Being in Chord with Nature

“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

About Philosopher Muse

An explorer of volition and soul, a song under a night sky and a dream that forever yearns to be.
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10 Responses to Being in Chord with Nature

  1. That’s one of my favorite Marcus Aurelius quotations. When people think of mortality, we usually think of passing out of existence and leaving behind a Human society which will endure without us. And it will, for a while at least.

    But we rarely take the time to consider the fact that in a short time, relatively speaking, the context in which we were alive will no longer exist. No more people, no more planet, no more anthropomorphisation of nature as either cruel or kind.

    Thinking past our own demise to that of even the last trace of humanity is, I find, pretty helpful when preparing to face that inevitable descent. It keeps us from thinking ourselves to be too significant, but also reminds us that no being is too small to take part in the birth and death cycle that makes up the universe.

    • “We would bear our own end and that of our loved one with greater courage if we perceived that life and death, like everything else, come and go by turns.” – Seneca, Letter 71.14

  2. Obong eno says:

    Great post with great quotes

  3. To your point, I think many of the problems in our current society (Western world at least) can be attributed to, in some part, to humanity trying to live outside natural law. There are things that separate us from pure animals, but we are not separated from animalistic natures. Plus, we can re-label and re-create ourselves through linguistic means, but there are certain things about our existence that lie outside of our control. The modern world has tried its best to dismiss these principles, in my opinion. I know I am making gross generalizations, but alas.

    • I am inclined to give a fair degree of ascent to your line of thought; esp the forth sentence, as to how we dismiss principles because of our human nature. For instance, if our school system encourages students to strive for whatever the hell they desire, when in fact the individual in question may lack the natural proclivity, talent and sufficient intelligence to attain such an end, then we have something smellier than ‘double ignorance’ at play; i.e., when ‘order’ morphs into ‘odor’, you can reckon our instinctual nature has taken sway.

      “A charming enemy comes to me as a friend; faults creep in calling themselves virtues; temerity cloaks itself with the name of courage; cowardice gets called moderation; and timidity passes itself off as caution.” – Seneca, Letter 45.7

      • You bring up a great example of school children. I have had, for instance, a student who wanted to become a marine biologist but failed every biology class she took. Or another who wanted to be an engineer but could not pass a math class for anything. I love your phrase, “When order morphs into odor.” That’s glorious. And Seneca for the win, as usual.

      • Thank you for relating to the content.

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