Re: Nature

From: Emlyn (
Date: Wed May 10 2000 - 20:39:56 MDT

> In a message dated 5/10/2000 8:06:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> writes:
> >
> > No matter how maliciously we choose to wield our growing power over
> nature,
> > we can never begin to approach in capriciousness and sheer mind-boggling
> > indifference the actions displayed by nature herself.
> Yet our lives and deaths are simply a part of that beautiful symphony
> nature.
> If we weild increasing power over "her" we are simply wielding increasing
> power over our own actions, not some being that has lack of emotion over
> separate and indifferent.
> Sadness and anger are natural emotions in an occurance such as a loved
> death. A word of caution however: What we cannot control, we must not
> as cruel intention. To imagine we can gain control over everything and
> everyone may only serve to cause us great pain.

I have lazily taken on poetic license by portratying Nature as a being, a
designer. I want to take that back, because that is not how I see it at all.

"Nature" is the sum of the mindless processes that govern the universe.
Little rules make big complex systems, and the universe that we see, and the
biosphere of this planet as a subset, are objects of the most awe-inspiring
beauty, I will agree. To imagine the whole is to tremble before an entirely
profound greatness that we cannot hope to approach.

Yet it is a mindless greatness, which is the important point. This amazing
whirling machine of which we are part has no designer, no director. Thus, it
does not care for us; indeed it cannot. We are entirely side-effects of a
much larger process, whose sense of identity and importance is not shared by
the system in which we exist.

I think the term "nature" is a bad one, because it is loaded with warm,
fuzzy memes about protection, nurturing, all things benign and lovely.
Nothing could be futher from the truth! We exist at the mercy of the
universe, an abbaration that can be nothing other than temporary, a
momentary local emergence of complex order in the flows, a fragile
attractor, gone as suddenly as it appears.

A better term is "Default". Substitute "Default" everywhere you might use
the term "Nature". The "Default" is many things; complex, profoundly
beautiful, in many ways beyond our ken. But it cannot care; it's just the

We differ in that we care. We care about ourselves, about our own continued
existence, as petty and insignificant as we may be in this maelstrom. It is
important to grasp that we, alone, have this care. No one is looking out for
us. There is no "grand plan" of the "default" to build humanity and nuture
us in some kind of garden of eden. Planning is invented by sentients.

The term "Default" emphasises two important points:
1 - there is no designer. While you can talk of "nature's plan"
(erroneously), "the "Default's plan" makes no sense.
2 - we can change it. Sure, we don't know what we are doing, we break stuff,
and we do nasty things to each other. But we continue, we learn, and we
grow. There would certainly not be six billion people on this planet if we
left it up to "the default".

There can be no moral objection. The universe (or such of it as is unclaimed
by other sentients) is ownerless, terra nullius. Natural Law is a lie. We
are, and beyond that all is anthropocentricity. If we break nature, it is on
our heads, but there is no one else who suffers. If we don't hack nature, we
die, and the mindless machine whirls on, unnapreciated and unaware.

I don't imagine for one minute that we can control everything. But we can
control something, many things. We can direct ourselves, and we must. No one
else will. Nature be damned.


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