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on 12 September 2013

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Transcript of NATURE v HUMANITY

Middle Ages
-Emphasis on Self- improving with nature as a guide
Belief that Humans have self wisdom- have to listen to nature to gain/strengthen that wisdom
Thoreau - took the next step- made it part of life- Walden Pond (2 years, 2 months, 2 days
African Relationship to Nature
Nature Throughout the Ages
Nature is Great
- close to nature- close to God
- Society is in opposition with Nature
- grew from an increasing fear- Industrialization- loosing touch with nature
- unmistakable connection with nature and our soul
- a large journey back to nature in many ways- looking for answers to everyday problems
Solmonath: (February), celebrated by baking cakes for gods
Thrimilci: (May) named such because 'cows were then milked three times a day
Weodmonath: (August), month used to tend to crops
Halegmonath: (October, month of offerings
Blotmonath: Extra, unneeded livestock were killed (didn't have means to support unneeded animals)
Lived their lives through reaction with nature
Depended on gods of sky, earth, war and weather vs. negatives such as drought, flood, fire and disease
Much more in tune with their land, as they lived immediately through it--their livelihood.
Byzantine Empire
Used Greek philosophies to shape Christianity, such as the ideas introduced by Plato
Idea that the natural world perceived through our senses doesn't reveal everything that's there (Ideal Truth)
Ideas focus on rationalism, an analytical approach to everyday, compared to basing his ideas off of nature and the physical world around him
This culture doesn't have a close relationship with nature or the nature world
Kievan Rus
Viking/Norse mythology depicts a very strong relationship between nature and the people
They believed in numerous gods such as Vanir (fertility god), Skadi (Goddess of Winter), Loki (trickster, representing evil) and Thor (God of thunder, represented a hero)
Used myths to explain natural phenomenon/the unexplainable
Culture/livelihood heavily focused on respecting the earth for what it could give them, and also in fear of negative events (i.e., flood, drought...)
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
― -Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
African faiths and religions are on close relationships with nature
Creation Myth:
- emphasis on humans initial connection with animals
- humans lost ability to communicate with animals
- human spirits can pass through animals
Ancient Greek Views on the Natural World
- based off the laws of Nature
- humans work with the forces of nature
- people are influenced by nature and nature is influenced by people
• Initially, the ancient Greeks had a largely spiritual view of nature
• Like most early forms of Paganism , ancient Greek religion centered around the natural world
• Held a high respect for nature and the earth.
• To reflect this love of nature, the Greeks placed different Gods in charge of all natural processes
• respected and feared these gods

• The Myth of Erysichthon: A greedy prince, Erysichthon needed wood to build a grand hall, so he entered a grove of oak trees sacred to the goddess Demeter and gentle nature spirits called dryads. He carelessly began chopping down the largest, oldest tree standing. At first strike of his ax, the tree began to bleed. As the undaunted prince continued to cut through the bleeding bark, he heard the voice of the dryad who lived in the oak coming from the wounded tree. She begged Erysichthon to stop, telling him they he wasnt only killing her tree, he was also murdering her in the process. Erysichthon ignored her pleas. Eventually the helpless dryad died, along with her beloved oak tree.
Natural Philosophy
• In contrast with the rich mythology associated with Ancient Greeks’ respect for nature, a wave of Natural Philosophy began to replace the more spiritual standpoint.
• Aristotle had a lifelong interest in the study of nature. He investigated a variety of different topics, ranging from general issues like motion, causation, place and time, to systematic explorations and explanations of natural phenomena across different kinds of natural entities
• Example: Theory of the four elements

Modern view of Nature
Industrialism, 1760-ish
Mass production and money
Iconic factory with multiple smoke stacks
Depletion of natural resources
Carbon emission
Human health
Conservationism, Mid 20th century
Progressive group
Intellectual responsibility
Modern View
Idea Convergence
Intellectually obvious
Selfishly necessary
Solution is evasive
Radical, expensive
Values need to be met for investment
To Conclude: Mindful Ignorance
Final Question:
What trends have you noticed about man's relationship with nature, and what do you predict for the future?
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