What do you think of this quote from True Detective

I find it striking. It’s sat with me for a few days and, like a catchy tune, won’t go away easily:

Sort of related supplementals: are we the only species that doesn’t act in harmony with nature?

Indeed, are we the only species that actively acts against nature?

It’s a nice quote as far as reflecting on human nature goes, but other species have self destructive behaviors, or evolve features that in some circumstances can reduce fitness (e.g. peacock tails). Other animals have a degree of self awareness and emotions and the problems that come from that (like grief).

It does skirt the philosophical problem of consciousness. That is, what good is it? What is it for? Wouldn’t p-zombies be just as effective? Apparently not. Or maybe something like that, like a machine that acts like a human but with no interior life, is impossible.

I think it’s fairly typical nihilist cant. And if that isn’t clear, I don’t agree with it at all.

Yes, self-awareness does put us in a significant way outside of the rest of nature. Might as well yearn for the lost innocence of Eden as wish for self-awareness to go away. Sure, being human isn’t perfect, but I’d rather be a human than any other being on this planet.

Define “nature”. Are termite mounds natural? Beehives? The African grasslands exist mainly because elephants go around knocking down trees, otherwise it would all be forested. Is that natural? Against nature?

It’s a virtually meaningless phrase.

… and the idea is everyone reading this is an aspect (of what the opening paragraphs of that page describe) “separate from itself”

It’s very Zen. It isn’t saying that we act against nature, just that we mistake our perception of what is happening as an actual experience of what is happening.

without human consciousness, we will truly overrun the planet until we drive ourselves and most everything else to extinction. we are a species that recognises the value of another species’ life beyond food and survival, and the only ones who are capable of considering the future and reining in others of our own kind from destroying the upholstery. *

  • when you say ‘nature’, you are just referring to the pretty parts right?

‘zen’ I can see. The rest I don’t think I can agree with. If he’s not saying it we do, in fact, act against nature while seemingly being within nature - that makes us unique, right?

'nature 'is a whole lot more than a panoramic vista - see the Wiki link (above).

I’m quite stuck on this sentence:

I can’t quite see what is meant, in this context, by the phrase ‘natural law’.

We are a product of ‘natural law’. As is everything else that exists in nature. So it’s a meaningless, nihilistic sentiment. I would not dwell on it too long.

The only organised meaning of the phrase ‘natural law’ I could find pertains to justice within the legal system, which is why I was troubled by its use.

Have you a link to what you are calling ‘natural law’?

Of course we are unique but we cannot act against nature because whatever is nature just is. The point that I think he is making is that we think we are in control of nature but the thought is just an illusion.

Oh and I think it’s the opposite of nihilism.

I’m not sure what you mean, BrokenBriton. Am I using it in a different way than it’s meant in the quote, i.e. the laws that govern the universe in which we live?

It’s a woo way of viewing nature. Everything that happens is “natural”. We may alter the planet to our needs more than, say, beavers but so what?

I don’t agree with the quote nor think it’s particularly clever.

The only proper response.

Let’s say a certain species makes it to a new environment. A eucalyptus or snake fish or whatever. It sucks up all the water, eats all the local frogs, or some such so that the native flora or fauna is run to extinction. In your view, is that plant or animal acting in harmony with nature?

^ That is inded what we’re discussing.



:slight_smile: Carry on, please.


No, what are you talking about? :wink:

I agree.

Also, your name is BrokenBriton and my name is Ravenman. It is currently March 8th where I am. We are posting on the Straight Dope Message Board.

Now that we have all the most basic facts established, let’s return to my post: do you think that snake fish and eucalyptus trees “act against nature?”

I don’t know jack shit about “snake fish and eucalyptus trees” but I have a feeling you are aching to tell me something …