As humans, aren’t we generally trying to hold things back or let them go? As if nature, creativity or life itself are these forces we either set loose or restrain for some reason – usually, a reason that suits “us” (Notes One).
Thinking of nature, almost all our foods must fit that description. Some plants we harvest early as we’re more interested in their leaves or stems than their ability to form roots. Others we grow for their fruits, needing them to go through almost all their life stages if they’re to provide us with the nourishment we’re after.
Aren’t we forever intervening to support or discourage different processes in nature so that we get what we want? Stepping in to stop plants from “wasting” their life force on outcomes we’re not interested in while encouraging the growth of whatever it is that meets our requirements.
Is it that, as humans, we effectively suppress the planet to suit our own needs? Letting things flourish when that suits us or stamping them out if we see no useful purpose. Similarly, with animal life it seems we’re often artificially involving ourselves in their life or breeding cycles to ensure a supply of whatever “product” we’ve deemed valuable or necessary for “our” existence.
Almost as if “to be human” is to evaluate the world around us in terms of the resources it offers, ways they match our needs, and ideas we have for getting more or less of what “we” want. The life forces of an entire planet enlisted for the purpose of our consumption. The living potential of each creature harnessed or suppressed to achieve our own ends.
It’s incredible to think of the position we hold within nature: the being capable of recognising its needs, understanding its environment, and finding ways of matching up the two through industrious activity. As if we’re holding the rest of nature back from fulfilling its potential in order that we might fulfil ours.
Don’t we generally seek the fulfilment of human potential? That we should be able to do all we’re capable of through the provision of opportunity, information, resources. We want ourselves to flourish, be all we can be, have nothing hold “us” back. All the while holding back almost everything around us – even other people – so that we might get ahead.
The place we occupy in the world, naturally or socially, seems so fascinating to contemplate (Notes Two). What is our philosophy of human life and its meaning? How much worth do we place on ourselves, others, and the roles we all play within these systems we’re each a fundamental part of?
If modern society’s the culmination of all that’s gone before, how aware are we of what’s made things as they currently stand? All the developments, breakthroughs, discussions that brought us here. All the energy, commitment, resolve, sacrifice by the countless beings whose forces were directed into furthering humanity’s path. What are we making of the opportunity for life this planet affords us?
Notes and References:
Note 1: Beauty and wonder in nature
Note 1: Things with life have to be maintained
Note 1: Humanity & creative instincts
Note 1: Living as a form of art
Note 2: Power and potential
Note 2: Where do ideas of evolution leave us?
Note 2: Problems & the thought that created them
Note 2: How ideas find their place in the world
Note 2: Do we know what stands before us?