Nature Culture Progress Essay

Pages: 7 (2205 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Biology

Nature Culture Progress

A & H. 1300 Nature, Culture, Progress

Nature Culture Progress and Human Being

Human beings are wild as beasts and civilized like the crown of creation is supposed to be. We humans, as philosophers have agreed and poets have pictured us as a unique and astonishing mix of raw nature and civilized culture. The paper studies Emily Dickinson's poems written in 19th century, Annie Dillard's In the Jungle (1992), Micheal Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma written in 2009, Jean Jacques Rousseau's The First and Second Discourses (1964), Turpin's edited Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (2005), and Thoreau's Life in the Woods (1854). These sources will be studied to find the gains and losses of journey from nature to culture.

Nature:

I often wonder why some people are categorized as natural and others as artificial. It is not quite long that I came to know the meaning and the real concept of nature or natural. Nature is actually something we are born with. Even plants and all other animals have some natural behavior. Naturally, plants grow in day light and human beings seek a social life. It is nature that resides within us and tells us something is wrong when we lie because nature is truth and lie is artificial. Thus natural behavior can be called unpolluted as well as unrefined. On one hand human nature provokes a person towards truth and honesty and, on the other hand, it does not. A hungry man, one not introduced to culture and civilization, will only be concerned about eating and not the etiquettes.

Culture:

People are refined by their culture thus they behave according to different civilizations. The culture has changed and evolved over time and space. Different regions have various cultures and the people in those regions feel proud in their culture. Sometimes nature is ignored and natural laws are violated in following a culture too. However, the culture and civilization have also played a historical role in progress of human beings. It is culture and not nature of human being that man seeks to wear fancy dresses. Man wants to culturally distinguish himself from others through language and races and regions while there was no such natural distribution among human beings. Whites are as much qualified to be called human beings as are the blacks, browns and the yellows! While their civilization may vary, one may hold fork in left hand and the other in right, yet both are equally affected by hunger, pain, equally feel the loss of loved ones and feel the pleasure and happiness in the same way. What varies is only the way of expression.

Progress:

Human progress is considered to have started once the people left the caves and set the foundation of river-side civilizations. Humans are today centuries ahead of their once neighboring animals and birds. They value their privacy and respect for families. They understand the sanctity of life and the importance of mannerism and behaviorism. Their thought about nature has also enhanced over time.

Rousseau's Second Discourse:

Rousseau defines the state of nature in the opening part of the Second Discourse. He criticizes the theorists before him that did not go far away in understanding nature. He thinks that those theorists simply analyzed the civilized man and understood him as a part of nature and did not study the natural man. Rousseau is convinced that the natural man is far more different than the civilized man. The natural man had far less fears for he belonged not to the walls and roves rather to trees and rivers. He was also much active and energetic not passive because of leisure and luxuries of today. The natural man never knew of modern diseases since he had developed immunity by interacting with society. His body was home of health and not disease. Unlike the civilized man, natural man had access to pure natural resources. Thus man was a free animal and not the slave of technologies and ease. In his own words, "Nature commands every animal, and the beast obeys. Man feels the same impetus, but he realizes that he is free to acquiesce or resist; and it is above all in the consciousness of this freedom that the spirituality of the soul is shown" (Rousseau, p. 114) (1964).

Rousseau seems to be bored by the idea of analyzing human beings only in their cut, polished and refined state. He believes that man will always have the components of nature in him and he will always be attracted towards nature. Even if the man does not know, he leans towards nature and his body falls ill when he is too passive to use his energies. The point of the author can be explained by two examples, the first of depression and second of its solution. Human beings like to achieve and accomplish but they also have natural tendency to seek adequate rest and break. Humans need to interact with nature and when they are too occupied with their work that they do not find time to look around and find greenery, to feel clouds, observe rain, watch kids growing etc., they easily fall ill or depressed. They gradually lose interest in their surroundings because their nature and soul seeks interaction with nature. The solution, as we know, is busy people taking vacations to spend in Bahamas, Bora, Hawaii, Thailand and beaches just to be themselves and to feel the voices of nature. Only then they realize that the birds' chirping is much more rewarding than the computer mouse's click and the waters' cascading voice is much more soothing than the music played on most expensive stereos. Thus a civilized man disoriented of his surroundings often finds peace in place where only nature is around and no gadgets connected to internet.

Rousseau does not find a clash in nature and civilization though. Man has natural desires that are same since evaluation but only the expressions have changed over time and with the introduction of civilization. People seek love and affection as they did in past but with the evolution of civilization and social dynamics, the sense of insecurity has increased among individuals. People today have more food that is prepared with much more effort, more fancy clothes and better, bigger and taller houses yet they their desire for love is under satisfied.

What Civilization Brought:

I am not anti-technology and do not negate the ease civilization has brought into our lives. Probably the working capacity of human beings has increased tens of times more than when he used to work with bare hands. The civilization has also told man that he deserves better time and space and that he should respect the rights of others too on the planet. Man today at least knows, even if he does not act so, that every human being reserves rights to equal and better life. Thus, it is civilization that teaches man not to be the enemy of each other rather to live with peace and harmony.

Yet I believe that there are some perils too that the man faces due to technology. Some are mild but some really are wild. The man for example has become so busy in the businesses of life that he does not find appropriate time for relations and self. He is so disoriented from the natural pleasures of life that he cannot imagine the blessings of spending time in a garden in a morning. To him, a sitcom is much more pleasure and a source of happiness. Thus the "smallest peril" of the civilization can be considered that today his definitions of loss and gain have changed.

Nature, Culture and Man:

If we separately see the impact of journey of human beings from nature to civilization, it is observed that the man has become only the means of earning. He is of importance value in family as long as he is making the lives of family members easier. The respect and love attached to the head of family has gone. The man himself seems to seek authority and power more than dignity and respect. Thus we see that at work men are fighting for promotions. The natural man, unlike the civilized man used to work hard and toil to satisfy his personal accomplishment needs. He had less concern about what people think of him. This is the major difference between the man of today and the natural man. Besides the emotional health, the natural man was also much healthier physically and psychologically. He could not imagine men dying of heart attacks and brain hemorrhages. To him, yelling was catharsis that would end up all his frustrations. But the cultured man has much complex problems that do not seem to be only superficial rather deep rooted.

Nature, Culture and Women:

It can be probably said that the women lost most of good in the journey from nature to culture. The tastes of men, women and children have generally changed with the development of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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