Saturday, 21 November 2015

Why We Romanticize Nature

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn!

I've posted less than normal due to overtime at work. Ah well.

You'll have heard people, when arguing about all sorts of things, say something like "That's not natural." It may be valid, it may not. Here's the question though: why do we appeal to nature to begin with? What do we find so brilliant about nature that we invoke it as an attempted all-encompassing shut down of our opponents?

Let me start with my "feel-good" answer:

Nature is essentially our mother, hence the phrase "mother nature". It made humanity's existence possible, it is almost without exception entirely responsible for our food supply, and it carved out the rocks and caves which we first used as shelter back in the day. It's not perfect though: it also created lions, tigers and bears, and, while we may find them impressive and/or beautiful, they can still kill us. Like any parent, it has its flaws, but we learn to appreciate what it did for us. We invest in it and so we end up putting it on a pedestal, explaining away its flaws and focusing on its achievements. Any alternative, therefore, starts out at a disadvantage by having to fight against this emotional bias.

This is a "feel-good" answer because it may be true for us as we reflect on it later, but there's a glaring issue: the fact that it requires this reflection. A better answer, I think, is found in its near synonymy with "normal". Something that isn't normal is unfamiliar, weird, unnatural, and not to be trusted. This makes it a very powerful emotional appeal in favour of something you like, or against something you don't.

What's the point of this post? If I ever use this appeal, unsubscribe, vote me down, whatever, because I'm beyond saving.


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