Failed Views of Human Relationship to Natural World
The view that Humanity is a Devine creation that exists in a non-material spiritual reality separate from the natural physical world is the religious and spiritual viewpoint. This way of viewing reality means that nature is often seen as infused with spiritual force, emanating from a spiritual source, or a separate creation of a Deity. Some of these points of view offer more connection to the natural world than others, but most hold in common a view that the non-material reality as superior to the material world, or nature. The failure of this point of view is the creation of human separation and superiority relative to the natural world and the proposal that our inherence in the natural world is of secondary importance compared to our origins in a non-material world.
<p>Viewing humanity, and each individual human, as competitor with a hostile natural world. This is the viewpoint of modern industry and applied science and technology. Capitalism is a very clear expression of this way of looking at nature as something to be defended against at worst, and exploited for individual accumulation of resources that are desired by the individual, without reference to any surrounding effects, at best. This is the point of view driving the rapid expansion of the western style global economy. As the ability of humans to amplify their forcefullness has increased our impact on the natural world has changed. Now that we have enough force at our command to destroy nature we can no longer afford to view the natural world as a competitor. Just like the flawed logic of cancer, which grows without restraint and kills its host, the flawed logic of relating to nature as if we were in a competitive relationship is self defeating.
<p>The third view is Humanity as a dependent child of a nurturing natural world. This viewpoint is typically expressed as a way of supporting the idea that it is wise and right to treat the environment with care and kindness. While this way of looking at the relationship between human beings and nature has the advantage of supporting a positive and cooperative relationship with the natural world it distorts the relationship in several important ways. A human child becomes progressively independent relative to their mother, human beings never become independent of the earth in any meaningful sense. As children mature they reach a point where they can become parents, our maturation relative to the earth never reaches a point where we have the choice to become a planet. In the life cycle of mothers and children, It is typical for mothers to die before their children die. When this happens the children continue to live. This is not true of the relationship between the human self and the natural world, if the planet dies we die with it.