A Classic Joke: How many humans does it take to understand nature?

Humans have desperately desired to reign over nature since the beginning of time. For that matter, humans have sought control over their surroundings via numerous methods. I found it particularly interesting that there are so many formulated these on nature. Humans want to control it, yet they struggle to understand the entirety of nature. These theses appear as another means by which humans think they can control things, as they want to classify nature and put it in its place.  

The train of thought which follows with the desire for humans to be a small part of nature (instead of over-glorifying the human race) was seen in multiple theses. This seems to be quite prevalent in our society today, as humans begin to realize the consequences of their actions with regard to the environment.  

In particular, thesis 14 widened my perspective on understanding nature. This emphasized the difference between focusing on informational terms rather than energetic ones. It alluded to humans having excessive concern for informatics which is ruining our comprehension of energetics. Where nature falls into this thesis, I am not exactly sure. However, in this day and age, data and information rule human society. Nature is merely thought of in quantitative measure. For instance, humans care about the population of a species, the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere, the amount of untouched land, and the volume of resources left. I think that maybe this thesis wants humans to understand nature as a whole, and see our world in more than facts and data.  

On the other hand, thesis 16 argued that perception becomes action through obtaining information. This thesis appears to place an importance on processing information, and not just for humans. The excerpt provides an example of this process in a tree. I found this very interesting because usually, humans perceive themselves as the main or sole user of information, facts, and data. However, according to thesis 16, the crucial use of information is prevalent throughout nature.  

Whether these theses emphasize the relationship between cause and effect within information, the infiniteness of space and nature, or the transformation of energy, there will never be enough written theses to explain the different views on nature. One of my personal favorite theses explained that nature is the thing which places the everything we know in a common world. Nature cannot be explained, for it is such a broad aspect of existence. To every individual, it means something quite different, but that is what makes it so fascinating to ponder.


Nature, or Religion?

When reading these 22 theses on nature, I can’t help but think of Martin Luther’s 95 theses on religion, both because of the name, and loosely because of content. The way the author of these 22 theses describes nature is spiritual. Saying nature is “all encompassing,” “simply given,” and “radically open,” is not usually a way in which we think about nature. The first thesis implores the importance of considering humans to be a part of nature, and nature as being a part of humans, especially in our anthropocentric age of climate change and general destruction of the planet. Perhaps if more people thought about nature with the same reverence and respect people grant their religions, we would be more prone to take care of our planet.

The sections on perception are particularly resonant with the idea of nature as a spiritual entity. All things surrounding us change us, at least in small ways. The same feelings of awe and connection many people feel while out in natural spaces could be described similarly to religious connections people experience. The author of these theses, however, in a way argues that those feelings of connection need to be felt even in areas that humans have heavily impacted. We are part of nature, and cannot be without it, so by extension our communities and human inventions should be revered as natural. It is because of this we must change the ways the human parts of nature effect all other parts. There should be no separation, and the way we currently live our lives brings about that separation.

This article brings up an interesting point about nature: we are just a small part of it. Nature is “all encompassing,” as the theses describe, so it will go on once we are gone. Any harm to nature will eventually be repaired, but it is not likely that humans will be there to see it. Nature will go on without us. It is much more resilient and flexible than humans are.