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Man and Nature

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By jhern
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Man and Nature

Have you ever stopped to think about the relationship between yourself and Mother Nature? For most people chances are slim to none, in fact many may not even consider the fact that there might even be any kind of relationship between nature and themselves. As far as anyone might be concerned in today’s society, nature could just mean their backyard, or neighborhood park. In reality there is much more to you and I and this wilderness we refer to as nature. In this paper I argue that there exists a higher connection between man and nature that serves to unify all living things. Today, man and nature are commonly referred to in opposition of one another. Man destroys nature in order to expand and urbanize while nature destroys all man creates over time. People tend to see nature as some uncontrollable wild factor full of danger and chaos. Many think like Thomas Hobbes who would say that the very state of nature is chaotic; that if man were without society he would be inherently evil selfish with only self interest in mind and life would be lonely, difficult and short. However, if taken from a Rousseauian stand point, nature and man share an interest for self-preservation giving them a natural sense of compassion and the state of nature is calm and peaceful. I would have to say that the Rousseauian perspective makes more sense and ties into reality better than Hobbes’s state of nature. The main reason being that all nature moves towards a state of homeostasis or equilibrium, in other words, peace. For example, the human body constantly adjusts to the surrounding environment. When cold we shiver to warm up and when too hot we sweat to cool down. And when sick we have white blood cells to fight off the diseases. Not only in our bodies can this self-preservation be found, but also throughout all life. Every living species plays a specific role in the balance of their ecosystem. Producers support the consumers who support the decomposers who then give nutrients back to the producers. They all represent pieces of a puzzle, if any of the pieces were missing, all balance would be thrown off. So where do humans fit in all this? Well, according to modern society we have set ourselves apart from our once “barbaric” and “savage” lifestyle. Humans are now the alpha predator, no longer apart of the food chain. We live in our modern homes safe from the dangerous wilderness outside and think ourselves above nature because we are not “animals.” However, if modern science (evolution) has taught us anything, it is that we came from these so called animals. To go even further into our direct relationship with nature, many people who have experienced alternate states of consciousness through psychedelic drugs claim to have encountered first-hand a direct connection with nature. These connections are explained as highly euphoric and peaceful, very spiritual and transcendent in essence. The term drug is used lightly in the sense that most psychedelics derive from natural plants containing psycho-active chemical properties. One psychedelic chemical, Dimethyltriptamine or DMT (aka the spirit molecule) is the most potent hallucinogen known to science. It can actually be found in many plants and small mammals which has led to strong conjecture that it even exists in the human brain, however its use is claimed to be unknown. In other speculations it is believed to be an active chemical that allows people to dream, spiritually connect with nature and alternate dimensions of reality.
I myself can attest to these claims through my own experiences. For what feels like a few hours, the drug only lasts around 5 to 15 minutes. There is an overwhelmingly powerful energy that captures your entire being, like a constant resonating frequency that you become a part of. However intense it may have gotten there always existed a calm presence that reassured everything was okay and it will take care of you. There was a point at which my entire body became aqueous and it began to meld with all of my surroundings. It felt as if there were roots sprouting from every inch of my body that connected my soul with the universe. I could see with closed eyes beautiful fractal geometric patterns that spiraled into and back out of itself. There was a feeling of deep understanding for the inner structures of reality, how everything in the universe is interconnected. Time became an illusion as it is a mere concept of our imagination, it slowed down to the point where it simply did not exist. All senses are intermeshed, as you hear something the sound waves resonate throughout your entire body, thoughts and sounds become visible, it truly felt almost like a state of enlightenment. People who have taken DMT all tend to have very similar stories pertaining to a state of enlightenment, seeing or meeting transient beings/ diseased relatives from other realms of existence and obtaining an uttermost understanding and respect for all life (DMT, Schultz & Strassman). I believe that there is more to not only DMT, but other psychedelics (psilocybin mushrooms, lysergic acid diethylamide/LSD, peyote, etc.) that modern science chooses not to further research. Rather than exploring the inner recesses of human consciousness through the effects of psychedelics, which really gives people a new and unifying perspective on reality, to possibly discover something about ourselves, we are left wondering. They are naturally occurring substances that give people a deeper connection and understanding to life itself. Not only through these substances can we find a deeper spiritual connection with nature, but through religion and philosophy as well.
The goal for most contemporary religions generally revolves around achieving a state of godliness, enlightenment, nirvana, etc. Likewise with philosophers, ever seeking the absolute truth to become enlightened of reality. This can relate to natures drive towards self-preservation or homeostasis and the evolutionary process. How evolution plays into nature’s equilibrium is that the adaptation of species to better itself to its environment in order to thrive is a form of homeostasis, just on a larger scale. And if all species are constantly adapting, then technically all species would then be constantly evolving. Taking a side note into a little mathematics, there exists a particular ratio that Plato considered to be the most universally binding of mathematical relationships. Known as phi (a + b is to a as a is to b), aka the golden ratio or divine proportion, it is usually rounded to 1.618 but essentially goes on to infinity. The ratio forms in the shape of a spiral and can be found throughout many forms of nature: seashells, whirlpools, hurricanes, sunflowers, pinecones, etc. It is this very proportion that constitutes the evolutionary process. When observing the natural proportions of organisms in their growth the ratio can be seen to fit perfectly for most, if not all species. It even influences our aesthetics and how we view beauty, hence golden ratio in art. Artwork incorporated with the divine proportion are found to be more visually satisfying than those without. It all points to the ever striving movement to a state of perfection in nature which humans then try to reenact through religious practices and philosophic teachings. Much like physical evolution, humans work in the evolution of the mind, exercising thought and cognition to better perceive/make sense of/justify the world around us. Eastern religions like Buddhism can even relate to the psychedelic connections to nature in that through practices like meditation. It is believed that through meditation one can achieve alternate states of consciousness in which one can “become one with everything” or connect spiritually to all of nature and the universe.
From the Earth (nature) man is born, and unto the Earth shall man return. Every physical element that makes up a human being comes from the earth, therefore we are a part of nature. We have experimented with our own consciousness found enough to know that we definitely play a part in this world and we owe it to all of nature to do the best we can to maintain a balance on this earth and its environment. All life is as one, co-existing together we grow and adapt, learn from the past to move on towards a brighter future. Interwoven are we humans into this mixture of life, forever are we connected, unified and whole.

Works Cited

DMT: The Spirit Molecule. Dir. Mitch Schultz. By Rick Strassman. Perf. Joe Rogan. 2010. YouTube Documentary.

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