Foley: Nature of man, man and nature.
bizarro at bio.ufpr.br
Mon Oct 16 03:57:41 EDT 2000
Dear Rev. Ron
Congratulations! - You've just found the deepest nature of the human 'built-in' defficiency, known by catholics as "the Original Sin" :
In fact, original in two ways
1) in the origins of our beeing; as we 'are born appealingless with it' : the insidious, subrepticious trend to selfishness.
2) original, as we are actually the only species with a trouble of this kind. (Did Darwin ever noticed it or asked himself why?? - Rethoric question!)
Does it have a solution?
YES - that's wy Mother Theresa of Calcuta is (was, for some people's relief) so unbelievable different from me.
Is it easy?
NO - of course it isn't, that is why the world is in such a bad shape (includind my beloved Catholic Church).
Which it is?
a PERSONAL FIGHT against ourselves, get rid of OUR My's, with God's help (this last one is the very trick of the matter, if one goes on their own, it's certified disaster on the end of the road). I sure mother Theresa had to get rid of her's before going to the streets collecting people.
I would dare to say that mankind is divided in two, concerning this subject: those that fight, and those that gave up long time ago.
As for me, i don't really know for sure where I stand, certainly not in the front run, but trying still, perhaps. Believe me, not to stop is already a great victory.
NATURE suffers from mankind odds, a kind of exportation of our pains to it. Most of the assaults on our Earth, wich we should care and left for next generations (I think God sought and dream of it for al mankind, not only those crazy living in the XX century), are ultimately consequences of man's grievings and moral odds nature.
Given this, I think ultimate perfection is unatainable in this life and this Earth. However, I do think the amount of it can be improved, or downgraded. It depends on each one of us.
De: Ron Gatrelle <gatrelle at tils-ttr.org>
Para: Leps-l <leps-l at lists.yale.edu>
Data: Sábado, 14 de Outubro de 2000 04:43
Assunto: Re: Foley: Nature of man, man and nature.
Dear Dr. Foley,
In a recent post one of your sentences caught my attention. You said, "As an ecologist and evolutionist, I enjoy seeing the world work out its problems on its own, but I would like to see people have as much freedom as their sense of responsibility allows."
My formal training is in dental and systematic theology. I retired from my dental business in 1984. My transition from theological systematics to systematic taxonomy seems natural. My main function in life however is dealing with people. Honest and dishonest people come in all genders, races, intellects. After 30 years of dealing with people (their problems) I have found that in all of us (including myself) our "sense of responsibility" has not evolved far beyond the entrance to our own cave. If the sense of responsibility could be easily measured like taste or sight most of us would rate as blind. The rest of us would be wearing think glasses and loading our food with salt. In other words the only sense of responsibility the vast majority of humanity has is to -- my self, my family, my country, my race, my team, my view, my religion, and lastly my gun, which I will use to blow the head off of anybody who gets in MY way. (And, in lieu of a gun -- a chat line will do.)
I am that rare fundamentalist that preaches that there is absolutely "that of God in every man." Man IS basically good. But It is not the god nature in us that concerns me, it is the human nature. This is why I am far from a human-ist, for I believe that without the rest of God in each of our lives we are bound by, ruled by, OUR "sense of responsibility." Which is nothing more than our self interests. I like science. It is a great pragmatic thing -- as long as we can keep human nature (prejudice) out of it.
You were likely thinking about our sense of responsibility to the world around us. I am simply saying that it is the same "sense" and the same "responsibility" whether it is geared toward the environment, politics, people, sports, sex, marriage, whatever. And it aint pretty.
Now to the first part of your sentence. It never ceases to amaze me how easily the human species is divorced from the nature-working-out-its-problems-on-its-own reasoning. The human animal is as much a species and thus a part of the chaotic natural conflict as fire, Ice, floods, drought, and the ultimate chaos -- the explosion of the SUN. Everything else it seems should be allowed to run its own chaotic course. If a fire ignited by lightning causes the extinction of species X, well, it is just nature's way. But if a human camp fire accidentally ignites the fire that causes the extinction of something it is a crime. The hyper-environmentalists treat humans as aliens on this plant. If HIV killed every human and we became extinct are the apes to put aids in Jail for destroying their most advanced form?
All this is to say that as senseless and irresponsible as people are we are still part of the ecosystem. We're stuck with ourselves. I hope that is curtailing or stopping human function relative to the natural world, we are not actually preventing the very series of events that could lead to.... well who knows what good. Someone once said. "If what I know met what I don't know, what I know would be highly embarrassed."
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