Balancing Nature and Technology
What is our Primary Focus? Money.
There are a million causes that appeal to the compassion and tolerance of humanity, all of which will take a back seat to every other concern if there is no money to be gained from them. Democrats and Republicans will focus and fight over all these issues, but they do so more to distract rather than out of any real desire to see a lasting solution. There is one very real issue that needs the focus of all humankind, and that is the issue of Global Warming.
If this had our full attention, we would find that it is possible to have a better world; not for humanity alone, but for all life. No one takes any interest in this, because it lacks any monetary value. The question that arises from humanity's lack of Humanity is: Would doing this have value to us if our existence were at stake?
I'm starting to realize that the answer to that question appears to be a resounding no.
We seem to have great faith in our Government. Someone or something will take care of all calamity for us. The Republicans want to bulldoze nature into a tame pile of cultivated gardens, clean and safe for humanity to wander, and develop the rest of the land for industry and materialism. The Democrats seem to want to give world peace a chance, but they have no clue how to go about doing it, other than to apply Political Correctness and sweep all ugliness out of sight. They have no real plan to put in place, but they do want peace and equality for all.
Both parties are guilty of wanting to sweep all the uncomfortable subjects under the rug where they can be covered in an aesthetically pleasing way; both hope the ugly parts will go away on their own.
Compromise = Balance. Not Communism
First and Third Worlds
For two hundred years we have progressed using democratic governments and technological societies. Admittedly, the future in that direction seemed brightest. Our enthusiastic attempts to make the world a better place for humanity left a lot of humanity behind. A massive gap developed between modernized "first world" countries and primitive "third world" countries. Overwhelmingly, most nations believe that modernization is the only way to go. Nature is dirty, full of disease, pests and germs, poison plants and predatory animals that serve no purpose in our world today. The innovative peoples look back sadly and see the people who have been stranded on the outskirts. "If only they could understand." we think. "If only they would learn our ways, they would see that we are only trying to make the world a better place! If only they would give up their land to us, we would help to develop it, teach them how to work it, and help them move into the modern world. If only they would conform."
We all seem to feel sorry for these people the same way we feel sorry for the dinosaurs. Their future is clear; if they don't conform, they will be slowly pushed until they either assimilate or face extinction. When they are gone, future generations will look back and wonder what became of them. "Oh, they finally understood, they finally embraced our ways," we will think. We will tell stories of their plight, and feel bad for them, all the while believing that they are fine now; they've joined us, and if they hadn't fought us so hard all that time, things would have never gotten so ugly.
All they had to do was surrender their whole way of life, but that shouldn't be hard considering all the benefits that come with development and modernization.
People who live in modern society still have this mindset. There seems to be an overwhelming belief that we should move all the peoples of the world toward technology and development.
No one actually says this because it's one of those unpleasant aspects no one wants to focus on, but the truth is, tribal peoples, wild animals, and uncultivated areas of the earth do not have the same value as educated, technological people, domesticated animals or developed modernized land. We use words like third world, underdeveloped, primitive, and even ignorant, to describe anything untouched and natural. Over a brief period of years, modern people grew to view nature as sweaty, cold, filthy, and unpleasant. Organic matter is slimy and wet. Bugs bite, animals make messes. We have to mow grass, rake leaves, and pull weeds constantly to stop the overgrowth of plant life. It's dirty, messy work compared to paved streets and air-conditioned buildings. In fact, our own biological functions are nasty and dirty. We've started to realize that evolution hasn't changed us for the better, it's only made us more adaptable. Modern scientists seek ways to transfer human consciousness into machines so that we can have high-speed brain processing and efficient, everlasting bodies. We seem to long for a world based on synthetics and technology. Those of us that don't? We will either evolve by learning to accept that this is the future, or we will go extinct. That is after all, how nature works; survival of the fittest.
Now it seems an issue is developing due to our industrious nature; Global Warming. Without nature, the earth cannot support an environment that is conducive to life. That makes sense in a way; life cannot live without life. For millions of years life has survived upheaval and change. Species have gone extinct and new species have risen to take their place. Natural disasters occur but nature and life evolve and continue. For millions and millions of years this has happened; to humans too. We have discovered ancient cities that humanity has no memory of; they rose and fell. Humanity evolves and continues; we are part of the natural order. This Global Warming is nothing new.
Stop a moment to look at it in context. The industrial age started two hundred years ago. In two hundred years, the changes we have made to control, and replace nature have spread over all the major continents on the surface of our world. In two hundred years, the human population increased from one to seven billion.
Human Population Through Time
The majority of those seven billion know that our industry, technology, science and intelligence brought us to where we are today. The rest have fallen behind. Modern Humanity feels the chaos of nature has no place in our world. The only part of nature we cannot control is the weather, but we're working on that. Global Warming might be an issue, but it's not a big one. We'll resolve it using technology.
Gold, diamonds, metals, synthetics, any materials that can be used to produce a product are considered to have a high value. The rest is considered worthless, unless we can devise a use for it. For instance, stone and wood can be used to build, so they have value. We dig up the earth and cut down the trees to obtain these materials. We love nature, of course - we watch documentaries, and we take vacations that allow us to see nature, provided we have all the modern essentials. We read stories about the White Rhinoceros and feel sad in the same way we do for the dinosaur. These aspects of nature are lovely; plants, birds, trees, animals, but they too will pass. It's good that we get to enjoy them while we can.
