Nature Behind Our Nature

Can you see nature at work behind our nature? It’s obvious. Here is a fresh perspective on a constantly mutating world. Perhaps it is one that is both timeless and new. Many ancient cultures sought to express nature with the powerful image a snake eating it’s tail, but as fast as it eats the tail it grows.

Today, more than ever, our current mentality is at odds with nature. Humanity imagines itself locked in a struggle to dominate its ancient perceived foe. Since Adam and Eve’s supposed expulsion from the garden of Eden we have seen ourselves as pitted against nature as we serve our punishment by toiling all day in agriculture for our survival. 

We have externalised nature, viewing it as something that is separate from ourselves and our technology, which alienates us from the rest of life on this planet. Yet, we rely upon nature for our food, shelter, energy and even the basic material components of the technology that we use to separate us from nature without any sentiments of sympathetic affiliation. We have even compartmentalised and subdivided nature into the various separate sciences of biology, geology, chemistry, astronomy, physics etc; instead of seeking to find the one theory of everything.

However various hunter gatherer tribes, with their totemic animal spirits and profound knowledge of plant medicine recognise their role as part of nature, inside of their local rainforest ecosystems. Years of observing interactions with nature while freediving and spearfishing have blessed me with a keen intuitive sense of an inclusive feeling in nature, not just a visitor, that stems from the recognition of my dynamic position in the food chain; usually the hunter, but sometimes the hunted. 

We came out of nature, and still rely upon nature, so therefore we are nature. It’s is plausible that since we are a phenomenon of nature itself, then all that we do as a species is therefore what nature is doing as the force behind the actions homo sapiens. 

Human beings have a tendency to lay down grid patterns on the earth’s surface and build cities full of high rise buildings out of concrete, steel and glass. This is another natural process, much in the same way that corals build giant crystalline formations of calcium that become barrier reefs and even islands. Bees build hives, termites build nests and so people naturally build cities in conducive locations.

Our symbiotic practice of agriculture is nothing new for nature. Leaf cutter ants have been successfully practicing it for hundreds of millions of years by carefully cultivating a fungus deep underground in the chambers of their nests that breaks down plant leaves into sugar and protein, upon which the ants feed. 

Is it too far fetched to imagine that nature is the puppet master—dynamic, increasingly complex and interconnected global economy—with all of its various sectors, industries, trade, jobs and consumers in the same way that ecosystems that are full of busy animals in a multitude of ecological niches?

We love to reconnect with nature by going to parks and camping because even though we are now civilised, fundamentally, we are still wild animals. Nature is doing us as individual homo sapien animals to perfection by multiplying our cells, growing our hair and nails, digesting our food, and producing enzymes in our liver. Nature even breathes us when we don’t remember to breathe.

Like all other animals, even our behavior is an expression of nature, hardwired by instinctual instructions in our DNA to react in predetermined ways to stimuli in our environment. Nature is behind our most powerful motivating drives to survive and procreate, which Freud theorised were subconsciously behind our behavior. Nature has instinctually programmed animals to have elaborate courtship behaviour to attract mates with optimal genes to ensure the best chances of survival for their offspring. Essentially human beings are no different, it’s just that our behaviour, displays and rituals have become increasingly more complicated and interesting as we have.  

In keeping with this line of thinking, nature is at work behind the development and use our ever improving technology. Even now as we begin to modify the DNA of other organisms and eventually ourselves, it is nature doing humans who are in turn doing nature.

We are on the brink of post-human existence with the imminent dawn of artificial superintelligence. Perhaps we human beings aren’t the end game of nature of this planet, but just another link in nature’s process of evolution that will transcend our notion of life. To me, It is very conceivable that there really is an intelligence behind all of this. In my heart, I remain optimistic about the future.