Humans are nature. There is no such thing as a separate nature. That is, it seems quite silly that humans still say things like: “I love to get out into nature.” Or “I’m really inspired by nature.” Or “we have to get back to nature.” What a weird, common, and deep lapse this is. The divisions we see are made by us and are of a wholly provisional utility. The same processes that affect a brick wall, affect a canyon wall. The impulse a slime mold has to reproduce is the same as ours. The bark of a tree is the same as the skin of our faces. As well, we don’t walk out into “nature” and return from it. An isolated area of northern British Columbia isn’t more natural than a supermarket; things continually organize, rot, die and grow in both, it’s only that the former has less people (and their direct stuffs) and therefore feels cleaner or purer (but neither are “pure”). And it’s not like the material used to make mascara, cheetos or skyscrapers comes from another dimension. (Though of course we are creating such things at such a rate that we are being choked by them.)

At times it feels like the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions never happened; that “the human” is still privileged over all other living things, and the earth is still at the center of the universe. We don’t consider these basic observations as part of the debate of science vs. religion, or science vs. philosophy; all those things are natural too (and there can be no supra-natural observations). All we are proffering is that saying “nature” is separate from “human nature” is shockingly prevalent and kinda wildly retrograde.

Ultimately, Walter Pater said it best:

But those elements, phosphorus and lime and delicate fibres, are present not in the human body alone: we detect them in places most remote from it. Our physical life is a perpetual motion of them — the passage of the blood, the waste and repairing of the lenses of the eye, the modification of the tissues of the brain under every ray of light and sound — processes which science reduces to simpler and more elementary forces. Like the elements of which we are composed, the action of these forces extends beyond us: it rusts iron and ripens corn. Far out on every side of us those elements are broadcast, driven in many currents; and birth and gesture and death and the springing of violets from the grave are but a few out of ten thousand resultant combinations. That clear, perpetual outline of face and limb is but an image of ours, under which we group them — a design in a web, the actual threads of which pass out beyond it. This at least of flamelike our life has, that it is but the concurrence, renewed from moment to moment, of forces parting sooner or later on their ways.

Cargo Newsletter — Nov 9 2021