Nature Culture is a relationship that has been considered deeply in various philosophies. It gives us an idea that Nature and Culture are mutually co-existent. For a long time, there was an idea that Nature and Culture are separate entities called having Nature Culture dichotomy. However due to constant interrogation of the scholarly ideas has led to the precise understanding that, Nature and Culture form a perfect bond in such a way that one without another is incomplete.
How did it start with Nature Culture Dualism/Dichotomy?
For a long time, it was being considered that Nature and Culture are separate entities. It was thought to be a Nature Culture dichotomy. The man was thought to be separate from Nature. However, this notion is challenged because human beings are part of the whole natural system. We are just a part of Nature as nothing more than a social animal.
There is a wonderful movie to watch named Life of Pi. Here a human and a tiger are left on a boat whose destination was uncertain. For each other’s survival both had to behave fit. The struggle between these two leads to survival. However, this is only a movie and a case of Survival. There are various other factors in the environment that makes the relationship between man and nature understandable. They are behavioral, ecological, and physiological factors. Social scientists use these tools to come to any conclusion about how human beings behaved within Nature.
We call the modern era as Anthropocene and have a firm logical belief that it’s all human-centric. This is why we have caused a lot of damage to the ecosystem. The human-centric view is called the Anthropocentric view. We are on the verge of the sixth mass extinction of different species on the earth. Before this, we had five more extinctions where we lost animals like Dinasoraus.
Ecocentric and Anthropocentric views and Nature Culture Divide.
Two of the conflicting views are ecocentrism and anthropocentrism. One can say, within anthropocentrism, there also exists another concept called egocentrism. These terms are simple as the words from which they are made. The anthropocentric view is the focus on the excess development of human civilization.
We have seen enough in the name of industries and burning of the fossil fuel. This has caused Climate Change so rapidly that we gave an invitation to the sixth mass extinction. Glaciers are melting, species are getting destroyed, migration of the birds, etc. The main component that gives rise to anthropocentrism can be argued as egocentrism.
In Egocentrism, people are more focused on their own individual egos. Fulfillment of bigger ambitions like becoming billionaire out of mining or factories sending the heavy amount of carbon dioxide to the environment. The natural resources are being exploited and the Nature Culture divide is being established. Individuals start getting a view that Nature is to be exploited for the sake of the culture (civilization). There is only one aim i.e. fulfillment of the ego.
In an Ecocentric view, it is like whatever is there we shall keep Nature first. It is one of the major world views where a perfect balance can be achieved between the ecosystems.
We shall see more in the next section in a couple of cases of Nature Culture.
Cases of Nature Culture.
There have been many types of research made on the areas where there is no line in between the Nature Culture divide. One of the famous being the case of humans and macaques in Bali, Indonesia. In one of the essays written by Agustin Fuentes, he describes how the macaques and humans and co-existent with each other in their mutual ecologies. You can click here to visit the article. However, this is an academic article. I shall move on to other basic cases.
In North-Eastern India, slash-burn agriculture is common. However, in the state of Meghalaya, people have cultivated the Alder trees inside their farmlands. After the post-harvest season, they simply burn the branches of the Alder so that for the future land remains fertile. Here the connection between Nature and culture is being established to the fullest. The intrinsic properties of each of the elements of Nature have their own value and one is complete with the other.
The holistic view.
Each element in the earth’s ecosystem from humans to rocks everything is being connected to each other. There is a hidden relationship between everything. For example, from the rocks hills are being formed, major glaciers in the Himalayas originate only from the hills only. From these glaciers’ rivers originate feeding up the animals, plants, and human beings. Doesn’t it make a great relationship between human beings and the rocks? There is a natural cycle called Milankovitch Cycles, this shows how the climate of the earth is related to the rotation and revolution of the planet earth. Further, we are aware that the motion of the moon also decides tides in the ocean.
To be able to see the holistic relationship between everything is called a holistic view. This view is required in order to control the impacts of anthropocentric and egocentric nature. It helps to develop an understanding that everything in the natural processes is connected with each other. If one gets destroyed, another might lose existence.
For example, in farmland, there are a lot of fertile bacterias that help in the growth of agricultural crops. If one makes use of harmful chemicals in their field without understanding the need for those bacterias, the land can turn barren. There is a need for a perfect world view avoiding the limits of specializations and creating a balance between Nature Culture.
Specialization is the major cause of the non-holistic view.
The modern world is all about specializations. Be it ecological or nonecological. Let’s take the case of nonecological specialization. One from the physics specialization is unable to understand what an ecologist is trying to convey. This creates a fragmented egocentric view in individuals. Everyone tends to achieve in their own areas. No one actually tries to understand the mutual connection between any two systems of nature. The need for an hour is to unite the Nature Culture and avoid the damage caused due to the anthropocentric nature of man.