Saving Nature (needs your input)

May 22, 2010


The destruction due to tsunamis, tornados, volcanoes, the rain cycle is becoming commonplace now.  On the other hand, during last week, we have succeeded in starting up a cell from a programmed genome/ DNA.

(see http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100520/full/news.2010.253.html).

I am trying to understand the logic behind nature through the eyes of thinker scientists.

What is Nature? What is its purpose? Who controls it?

See what thinkers have said about it in the past:

THALES (BC 635 – 543):

Thales the Miletus postulated that Water is the basic constituent of everything. Although water is premier constituent, the generalised statement is proven wrong by modern science.

( http://hubpages.com/hub/thales-of-miletus )

PARMENIDES (BC 6th Century):

Parmenides says that philosophers should not always believe in conventional wisdom and should ask for debate, (when subjects like nature are discussed). Coincides with the later Plato and Aristotle.

( http://philosophers.endless-greece.com/parmenides.php )

DEMOCRITUS (BC 460 – 370):

According to him, Atom and Space are the basic constituents of everything. Although his thinking was the foundation stone for the Atomic Theory, there is no explanation by Democritus as to why two species are different (cat is cat and not man). According to his theory, the difference is merely quantitative. Atom has been proven to have finer particles. The generalised statement is therefore proven wrong by modern science.

However, later critics like Francis Bacon (AD 1561 – 1626) and his follower Thomas Hobbes ( AD 1588 – 1679) support Democritus’s statement – There is no reason or mind behind how Nature works.

They believed that all the life and Nature is mechanical. Hobbes says that Nature is the art of God.

( http://www.bookrags.com/Democritus )

PLATO (BC 428/427 – 348/347), SOCRATES (BC 469 – 399):

Fire is (probably) the basic constituent of everything. The generalised implied statement is not correct. Plato always talks about human virtues, not much about Nature and Science.

Curiously, Plato wished to burn all the literature created by Democritus.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plato )

ARISTOTLE (BC 384 – 322):

Critical of Plato (Socrates) that he never discusses sciences in his Philosophy but only Human beings, Polity and Virtues.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle )

Aristotle takes into his account all his predecessors and delves in so many a basic sciences. Aristotle invented and specialised various branches of science and scientific research methods (which is the basis of modern science). He looks at the life and Nature (and God) with common sense – as they appear to six senses, an organised, homogeneous mass obeying laws of motion.

Aristotle’s assumption that the earth is at the centre of the universe (geo-centrism) is now proven false. But this is what appears to us and is common sense. Earth is the centre of our sensory experience and we live here.

According to him, all things natural come into existence because Nature is adaptive, predictable, orderly. Natural things (like trees) will remain as they are, and we can count on nature for this. As such, nothing is by Chance, but by Function. Aberrations (like physically challenged people) are not examples of wrongdoings of Nature or God, they are exceptions and we should consider healthy species in studies. The whole world is organised rationally, it is intelligible, because the ultimate principle (God) is thought thinking about it for and since eternity.

EMPIRICUS (AD 2nd or 3rd Century) :

Empiricus coincides with the later Darwinism that Nature is by Chance and Necessity (survival of the fittest). He is therefore proven correct at root level.

( http://www.crystalinks.com/sextus.html )

SPINOZA (AD 1632-1677):

Spinoza postulates that the human beings inaccurately project the understanding of themselves on to Nature, whereas it is different than us. It does not act with purpose, but acts without freedom, acts by necessity. Human beings work for goals, without knowing underlying causes. Therefore the Final Causes we arrive at are mostly fabrication and superstitions, because of the pathetic ignorance of human beings. Mathematical analysis alone does not explain purposes; according to him.

( http://www.yesselman.com/Columbia.htm )

Why Human beings act against Nature may be explained by his theory. Referring to Wikipedia:

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinoza )

“Spinoza was a thoroughgoing determinist who held that absolutely everything that happens occurs through the operation of necessity. For him, even human behaviour is fully determined, with freedom being our capacity to know we are determined and to understand why we act as we do. So freedom is not the possibility to say “no” to what happens to us but the possibility to say “yes” and fully understand why things should necessarily happen that way. By forming more “adequate” ideas about what we do and our emotions or affections, we become the adequate cause of our effects (internal or external), which entails an increase in activity (versus passivity). This means that we become both more free and more like God, as Spinoza argues in the Scholium to Prop. 49, Part II.