Is it all just a resource?
Nature has more value than that, which is something tribal peoples could tell us if we would take the time to listen. The system of nature has perfected itself over millions of years and already has all the necessary checks and balances in place. Natural disasters, plague and pestilence all have a purpose; to keep life in balance. If something became unbalanced, nature would take care of the issue on its own.
Humanity has learned to counter almost every one of those balances except for weather/natural disaster. We're working on that.
With all our intelligence, we somehow fail to see any need to protect our raw, untouched resources. They are renewable and can be replaced. We decided which ones had the most value, so we catered to those and built over top of the rest. We are constantly clearing land of unnecessary vegetation and wildlife to grow crops and raise meat animals - preserving the life we value.
All forms of life grow and reproduce themselves. Humanity sees the majority of them as either unnecessary or a nuisance. Some life is beautiful and wondrous, but unnecessary; it serves no purpose for us.
Man and Nature; It's What We're Missing
We are intelligent, but why do we feel we have the right to decide the fate of all life? Why do we have such a blatant disregard for any and all life that isn't human? Our science has shown us that, so far, life appears nowhere else in our universe; our unique, natural, biological, organic life. Science has shown any number of conditions, evolved differently while the earth was developing, life wouldn't exist here, either. Why are we so indifferent about that? Why do we only care about humanity? All people who fight for conservation and the environment can see we are losing the battle. We can see in the backs of our minds that the majority of life's creations are going to go extinct because they serve no purpose to us. Why do we fight the inevitable? Do we fight for them because we truly believe it has the same right to be here as we do, or do we fight so when it inevitably happens, we can hold our heads up and say, "At least I tried."?
Balancing Nature with Technology
The truth is, we as humanity aren't really trying at all. Today a small number of people try to stand against the inevitable, but a handful of people giving their hearts and souls to a fight isn't the same as all humanity trying. In fact, the majority of mankind believes that people who fight for the rights of nature and wildlife are compassionate, but not realistic. They are actually an obstacle, slowing the wheel of progress. People attempting to help third world cultures are delaying the inevitable. Their tenacity would have more value if they would educate themselves and understand that their concern is misguided. If these people cared about humanity, they would concentrate their efforts and teach the third world peoples to see the bigger picture. Although nature and wildlife may have their own beauty, we have to understand that it hinders our progress. Too may options are open for the spread of disease, predatory animals, poisonous plants, allergies; it presents too much of a danger to humanity. We will mourn their loss, sure, but we will remember them through monuments, museums and picture books. We haven't forgotten the dinosaur, and that was way before our time. We can preserve some through the cultivation of zoos and botanical gardens.
Why do we feel this way about life? For all we know, life may only exist here on Earth; but if we continue as we are, human life will be THE primary life that exists, supplemented with the life we cultivate for renewable resources.
Why? Why do we have such a callous disregard for everything that isn't... modernized?
If we want to save our planet, we must start a war on this all-consuming modernization perspective. We need to realize and embrace with our whole hearts that humanity is part of nature. We need to value biological organisms as more than a resource, but as a net encompassing a life force in which we are a part of. Nature provides energy for our body, mind, and spirit. Our tribal, primitive, third world peoples know this. They have patiently waited for us to make this realization on our own, but we have become so focused on the development of modernized society that if we would admit to it, we don't even consider tribal peoples as human anymore. They are simply a part of the nuisance.
With a blending of nature and technology, this is what our future could hold. There are more people that long to live this style of life than you may expect. Maybe even you.
How do we get both political parties to see that, right now, one main campaign issue on the platform needs to be addressed? That issue is the future of humanity, nature, and life. For Democrats, we should focus on equal rights for all forms of life. For Republicans, we should increase our value of life, and invest in it; universally, it would appear to be the rarest resource we have. This planet is the only life known to exist in the universe!
This is what modern development, without concern for natural resources, leaves in its wake.
The primitive peoples of the world are starving and fading away, not because they are too backward and ignorant to fend for themselves, but because we are replacing all the natural resources they once had with cement and industry, insect and vermin free parks, and aesthetically pleasing potted plants. We look in horror at the bottles of water they drink from with dirt and sediment lying on the bottom, we are appalled that their houses have dirt floors, how they ridiculously insist on living outside of the modernized system. It's a wonder they haven't all died from parasites and disease.
Strangely, it never occurs to us that the industrial revolution was so recent. Humanity has survived without technology for thousands of years. Was it harsh? Yes; but ask yourself this question: With all our technology and modernization, isn't life still harsh now? Yes.
Utopian Society - Technology and Nature
Technology and Nature. They both have value. Technology should be an enhancement, not a complete replacement. Why does mankind feel the need to recreate and replace everything? Because we can? Why do we always take every issue to the furthest extreme?
Utopian Society - Without the Mess of Nature
Isn't it extreme to create a world that is suitable only for human life? Isn't it extreme to create a world that is suitable only for certain types of human life?
Isn't that what we are doing?
The path we have followed to this point has led us to Global Warming. It's obvious now that the natural environment of the earth had a greater purpose; it protected us. We can probably fix it, by building big air cleaning machines and water filters...
The question is: Why is nature so abhorrent to us? Why?
© 2013 Tori Ratcliffe