Throughout recorded human history, we have again and again found ourselves as less important than we previously imagined. We once believed we were at the center of the universe, but through observation of the night sky, we realized we live on a planet that orbits a star. Then, as we continued our scientific endeavors, we realized that the star we orbit is not the center of the universe either. In reality it is part of a galaxy full of stars. Going even further, our galaxy, the Milky Way, isn’t the center of the universe either, but simply one of billions of galaxies. Similarly, Darwin’s formulation of evolution made humanity realize that we are no different from any other life form, and that we were all related. The more we look at our place in the universe and work to understand our surroundings, the more we realize that we are not special, but one in the same as everything else in the universe.
Shaviro discusses this idea of Nature in his “Twenty-Two Theses on Nature”. While I found this to be an interesting read, it seems to be trying to make one simple point. We, as humans, are not separate from Nature. We simply take in information through our senses, and act based on this information we collect. While our bodies do counter the natural flow of entropy, our overall dissipation of energy into the systems around us more than make up for our lack of internal entropy. This is the same as any other lifeform on the planet.
By realizing that we are truly one in the same with Nature, we can gain a deeper respect for our surroundings. The natural world and our planet is not something to be used and conquered by us, but rather a system in which we are a part. In order to sustainably live, we must not attack the cycle of nature for our own benefit, because doing so means attacking the very system that we are a part of.