Humans are always trying to distance themselves from nature. Our egos make us think that we are separate from nature – that the laws of nature do not apply to us. That we are beyond the chaotic world of primordial instincts.
The idea of an afterlife is example of how humans try to escape the concept of their ‘ultimate fate’ (i.e. death). The idea of an afterlife is based off of the notion that death is the end of the body but not of the soul, and that there is another life beyond this one. While this may sound comforting, it is interesting to note that it appears as if human beings are the only creatures that believe in the idea of an afterlife. There is no evidence that any other living creatures have any sort of notion or conception of an ‘afterlife’. So, in a way, the idea of an afterlife, or the notion that there is another life after death, is in itself another way in which mankind tries to distance itself from nature. As conscious beings, we like to tell ourselves that we will not perish after death, and that something else lies beyond the grave. However, this ‘afterlife’ only applies to humans, and not to other animals, or to insects or plants (all of which are living beings too). Thus, this idea of an afterlife is a purely human concept, and so it operates as a sort of mechanism that we use to try and distance ourselves from nature.
Unlike humanists, or religious people – I do not believe that human life is anything special or inherently meaningful. As humans, with our advanced consciousness and egos, we have this notion that our lives are somehow more ‘valuable’ than other non-human lives.
‘A human life is worth more than a plants life’ or ’10 human lives are worth more than 1000 dogs lives’ or some other statement like that. But why do people assign so much value to human lives? The humanists says its because humans have reason – that we are intelligent and provide good for the world. Yet when we look at human history all we see is a long list of violence, terror, murder and other destructive acts. Did you know that if the entire human species went extinct the earth would actually prosper – environmentally that is. Most of the problems plaguing our societies – such as poverty, crime, discrimination, warfare – all of these are human creations. Humans have done far more harm than good. Humans may be intelligent, and we may be artistic and reasonable and creative – but when you look at all the destruction and damage that humans do – its hard to think ‘well, even though we’ve destroyed this planet – at least we created some good music in the process!’
No, I do not believe that human lives are worth anything just because we can create art, or complex machines, or solve scientific problems regarding the workings of the universe.
The religious people usually say that human life has value because God has given it value, or some sort of spirit has given it value or some other notion like that. But once again I must argue that this is false – just another man-made fairy tale that tries to convince people that they are more important than non-human forms of life.
So, I disagree with both the religious and the secular humanists in regards to human life. Human life has no greater value than the life of a plant, or a bug, or any other animal or any other living thing.
Any ‘value’ that a human life has is a completely arbitrary creation and is more than likely subjective. After all, if a person had to choose between killing a stranger or killing their mother – chances are they would kill the stranger. Why though? Is the mothers life really more ‘valuable’ than the strangers? Maybe the stranger was a successful doctor who had a cure for cancer. Maybe the stranger had saved thousands of lives. In the end, it doesn’t matter what the stranger did, because a person will almost always kill him rather than their own mother.
And they’ll do this because the value of human life is subjective and man-made. Human lives have no inherent value. They have no value whatsoever actually. A human life is just like every other type of life on this planet – worthless in the long run and destined to fade away into non-existence.
I consider myself an aesthetic environmentalist? What is that? Well, essentially it is an environmentalist who is an environmentalist only because they want to preserve the beauty found in nature.
There are many environmentalists who, when asked why they became environmentalists, may respond with answers such as ‘I want to make the world a better place,’ or ‘I want to improve the world for future generations,’ or the moralistic, pompous response ‘because I have a duty to protect mother nature!’
However, I could care less for any of these reasons. I really don’t care about what happens to the environment after I am gone, after all I will be dead – and it wont effect me. I also could care less about making the world ‘a better place’ – I have no desire to do this because it almost always ends in failure or disappointment. And of course, the whole notion that, since I am a member of the human race, I somehow have some ‘obligation’ to protect nature – well that is perhaps the most ridiculous claim there is. After all, in all honestly, mother nature is constantly trying to kill us. If anything, I shouldn’t have an obligation to mother nature – I should be an enemy of mother nature, since it is nature with all its viruses, and wild animals, and natural disasters that could seriously hurt me.
So why am I an environmentalist then? The answer is quite simple – it’s because I enjoy the beauty found in nature and I want to preserve it. To see a thing of beauty, especially a natural beauty, being destroyed is quite atrocious. To think that stunning forests, tranquil oceans, and lush jungles will be destroyed and replaced with hideous, modern cities – well this is quite unsettling.
The idea, for example, that the sublime rain-forest of Brazil is being deforested in order to make room for more of those disgusting slums or useless attractions – ugh, such a thought is nauseating. To think that the beautiful and frightening ocean will be polluted with the waste of careless, ignorant humans. To think that the ancient and refreshing aura of tranquil forests will be totally destroyed just to provide material to build some plain, unattractive cookie-cutter houses – ugh, such terrible thoughts!
So yes, I am an environmentalist simply because I find nature to be very beautiful and I do not want to see such beauty destroyed. Likewise, I hate the idea of such natural beauty being destroyed just to make more disgusting or plain artificial creations like modern houses, apartments, cities and so on. There is a certain beauty in cities, I wont deny that, but to tear down nature in order to make more room for these cities is not a suggestion that I would be supportive of. Leave nature as it is.
I am an aesthetic environmentalist. I support environmental causes and conservation only because I want nature to be preserved with all its beauty and tranquility. If I found nature to be ugly, or unattractive – then I could care less what mankind did to it. But since nature pleases me with its sublimity, I must take a stand to protect its beauty.
(Also, I could not find any other posts or people who claim to be ‘aesthetic environmentalists’. Therefore I am also content that perhaps I have created a new term for a new movement. My ego is satisfied fam) 🙂