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February 24, 2009

Nature Life

The goal of life is living in agreement with nature.
Zeno, from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosopher
Greek philosopher (335 BC - 264 BC)
At first I was satisfied by the perfect simplicity of this quote. The more I think about it as a literal, absolute truth, the more hopeless it seems for humans to attain such a goal. For probably as long as humans have been able to do more than just survive (i.e. be productive, be thoughtful, do work, profit, and be leisurely), the direction has been away from nature, or at least to capitalize on it, which to me seems to be in direct conflict, not agreement. Unless it is to agree to disagree.

Sure, like any other species, we choose to be efficient and productive and as long as we survive, we are selected and make offspring. But if we would like to credit nature with inspiring industrialism, it would be the opposite of what Zeno was thinking: sterile environments, box houses, automobiles, mass production--things that make our lives easier and more un-natural. What this has done is put us at the top of the food chain for now--which is evolutionary success, maybe. Unless we find out all our anti-bacterial soap really is creating a resistant super-bacteria that ends up extinguishing the prolific human species! Daaaaaag.

Maybe Zeno is being more hopeful though (and not so literal): the goal of a human's life should be living to maximize harmony with nature. The goal of life is to be a part of it. Get connected.

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