Do you remember when you were oblivious to the separation between yourself and nature?
When you dug your toes in the mud, stalked frogs on the pond shore, hunted sparrows as if they were an exotic trophy, camped within ear shot of your back porch, climbed trees without thoughts of how to get down, built a fort in the woods to ward off imaginary raiders, stared at the nigh sky as dew collected on the grass at your back.
When did we rip our page out of the book of the natural world?
For a lucky few throughout various individuals and societies throughout the world they retain this ancient and deep connection throughout their lives either by circumstance or choice.
The term ‘second nature’ comes from the late 14th century when it was first used to explain something that was learned or taught. So what is ‘first nature’ then? Really there is only nature, not first nature. What we came from, what we are and where we are going is all under the guise of nature. We live in it and we are IT.
Separation between our own identifying characteristics that were put in place through ‘second nature’ are simply a delusion of perception. We are organic entities which interact with our largely organic environment. Our interactions with our environment are what tend to shift thoughts of our place in nature.
As we start to self-identify as an individual, as a human being that is something distinct and different than the rest of the life on the planet, we create a chasm of disillusion in the wake of these blinding revelations. At one time humans operated in the wilderness in the same respect as all other living things, but as evolution progressed, cognition develop and consciousness expanded our species became a driving force of the natural world.
Through improved intelligence, leveraging alliances and harnessing the power of technology, we have become by default the stewards of land, plant and wildlife whether we like it or not. Preservation of nature is no longer an option, conservation is the only route that exists, there is no choice to be made in a debate that is often used for fodder of politicizing issues that surround wilderness and its inhabitants.
So as ironic as it seems, nature now relies on human nature.
We are no longer a mutual participant in nature, we must now assume the role of protector, cultivator, restorer and appreciator.