“… when you’re in a struggle with one of Mother Nature’s challenges — like a virus or a climate change — the goal is not to defeat her. No one can. She’s just chemistry, biology and physics. The goal is to adapt” Tom Friedman, New York Times 4/28/20
Friedman’s my favorite columnist, but I just can’t agree that Mother Nature is no more or less than chemistry etc. I’m an “intelligent life chauvinist” and cannot accept that Mother Nature is unaware of the admiration, adoration that poets, and artists pay her. Nor is she unaware of the abuse we cause. You say we’re not supposed to anthropomorphize non human life forms or spirits, but that’s not true today. When it all began, back in primordial times, BIG BANG, gasses, stars igniting and nothing else, then there was just chemistry and physics. No flowers, chipmunks, thunderstorms or river valleys. It was barren and offered little to wax euphoric about or even admire, unless you were physicist or like gamma ray spewing black holes. There were the twinkle twinkle little stars, but these were deadly balls of thermonuclear fusion. Nothing much for artists to work with then.
She’s aware of us because she created us
But then a few billion years ago Mother N., for her own reasons gave rise to life and things changed exponentially. Soon there were eye balls and noses that could appreciate some of what she had created. It only makes sense, after creating something as stupendous as a universe she might want somebody to see or take notice?
But wait, there’s more! Intelligent life evolved next and it was a whole new ballgame. Not only was there visualization, seeing what was created but now she had students understanding all the moving parts of the stars, galaxies and chipmunks. Scientists admiring and learning how it all came into being.
Then the painters, poets, and horticulturalists arrived, praising, idealizing and celebrating Mother Nature’s creation. Remember it was she herself who caused these intelligent admirers to evolve: She created her own cheering section, so why can’t we say Mother Nature, like any mother, sought adulation and admiration for what she and birthed? That’s not much of a stretch!
So why does she stick it to us?
You protest and ask if she was such a warm, fluffy, human like figure, why does she stick it to us with inhumane catastrophes- corona viruses, forest fires, and black flies?
This is just my speculation, but perhaps the old girl is Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady: If you treat her like a lady, she is. If not, she becomes unladylike. Which brings me back to columnist Tom Friedman: While he never gave her full human characteristics, he is quick to say she is punishing us because environmentally, we have disrespected and abused her.
” If you don’t respect her viruses, wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, floods and so on, she will hurt you or your neighbors or your citizens…” Don’t bet against her because “she has not lost in 4.5 billion years.”
Tom Friedman, New York Times 5/19/20