“The word ‘nature’ derives from natura, a philosophical term derived from the verb for birth, which was used as a translation for the earlier Ancient Greek term phusus which was derived from the verb for natural growth, for example that of a plant.”
“Urban living has always tended to produce a sentimental view of nature. Nature is thought of as a garden, or a view framed by a window, or as an arena of freedom. Peasants, sailors, nomads have known better. Nature is energy and struggle. It is what exists without any promise. If it can be thought of by a man as an arena, a setting, it has to be thought of as one which lends itself as much to evil as to good. Its energy is fearsomely indifferent. The first necessity of life is shelter. Shelter against nature. The first prayer is for protection. The first sign of life is pain. If the Creation was purposeful, its purpose is a hidden one which can only be discovered intangibly within signs, never by the evidence of what happens.”
John Berger, “The Sense of Sight”
Having just found out it is international Earth Day Today, I thought it was a nice coincidence that I have seen the movie Noah today. It was extremely thought provoking to me. Thanks to James Lovelock, we now tend to personalize Earth as Gaia. I was not happy that although the Goddess was markedly present in the movie, she was never acknowledged by name. The giants, her progeny, were not called her sons. Female characters were shown as little more than passive receptacles for new life that must be protected by strong men, although they were beautifully portrayed by both Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly. But there was raw honesty in such a depiction: I kept thinking that at the very basic level of survival, the first chakra, we maybe operate like this. On the other hand, I could not help thinking about Noah’s spiritual crisis at the end of the movie. I think he understood that if we operate at the basic instinct level, the earth indeed does not need us. We need to do two things as human species: acknowledge that we are not more evolved than animals (that we are essentially the same) and, having done that, having acknowledged our basic equality with the animal kingdom, step into the position of wise curators of all Creation.