“Nature controls this visible realm by means of change. Clear skies follow after cloudy weather, seas become turbulent after a calm; winds blow in turn; day follows night. It is the world’s contrarieties that give rise to its longevity.” – Seneca, Letter 107.8
Our advancements in health care, technology and physical science (to mention a few) have been made possible through the study of nature. The capacity to apply rationality (analysis) and all the other principles contained within, enable us to learn and live in harmony with the elements. By the same token we are able to locate impediments to our wellbeing as well as work to reconcile and improve upon our situation.
Thankfully, and with the utmost gratitude, nature has been humanities greatest teacher from day one. Yet some perceive it as some kind of entity that wants to kill us. On the other side of the table there are those who believe that nature imbues humans with gifts that allow us to attain divinity. Wherever you might fall in the spectrum of opinions about nature, whether you wish to call it the ecosystem or the Tao, there’s one thing we can say for certainty, and that is we can’t progress without it.
Personally, as one who is embodied in flesh and blood, it makes sense to live in accordance with the limitations and freedoms imposed upon me through natural law. Now seeing that the language-symbols used to make sense of the various aspects of nature are constantly changing, it is incumbent upon me to recognize those who are wise by principle. Therefore, knowing that wisdom remains largely achieved through experiential knowledge, it is easier for me to detect those who are committed to exercising the virtues required to adhere to such a state.
Now just as we must learn and grow, we also have to senesce and let go. Nature seems to have a way of preserving balance, which may not be interpreted as kindness, but nevertheless essential and necessary. Growing up many of our teachers admonish us to prepare for a rainy day. Yet such a life lesson may not register until we are well over our heads. Unfortunately we become enamoured with the pleasantries of life and forget that we must by nature prepare for our descent as well; for to do otherwise, is to bring about a living hell.
“In no great while you will be no one and nowhere, and nothing that you now behold will be in existence, nor will anyone now alive. For it is in the nature of all things to change and alter and perish, so that others may arise in their turn.” – Marcus Aurelius