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Does the Beauty and Majesty of the Natural World Need to Be Tied to a Higher or More Spiritual Force to Be Truly Understood - Essay Example

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The question of nature’s spirituality reaches far beyond theoretical ethical debates. Decision making in various industries and individual lives is profoundly influenced by the role of nature in human worldview…
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Does the Beauty and Majesty of the Natural World Need to Be Tied to a Higher or More Spiritual Force to Be Truly Understood
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"Does the Beauty and Majesty of the Natural World Need to Be Tied to a Higher or More Spiritual Force to Be Truly Understood"

Download file to see previous pages Even in the cases when nature itself is considered divine, more conscious attitude to one’s own religious beliefs is psychologically beneficial. Some objections to this view are examined and followed by counterarguments related to current environmental ethics and politics. People need to have values in life. The need for spirituality is proven by psychological studies (Schroeder, 1992) and numerous moments of our daily experience. We want to transcend the limits of our own personalities by experiencing Other, be it in God, nature, or other entities (Schroeder, 1992, p. 25). Protection of environment is another acute need of humanity. There are numerous ways of satisfying these two necessities. The difference between them lies in the question where is the Other. Or, to put it playfully, who is the Significant Other? Once a person has decided, it becomes clear what God and nature mean to him or her. For pantheists and deep ecologists, nature is valuable by definition (Naess, 1973). For most of the believers of world religions, nature is beautiful and majestic as long as its phenomena are sanctioned by some deity. Even pagans worship the deities of streams, trees, and rocks, not nature itself. But regardless from the forces considered divine in any one of these cases, the value of nature should not be mediated and limited by any other values....
It often establishes some hierarchy: many animals are believed to be ‘unclean’ or ‘sacred’ in various religions, and the believers treat those animals accordingly. Usually, this inequality does not result in animal massacres or maltreatment, but it has subtler implications for the entire ecosystems. In most of such hierarchies of world religions, human beings are usually situated above the other living creatures, so that the decisions about the entire ecosystems are made, so to speak, in their ‘favour’. This anthropocentrism of traditional culture is blamed for environmental crisis by deep ecologists and radical environmentalists, as it fails to represent the parts of ecosystem as interrelated (Leopold, 1949). There is also selectivity of non-human species: for instance, people are more likely to preserve the spotted owls than the insects that belong to the same ecosystem. It may be argued that human eye is selective by nature and that our experience of nature is still mediated by something, be it religion, science, or anything else. This view echoes the one expressed by Ralph Emerson, a classic representative of transcendentalism: that the poet’s eye “can integrate all the parts” (Emerson, 1836), thereby giving them sense. For Emerson, art and spirit were superior to nature: “Have mountains, and waves, and skies, no significance but what we consciously give them, when we employ them as emblems of our thoughts? (...) the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind” (Emerson, 1836). From the fact that our interaction with nature is mediated, it does not follow that our view is right. Schroeder (1992) explains that spiritual experience, including the spiritual experience of nature, should be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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