However, Spinoza also held that everything must necessarily happen the way that it does. Therefore, humans have no free will. They believe, however, that their will is free. In his letter to G. H. Schaller (Letter 62), he wrote: “men are conscious of their own desire, but are ignorant of the causes whereby that desire has been determined.”

DARWIN (AD 1809 – 1882):

Nature operates not in accordance with mathematicians, but on evolution. Animals and parts came in to being by coincidence. Things happen by chance, mutation, and necessicity (survival). There is apparently no God behind operations of nature.

EDMUND HUSSERL (AD 1859-1938), Author of the book Crisis:

We are incredibly good at How things work (Mathematics), sometimes we are in hurry and make things work like we want them to work. For example, if we wait enough, Nature will automatically give us genetically modified crops. But we modify crops ourselves and intervene natural processes. We do not wait for nature.

However, we do not know What things mean. We have lost touch with ordinary experiences of the world; we look at it through telescope or microscope. We do not use naked eye or common senses. We think that world is homogeneous. As such, we declare that the matter in tortoise and human is the same.

Critics feel that Aristotle’s solutions can address Husserl’s “Crisis” since we experience and therefore address our problems qualitatively, phenomenologically, not quantitatively. We have lost touch with our experiences or the way in which natural things appear to us. Human beings generally don’t get things wrong. As such, (instead of inventing wheel again) we should believe in conventional wisdom.

ROBERT G. INGERSOLL (AD 19th Century – in his 1896 speach)

“ With infinite arms Nature embraces the all—that there is no interference—no chance—that behind every event are the necessary and countless causes, and that beyond every event will be and must be the necessary and countless effects.”

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_G._Ingersoll )

00000000000000

While I was listening to Dr. Abhay Bang ( http://searchgadchiroli.org/ ) recently on a TV programme, he casually mentioned that the era of one man or woman leading the entire nation/ world appears to be over. In the new age of unlimited information exchange, we may find a number of individuals working in their small domains changing the Nature and therefore the world.

I find this concept very interesting. Time will tell if this prophesy comes true.

Like Abhay Bang has chosen Mahatma Gandhi, (and Gandhiji was impressed by Thoreau), everybody of us should choose a “friend and guide” from one or more of the thinkers, whoever is/are closest to our own interpretation of the Nature and universe. Knowing their works can take us on to a brighter path.

Aristotle argues that “the sequence in life must stop for the highest good (theoretical life). Life should not be feudal or in vain and it is meaningful. Human being belongs to this world.” Although some of us may not like the ((bracketed)) words, we can have an individual concept of the highest good – the happy life and we can accept the other parts of the sentences.

There has always been a debate whether the Modern sciences and technology changes the world, or world is changed by happy life (Aristotle’s suggested way of life. For him, world is finite, self-sufficient and therefore theoretical life is the goal advised). But who knows? This definition itself may keep changing if modern sciences and technology creates further wonders and stretches the boundaries of Life, Nature, Universe (and therefore God).

Early philosophers have already suggested options to save the destruction we are witnessing due to scientific and technological advances (the foundation of which was laid by Aristotle in terms of methods of classification and scientific research). They have advocated common sense and scientific solutions based on sensory perceptions (i.e without microscope or telescope).

Why do we need all these advances and the expenditure on fabricating newer living beings? Is it because the media, the financiers and the rulers incessantly preach consumerism and need for new advances in fuel, comfort and medicine? Is it because we have insatiable greed for natural / genetically modified resources to fuel us, our houses, transport, entertainment and industry? 

Are the Have-Nots really going to benefit or going to become extinct one day? Is it somebody’s greed or design for absolute supremacy? Or Immortality at the cost of others? Does a basic correction need to be addressed in our thinking?

Human experience is conflicted. So are opinions different on every object we discuss. Taking this issue further, the solutions may appear:

  1. We accept that saving Nature is nothing but understanding the Nature of conflicts and understanding the Nature of Human beings.
  2. We become non-human beings, stop discussing and obey the neo – supreme.
  3. We accept that we do not have a handle on what is happening and march towards the result already designed by Nature (or its artist) for us.
  4. We can save nature (and ourselves) only if our present systems that consist of human beings who constantly doubt and bikker are replaced with the systems run by considerate Non-Human beings.

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(Kindly Also Browse: http://hubpages.com/search/include:hubs+philosophy+greek)

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(This post is subject to edit)

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