Category: Blog

Are We a Part of Nature?

The American Heritage Dictionary defines nature in a number of ways, including: (1) The world of living things and the outdoors: the beauties of nature. (2) A primitive state of existence, untouched and uninfluenced by civilization or artificiality. There appears to be a conflict between these definitions. If nature is the world of living things and is a primitive state of existence, untouched and uninfluenced by civilization, then what is mankind? Are we a part of nature or is nature that which is untouched and uninfluenced by man?

I think for most of us, things that are natural are things that exist and are sustained without the assistance of man. When advertisers tell us that the ingredients in their new drink are completely natural, they are implying that the product was not made in a lab, is not man-made. When seeds grow into plants, a lion kills and eats a deer, a shooting star streaks across the night sky, we define these as natural events, untouched and uninfluenced by mankind. Nature, as a whole, is self-sustaining, though some natural events can be very destructive. The ice age, which destroyed life on earth as it was at the time, was very destructive, though life itself did survive.

One thing that seems to set mankind apart from all other aspects of nature is our ability to choose. We can be self-sustaining or we can choose to be self-destructive. Since we were born with that ability to choose, does that mean that man’s ability to choose is a part of universal nature? If the nature of mankind is a part of universal nature, then the self-sustainability of nature is a choice, not a given. Mankind can choose to put too many toxins in our soil, robbing it of its natural ability to grow plants. Mankind can choose to pollute our rivers and lakes making them incapable of sustaining aquatic life. Mankind can choose to be a destructive force on nature, a preserver of nature, or even a partner to nature. When scientists alter the genetics within seeds in order to produce bigger fruit, it could be said we are partnering with nature, though many are not convinced that meddling with genetics is healthy or wise. When farmers use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in order to help make their crops grow bigger and faster they are actually doing an injustice to the nature of the soil, as over time the soil loses its ability to grow anything. At times mankind believes they can do nature better than nature. Stupidity at best, arrogance at worst.

 

Natural Rhythms and Balance

For millions of years, Nature has created natural rhythms that maintain a healthy balance for all life on Earth. When these rhythms are disrupted it throws the system out of balance and creates disharmony, disease and extinction. Sometimes these rhythms are disrupted by natural processes in nature such as natural disasters, fires, etc. But even these disruptions are dealt with by natural rhythms. For example, after a fire, nature has created specialized rhythms such as the soil becoming more fertile, specialized plants growing that enhance the re-creation of the original rhythms. Some trees seed pods only open from the heat produced by a fire.

Certain plants will grow in poor soil and in the process they naturally produce the nutrients and transfer them to the soil to make it more fertile. There are Acacia trees that produce nectar for Acacia Ants that protect the tree from natural predators; the nectar and thorns of the tree provide food and shelter for the ants and the ants provide protection from natural predators and even invasive plant species for the tree. These checks and balances occur throughout nature, on land and in both fresh and salt water.

Nature does not create anything without a purpose. Everything is created to maintain a healthy balance by using natural rhythms. Even the peskiest insects serve a very important purpose. Like everything else created by nature, human beings also serve a purpose and for millions of years were part of the natural rhythms that maintained the delicate balance for life on Earth. I believe human beings have evolved into who we are for a very specific purpose-as caretakers for our planet, our home. Mother Nature is smart but moves slowly. The creation of a species that can move faster to remedy a disturbance of the natural rhythms and balance is not science fiction but fact. However, we have taken this gift and turned it upside down.

 

Nature And Human Nature In The Poetry Of Browning

In literature nature has a significant role. The word ‘nature’ suggests the whole universe and every created object-living or non-living. Browning had his own attitude to nature according to his temperament and poetic sensibilities. In the present essay let us have a glimpse of the treatment of nature in the poetry of Browning.

Browning, nurtured in the Romantic atmosphere of poetry, did not overlook the influence of nature on man; but in a bid to forge a new kind of poetry consciously eschewed overemphasis on nature and attempted to focus on human nature. More precisely, to Browning Love was more important than Nature.

It was an established practice of the Neo classical writers to minutely and painstakingly perceive distinct/specific natural phenomenon and then extract the unspecific/universal from them. The Romantics showed in their creative writings a reverse trend. It’s a fact that the Romantics viewed nature more subjectively than objectively. Browning found the solely sense perceptions not as important as the intuitive and instinctual vision of the semantic aspects of objects in nature. In Nature Browning discovered a redoubtable character endowed with the variegated feelings of human beings, and inducing in us very mixed reactions of her mighty impact-benign, terrible and awe-inspiring. “Nature and Passion are powerful”, and Browning’s poetic device of harmonizing the animated Nature and primal passions in Man is very subtle and skilful.

As a poet Browning was attracted more by the Italian painting, sculpture and music than by its picturesque landscape. Landor’s epitaph on himself: “Nature I loved, and after Nature Art” can be applied in the case of Browning only by inverting the word-order, and in that reconstructed word-order Browning would have declared: “Art I loved, and after Art, Nature.” In nature Browning saw the elemental powers doing good as well as evil. Browning is not at all partial and does not show any temperamental inclination to magnify the benevolent powers by minimizing the evil ones.

Browning finds nature in her totality. In other words, he observes in nature the harmonious co-existence of calm, serene beauty on the one hand, and ruggedness, ugliness and the grotesque on the other. As offspring of mother nature we have similarity with the luminous, radiant and beautiful things as well as with the monstrous, rugged ones. Browning’s instress and poetic temperament was more fascinated by things grotesque, rugged, top-heavy like the toad-stool, lop-sided, etc. This element of ruggedness is thus amply reflected everywhere in his treatment of human characters, in the depiction of landscape, in the use of verse form, and vocabulary.

 

Natural Doesn’t Come in a Plastic Bottle

“ADHD medications aren’t natural.”

“I only want to use natural ways to manage my ADHD symptoms.”

“I don’t want to put anything unnatural into my body.”

These are just some of the familiar comments I hear during or following one of my presentations about ADHD medications. In our world where more and more things come out of a bag or a factory, it makes sense that we are trying to balance this with as much “natural” in our lives as possible.

I like to think that “natural” has become the new black. “Natural” has become very fashionable. I myself have been on an “all-natural” whole food diet for the past several months aimed at decreasing inflammatory arthritis that had been causing nasty pain in my back. I will admit, this natural approach has been the only thing that has relieved the pain and I admit liking to be, at least for once, trendy.

So, while I completely get it when we prefer “natural” and not wanting to put anything in or on our bodies that would be harmful, I must challenge the application of this practice and those who argue they won’t use ADHD medications because they aren’t “natural”. Because if we hold true to using only “natural” solutions, we’d have to toss out many of the ways we manage health challenges and deficits.

Consider these… Glasses aren’t “natural”. Insulin isn’t “natural”. Chemotherapy isn’t “natural”. Cold medication isn’t “natural”. Tylenol isn’t “natural”. Sexual enhancers aren’t “natural”. Inhalers for asthma aren’t “natural”.

I think you get the point. But, while some “unnatural” medical treatments seem to be accepted, the debate rages on with a great degree of passion about the “unnaturalness” (aka harmfulness) of ADHD medications.

Because I tend to get a little passionate about things I really care about, I wanted to be clear and check my own biases. So, I looked up the word “natural” in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary and found this:

Natural: existing in nature and not made or caused by people.