The seeing of human kind as separate from nature has gained a large following. It is programmed into us from birth, in most cases. The true act is reprogramming our social programming, and acknowledging as a whole, the connection that exists between humanity and nature.
The belief that the two are separate is only useful in small doses. Humanity needs to acknowledge the capability that it has to analyze, think, and decide upon the happenings of the natural world, but what’s more, is acknowledging that we have the ability to act upon the decisions we make. The ability to actively and consciously think and ponder our sensory experience, add input from our memories, and analyze our motivations for past actions, allows us to change our future actions. Seeing ourselves as responsible and capable of acting in ways that have true (and sometimes enormous) consequences, is essential to realizing the weight that comes with our unprecedented ability to manipulate the physical world.
When humanity becomes distanced, and ideologically separated from nature, we become separated from ourselves. Refusing to acknowledge our connection to nature, even if on a purely physical level, is refusing to recognize that which sustains our lives. We are an integral part of nature, and all that it entails, just as all other things are.
Our connection with the world at large isn’t something that we as a species don’t or can’t understand though. Cultures throughout time have understood the essential connection that humanity has with nature. The aboriginals of Australia understand this. They see the outback as a friend, a family member. Hawaiian cultures understand this, and express it in the phrase “Aloha ʻĀina.” It is when we lose our connection to one another and the Earth that we lose ourselves.
I believe that we must understand the duality of our situation. Humanity is vital to The Whole. We are one with it just as the trees, animals, plants, and stars themselves. In contrast, we are a part of it, an individual piece that has a unique role in the balance, a force within all of the forces. I feel that we choose too often to focus on the separation, and try to ignore the connection. I want to live in a world where we acknowledge the divisions, but not let that stop us from seeing the connections, too.