning a living being. Animals belong in nature, where they can roam free and live in their natural habitat. Man has ruined nature, and as the book puts it, “What men want to learn from nature is how to use it in order wholly to dominate it and other men.”(239) This is a blunt response, but quite true and honest, as it shows we need to stop with the bickering and war and allow nature to blossom instead of destroying it. Nature should not be a battleground, but instead a place of peace that allows different people to come together and share in the beauty of the world.

  2. I agree — I think that the chapter did a very good job of portraying that we need a balance between civilization and nature and perhaps have strayed too far away from nature. I appreciated that the chapter touched briefly on the controversy over whether global warming was man-made or natural, because I think that it shows how relevant the “Man v. Nature” debate is in our society today. I also appreciated that it discussed a topic that is very relevant to me when it talked about animal rights, quoting several philosophers who argued for animal rights. For example, it quotes Jeremy Bentham, who stated, “‘The question is not, Can they reason? Nor, Can they talk? But, Can they suffer?'”(p.246). The rights of every living thing, including other animals, are very important to me. However, on a broader scale, I think that finding a more reasonable balance between humanity and nature is something that is very topical in the current social and political climate. I found this chapter and its explanation of the dynamic between man and nature to be very engaging.

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