It's Natural

I have a memory of years ago in Chicago, looking up at the skyscrapers and thinking, why, they're pyramids. Not actual pyramids, of course. LSD was still fairly far in my future. But pyramids all the same.

I remembered and expanded on that thought a few years later when I was thinking about the role of human beings in nature. Yeah. I think about stuff like that. I'm kinda stuffy that way. Anyway, I came to the conclusion that, humans being mammals, they are just as much a part of the natural world as anything else. And that being the case, our skills, our tools, our imaginations, our works - are also natural. In other words, the species who built pyramids got it together a few thousand years later and built skyscrapers instead. Pyramids and skyscrapers are just as natural as birds' nests and beaver dams.

It's a problematic outlook. Taken at face value, anyone can justify any action by claiming that "it's natural." And "natural" is all the rage these days. Nature probably sells better than sex. I mean, you can sell sex by calling it "natural."

I stand by the concept, however, because I am not comfortable with the idea that humans are somehow outside of nature. That the things which we produce are, therefore, artificial, unnatural. And being so are likely to be bad.

I like my books, my computer, my glasses. I like my stuff.

So I think that we need to exercise another natural quality of being human. Judgement. Just because we can built skyscrapers doesn't mean we have to. Or if we have to (being human, we have to build something), we don't have to build it there. Or like that. We can built it someplace else, some other way. We can even build something else.

Using the faculty that can make things to decide what is best to make is natural as well.

My only problem with my little paragidm is what now to do with, how else to use words like "unnatural" and "artificial." Because words do mean something. I just disagree with their current use in our discourse. What these words mean in my paradigm - well, I haven't quite worked it out yet. I'll let you know if I do.