Shifting Our Perspective

“Twenty-Two Theses on Nature” was published in a section in the Yearbook for Comparative Literature and was written by Steven Shaviro. As the title reveals, the text is a list of theses about Nature surrounding our perception of it and what it really is. Some of the theses are straightforward messages; some require an expansion of perception to comprehend. 

Two theses that I found easier to comprehend were the third thesis and the seventh thesis. The third thesis claims that Nature is not something that is “given.” Therefore, we must recognize that the state of it isn’t stagnant, rather it is an ever-evolving and changing process. As we have seen throughout the centuries, Nature is not merely something that exists and stays the same. Especially observing the impacts of climate change, we see that Nature alters and evolves exponentially and minutely, such as stronger coastal storms and small changes in a creature’s gene structure. The seventh thesis states that while Nature is grounded in the science that we know of today, it is not limited to those boundaries. Humans have discovered so much about how the Natual world functions. However, it must be continuously acknowledged that there is always more to learn and that our limited understanding of it does not confine Nature.

One thesis that was harder to wrap my mind around was the twentieth thesis. It explains, to the best of my knowledge, how that line between “the ‘physical’ and the ‘mental’” is thin and is only differential by definition. An example is given how a thermostat could be defined as sentient, given its ability to process information and how it can “feel” the temperature around it. I believe this thesis is attempting to show the complexity of the ways energy is transferred in Nature and how trying to simplify the process can bring us further from the truth.

The ways of thinking these theses promote can be very beneficial in our journey of understanding the world around us on a deeper level. Shifting our perspective is not only essential to understanding climate change to a better degree, but it may also offer new solutions to attempt to repair the damage that we have inflicted. 

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