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Nature personified

The story on the wrapper of the broiler chicken is encouraging. It tells me that the bird has been raised without hormones, has not been administered antibiotics, and that in general it enjoyed life in a clean, friendly environment before its head was chopped off. But then the text veers into absurdity when it tells me that it is the kind of food that nature intended. Excuse me? That nature intended? Frankly, nature doesn’t give a hoot what I eat. It is well established, has been since way before Narcissus—whenever that was—that our vanity is immense; in a twist on the original story, the mirror we hold is not to ourselves–the object of all our admiration–but to the world, to confirm that everything around us reflects us and us only. We anthropomorphize animals, we lend our thoughts to trees and to lakes and read messages in clouds. But nature doesn’t intend anything. It doesn’t come up with a sunny day to lift our spirits and doesn’t drench us in rain to dampen them or to make our life generally miserable. I know that Khalil Gibran has written that “the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair” but I have my doubts. I would suggest that though we may find it hard to believe, the tides come and go and the moon waxes and wanes not for us. Disasters occur because they occur. The earth goes round because it does. None of that, none at all, is intended.

Categories: Daily life Tags: ,
  1. October 18, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    agree with you!


  2. bobbie troy
    October 19, 2011 at 2:07 am



  3. October 19, 2011 at 5:30 am

    As long as I choose to eat meat, the best I can do is acknowledge that I have taken an animal’s life to sustain my own and be grateful for its sacrifice. I personally resonate with the Native American approach to these things, given my upbringing.

    I think we do project ourselves onto our environment. But we also do this in terms of our fellow humans as well as other animals on the planet. We ascribe motives and qualities that say more about ourselves than the other people. We even do this on a larger scale through our projections onto God or the ineffable. We limit the universe by projecting our own hatreds, creating gods that share our prejudices and saying that “God is on our side.” As a species, we even kill under this rationale.

    I prefer to see nature as sacred, and people–being an expression of nature–as sacred as well. I prefer to treat living beings accordingly.

    I may not fully understand my cats’ emotions. I may even ascribe to them feelings they do not have. Ultimately, it’s immaterial. I treat them with kindness and do my best to spoil them.


  4. October 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Would that we could apply your wholesome and reasonable attitude to our dealings with others and the world that surrounds us!


    • October 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Yesterday my fiancee and I were in a Pikesville optical store. The owner of the shop has a little dog, who works in the store making sure that everything is as it should be. He is eleven years old. He barks when anything is awry. The owner of the store gave him a day off recently, and let him stay with her friend while she went to work. Thereafter, the little dog wouldn’t sleep in bed with the owner of the optical store for three weeks. Regardless of what motives we can ascribe to the little dog, the owner of the shop was sad. Before we left the shop last night, my fiancee spoke to the little dog. She said the owner of the store was sad and wanted him to sleep in bed with her again. This morning, when my fiancee called again about the glasses, the owner of the optical store expressed her gratitude. The little dog had slept with her last night after a three-week absence.

      Anecdotes like this don’t prove anything, but they don’t need to. However, they do reflect the beauty and connectedness of life–if we have eyes to see.


  5. October 19, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    That is a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it.


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