"Living In Harmony With Nature"

 Posted by on 18 April 2005 at 11:10 pm  Uncategorized
Apr 182005
 

Don Boudreaux has written an excellent essay on the currently in vogue concept of “living in harmony with nature”. Here’s an excerpt:

To live harmoniously with nature is to understand and accept natural forces. The greater this understanding and acceptance, the greater the harmony. Because we know so much more today than we did before about physics, chemistry, meteorology, biology, physiology, metallurgy, and on and on with our ologies and urgies, we live so much more harmoniously with nature.

Pre-Columbian peoples lived simply, to be sure, but let’s stop mistaking ignorance and poverty with harmony. It’s an utter myth — we might say an urban myth — that primitive peoples lived with nature harmoniously. Nature devastated them. Nature battered them into early graves. Their ignorance of nature prevented them from achieving much material wealth. To dance to imaginary rain gods or to chant and pray for a child dying of bacterial infection is not to live harmoniously with nature; it is to live most inharmoniously. Nature is doing its thing — failing to water the crops, growing bacteria within a child’s lungs — while human beings who are as ignorant of nature as nature is of human beings, moan, chant, pray, dance, build totems, burn leaves and twigs, all in fruitless, inharmonious efforts to solve the problems.

It is we today, with our knowledge of how to irrigate fields using science and engineering, and how to make and administer antibiotics, who live harmoniously with nature. We don’t demand miracles. We don’t expect nature to change its logic simply because we arrogantly wish it to do so. We accept nature’s logic and work with it.

(Via Eugene Volokh.)

   
Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha