Of Nature and Men

Nature is, first and foremost, in terms of what you see and experience every day. It is most basic, beginning with the light and dark outside your bedroom door, the air that greets you when you first open a door to the outdoors, what you hear by way of birds, what you see outside by way of grass or snow. Nature is first: the lawns, the trees, the hills, the skies, the sun and moon, the rivers, lakes and oceans, the hills and valleys, the mountains, and so forth. Whatever beauty we sense and experience emerges from Nature. The sound of water running, the smell of flowers and greenery, the sight of a waterfall, etc. If modern people and younger generations (the latter cooped up inside all the time these daze) feel bored, lonely, disconnected, and alienated, they need look no further than Nature to rebalance, inspire, and uplift.

Everything man-made–your house, the houses, the roads and streets, the buildings, the hotels, the skyscrapers, etc. were mostly built by men (despite an uptick of women in the trades) recently, months, years, and centuries before. It was primarily men who made what most people take for granted and who have done and built the man-made world we live in. It was men who were the movers and creators of history since the beginning of recorded time. True, there have been wars and violence along the way, but that does not change the fact that the world we live in is and has been, largely, a man’s world.

In a MeToo era, I think that many misunderstandings, prejudices, agendas, and lack of appreciation and respect are sometimes/often driven from a simple lack of context and acceptance of the above larger facts and truths about men from a big/ger picture perspective. Mere resentment and automatic discounting on the basis of gender naively or blindly can miss a lot of relevant information. (The sources of women’s university education and Western freedom of speech, for instance.) * see below for the ‘rest of the story’

And, as to Nature, there is, instead, a greater belief in, loyalty to, domination by and subservience to machines and technology, the Modern God worshipped in ‘civilized countries’. Screens are more interesting than skies. Apps are more relevant than the weather. Social media is more important than a walk in the park. Fans and followers matter more than oceans and mountains.

No question as Wordsworth once wrote, we are out of touch with Nature, alienated from it, having sold our souls out to whatever makes money and, now, the technology that obsesses and matters so much more than changing leaves and the return of spring.

(Perspective: one of myriad museums and galleries built by men with mostly male artists represented within; a good reminder of the fact that the world of the arts and whatever has been traditionally viewed as great art was created by men for many centuries; this remains the greater context for whatever generally continues to be viewed as great art)


But it must be added that whatever men have done historically speaking, could not have been accomplished without women and their own innumerable sacrifices. Sacrifices of cooking, cleaning, raising children, growing crops, keeping the home-fires going, not having an independent individual life, etc. To say nothing of the great individual women (e.g., Madame Curie, Florence Nightingale, Joan of Arc, Jane Austen, Amelia Earhart, Jane Goodall, Mother Teresa, Rachel Carson) who distinguished themselves over time despite obstacles, limitations, and male chauvinism.

It has always taken two to tango and to evolve a civilization. Women, in particular, have also done much to nurture, develop, and inspire. Although they may have/had traditionally been relegated to different or secondary roles, men could not have survived or distinguished themselves without the many women behind them. Fact.

Since the early twentieth century, when women got the vote, a new process–‘herstory’–has begun to write itself as more Western women get the kind of freedom and independence (A Room of One’s Own) that Virginia Woolf achieved personally and wanted for women in her time. (This impetus was later reignited in the late 1960s by the feminist movement then.) And what historical greatness women shall eventually achieve is still in the development phase and remains largely to be written. But it shall come and evolve as the new millennium moves forward.



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