Thinking About – The ‘Natural World’

Is that lake natural or man-made?

Druidry is a spiritual path that allows a deeper connection to the Natural World.

I’ve heard these two statements spoken many times but I wonder how helpful they really are.

The first one doesn’t have to refer to a lake, it can be a forest, a garden, a landscape. Both statements make some kind of sense but they perpetuate the lie that somehow humans are not a part of Nature. I guess we have inherited this odd belief from the Biblical quote that suggests that humans have dominion over Nature. We look at the animal kingdom as an observer. As if we are looking at something separate from ourselves.

The quote about Druidry is better. At least it is suggesting that Druidry can bridge that gap, but is there really a gap to bridge? If an alien species came to the Earth many people hold the opinion that they would instantly want to talk to humans. There is a wonderful moment in The Day the Earth Stood Still where Keanu Reeves is asked by the military, “What do you want with our planet?” Reeves looks around, at the plants, the birds, the miriad of other species and asks, “Your planet?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd that is the drive behind this post.

We may have changed vast areas of the environment to be friendlier to our own needs, and we see that these changes somehow make us the dominant species, but take us out of our controlled environment and we most certainly are not.

We are just another animal.

We are a part of the Natural World.

So when we look at a man-made lake, a garden, the moors, and ask if they are natural, is it right to see them as unnatural? Is London as much a part of the natural world as an anthill is to a colony of ants? I know there will be some who read that last statement and question it. But why is something that a human animal creates any less natural than any other animal?Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Virgin_of_the_Rocks_London_01

I’m not talking about just the destruction we cause here. I’m certainly not on a human-bashing guilt trip. What about the glorious works of art, our music, the way we love, all of these things are a part of the natural world of this planet. To keep them isolated does nothing but help us extend the myth that we are somehow separate, and to many superior, to other species on this planet.

We share this world, equally, and by acknowledging that we are a part of the natural world, we can then understand that we have a responsibility towards each other, the other species around us, and our home.

And we can really feel that this is our home, as much as the Tundra is to the reindeer, the ocean to the whale, the sky to the eagle.


5 responses to “Thinking About – The ‘Natural World’”

  1. This is an interesting group of concepts….I agree with the gist of what you’re saying. I feel very like an animal most of the time these days as I spend a lot of my time with horses, ponies, foals, dogs etc. As well as being outside in the open away from the ‘bustle’ of daily life, not using words and just watching them or touching these other animals, quietens me and make me ‘softer’ or ‘gentler’ in my self.

    Looking at the beauty of a painting, flowers, water flowing or still, brings the same sort of peace. If the way these things exist is because they were intentionally planted or created by a person/people, or dropped by a bird or blown by the wind, or constructed by man using tools and stones, doesn’t really change the effect they have IF we are prepared to ‘experience’ them for what they are.

    HUM my words are clumsy, Sorry! But I appreciate that you posted this, Thanks.

  2. This is a point I often return to in my own thoughts.

    It seems to be the norm for organisms to exploit their environment regardless of the consequences. Herbivores will overgraze, yeast will produce so much alcohol that it poisons its own environment and forces itself into dormancy etc. What holds the excesses in check is the presence of other organisms – such as pathogens or the predators that control the herbivores – or the changed conditions which are no longer favourable for the exploiting species. When we exploit and damage our own environment we are only being completely natural. The possible difference for us is that we can now foresee the consequences (I have to assume other organisms can’t do this? Why do I assume this?) and stop before some other factor (pathogen, food shortage, climate change) forces us to do so.

    But it’s no use complaining that we’re not being natural when we damage our environment; the problem is that we’re only too natural.

  3. I think there are human works that are aligned with nature, that are harmonious with the flow of life and seek to enhance it, ‘awen’, whatever you want to call it, and there are those that flow from fear, isolationism, a closed heart. All is natural in a very strict sense of coming from a human animal’s hand, but I believe a human animal connected to the land and not fighting for his individual survival, will, at his core, feel a sense of stewardship for nature, a desire to flow with it, and a template for his own life and life-works within it. The unnatural, environment-diminishing creations come from those disconnected from the source – walls, towers, divisions, laws that help the isolated brittle ego feel safe.

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