Searching for the Lost Meaning

New Year and New Ideas

One of the hallmarks of a creative approach to thinking is to re-examining and re-thinking your foundation. As it happened I stumble upon the insightful book, After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene by Jedediah Purdy on New Year’s Eve. It provided  new angles that can be explored during this year.

Jedediah  says that we need to re-examine our relationship with nature to solve problems related to climate change. This may sound like an even greater challenge but he shows in his book that our relationship with nature has throughout history been flexible, and we have imagined our relationship with the natural world in several different ways.

Today, many of us sees the natural world as a connected and interdependent whole, yet the threats related to climate change may lead to a shift from this view. Deep and difficult problems may change who we are. This shift in our relationship with nature need to be political according to Jedidiah.

Last year I devoted time to understand how nature solve problems and these words challenged in a positive way that approach. Biomimicry is an approach where you can get ideas to solve problems, it is not an approach where we strive towards mimicking nature. Therefore it is important to be clear about what it is that inspired our new ideas and solutions. The re-thinking that the book, After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, inspired comes from the idea and suggestion that nature no longer exists apart from humanity. Consequently, the world we will inhabit is the one we have made.

“No part of the natural world tells us how to value it, let alone how to live and relate to one another.”

Jebediah challenges the approach that we can look in nature for our own values, which can be seen in ideas such as paleo diets, ad “natural capitalism”. We can learn from nature and natural systems but these ideas are simply a certain reading of of our own economy back into the natural world. Simply because we find something in the natural world does not mean that we should embrace the general lesson. Certain things in nature are cruel, such as ants that uses the pupae of the colonies they raid, and these ideas can be misused.

The challenges we face require that we create and develop ways to deal with a damaged and ever-changing world.

Go here to read an interview with the author at “The Atlantic”.



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