Monday, September 26, 2011

In wildness is the preservation of the world. - Henry David Thoreau

God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man. The second manifestation is not less holy than the first. The first is named Nature, the second is named Art.

Dieu se manifeste à nous au premier degré à travers la vie de l’univers, et au deuxième degré à travers la pensée de l’homme. La deuxième manifestation n’est pas moins sacrée que la première. La première s’appelle la Nature, la deuxième s’appelle l’Art.

Victor Hugo - William Shakespeare (1864)Part I, Book II, Chapter I [5]

At some point of our human experience, we thought to conquer nature. We thought ourselves the masters of what God has created and we demanded the world around us to be subservient to our goals for life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.

In the name of such arrogance, we conquered native lands, “discovered” continents, sold slaves, and polluted oceans, rivers and lakes.

As we grew, reaching our capacity for expansions of imperialism and capitalism, we suddenly come to light of a new kind of thinking, one that is consistent with nature and not counterintuitive to it. At first we realized the inconsistency of our superiority with inherent rights of all men. Civil Rights moved to abolish discrimination amongst all and we became equals.

In a more recent decade, we realized the inconsistency of our superiority with inherent rights of the planet; Sustainability began to take roots. And in light of our new knowledge of the ancient – a 13 billion year-old world, we sought to understand nature better and we began to use its wisdom to expand ourselves ever further, maximizing our efficiency for becoming human amongst its creatures, and we seek to reconcile with nature as our friend, our confidant, and our teacher.

We began to combine our a priori knowledge with pragmatic methods:

Fibonacci met the tree in the wild imaginations of a boy, we saw how to capture solar energy in the most effective way as foretold by the forests giants we once cut to build;

Biomimetics combines intelligent design to promote civil advancement, we learn to hope the holy words are employed for the betterment of our global peace and sustainable prosperity;

Landscape is no longer about having the most exotic grass or plants, but more about leveraging nature to preserve nature. Architects now are working to maximize the synergies between the health of the environment and our communities, and ultimately benefiting ourselves.

And now, we see ourselves tap into our collective motivation to do well for our future generations, and I am eager for the days to come when peaceful cooperation will bring cultures and nations closer, our people together.

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.

John Muir

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