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Is Man Part Of Nature?


romansh
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Is man part of nature; is so is there anything he can do that is unnatural?

 

 

 

comment:

I have started this thread in the past on other fora and it can be quite divisive,

So be forwarned.

For the record my position is yes and no.

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Is man part of nature; is so is there anything he can do that is unnatural?

 

Humans are part of nature and cannot violate natural laws. Humans are a species with certain abilities and limitations and cannot do anything that is unnatural for the species (like stay under water for days or fly unassisted).

 

Humans can behave in ways that are unnatural for humans. This is usually considered a psychological aberration or mental illness.

 

George

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Is unnatural related to the category moral?

Dutch

Dutch

Is that what unnatural means for you - immoral?

I will try avoid defining the words for you, feel free to use your own interpretation

 

Humans can behave in ways that are unnatural for humans. This is usually considered a psychological aberration or mental illness.

 

And for you George, mental illness you define as unnatural. Is this any illness (for example a tumour affecting one's behaviour) or just specifically psychological mental illnesses?

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And for you George, mental illness you define as unnatural. Is this any illness (for example a tumour affecting one's behaviour) or just specifically psychological mental illnesses?

 

And for me, I would say any illness (physical or mental) that motivates 'unnatural' behavior.

 

George

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And for me, I would say any illness (physical or mental) that motivates 'unnatural' behavior.

George

 

Interesting - we'll see what the other pundits think of this. ;)

 

'Unnatural' is something that promotes 'unnatural' behaviour.

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I still think we using at least two different categories and smashing them together, pretending they are one. We are using natural/unnatural to represent several categories.

 

If a scientist looks at nature she doesn't record one event as not being part of nature Nature is what it is.. If an anthropologist studies human behavior natural and unnatural will not be part of the report.

 

If we say that some human behavior is not natural we are using a word that is too fuzzy. No human behavior stands outside of nature, meaning the universe. Unnatural and natural are not meaningful words. They imply some evaluative scale that is not being clearly defined.

 

Nothing is outside nature.

 

Dutch

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Yes man is part of nature and no there is nothing man can do that is unnatural.

Joseph

Nothing is outside nature.

Dutch

 

I agree whole heartedly with both of these statements. It seems to me that things must be this way.

 

Dutch let me explore a little further your statement here.

In your model Nothing is outside nature, would god fall into this category? In that, is god subject to cause and effect just like the rest of creation?

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I believe we are all at different places in our journey and as a consequence romansh, I suspect we all have slightly different views about what God is. We all view our world through our own lens of experience and therefore our opinions about God will reflect that. For me God is a creative "force" of nature that is both part of nature in that it permiates everything in the universe, and creative from within nature by permitting our universe to evolve through process according to the laws of nature. In doing so, God is evolving with us. So my answer to your question romansh is that nothing is outside of nature.

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In your model Nothing is outside nature, would god fall into this category? In that, is god subject to cause and effect just like the rest of creation?

God becoming and the universe becoming are doing the evolutionary dance together. They evolve together. The usual view is an external understanding of the world. The world that science is concerned about But God is most evident in the internal events of the world.

 

God knows all that there is to know; God remembers all possibilities, has evaluated them and draws us in the direction of the best. God is limited in the sense that only one actuality can result from all the possibilities. God is limited to the extent that the universe is limited in actuality. But because God and universe are related internally the relationship is not limited the way the external events seem predetermined. In this relationship between God and universe novelty is possible and it is this novelty that drives evolution.

 

These occasions of novelty which result from chance and necessity lead evolution to a future God does not know until it happens.

 

God, in Christ, the first word of love, breathes the first sacrifice so that there is ongoing creating with which the evolving God can be in relationship. Yes God operates within the contingencies of both our external events and our internal events.

 

If God is supernatural there can be no intervention in creation. The separation of natural and supernatural would have exist in God. God must be part natural and part supernatural to have any relationship with creation. I don't see how God can be part natural and part supernatural so God is natural.

 

You question, I think, assumes the laws of the universe are fixed and never change.

 

Just some thoughts

 

Dutch

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While it can be said that God and Creation is One, it, to me, can not be said that God is subject to anything, natural or otherwise. God being beyond such a concept of mans duality in thinking. (in my personal subjective experience of course)

 

Joseph

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I believe we are all at different places in our journey and as a consequence romansh, I suspect we all have slightly different views about what God is. We all view our world through our own lens of experience and therefore our opinions about God will reflect that. For me God is a creative "force" of nature that is both part of nature in that it permiates everything in the universe, and creative from within nature by permitting our universe to evolve through process according to the laws of nature. In doing so, God is evolving with us. So my answer to your question romansh is that nothing is outside of nature.

Not only are we in different places we can only walk the path we are currently on.

 

it, to me, can not be said that God is subject to anything, natural or otherwise. God being beyond such a concept of mans duality in thinking.

This brings out the agnostic in me. If it is beyond our concept of dualistic thought, how can we say god is, is not or perhaps something else with respect to being subject to anything, nevermind cause and effect?

 

Dutch - you had set of attributes ascribed to god in your last post. Just reading Joseph's last post pointing to a transcendent aspect to god. What's your position on this how do we know god is or is not subject to cause and effect?

 

Even a fundamentalist will suggest my heathen beliefs will cause god to have me placed in some fiery furnace for eternity. ( I do understand it is not anyone's position here, but it does illustrate some interpretations of god respond to cause and effect).

rom

Edited by romansh
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Joseph said...

it, to me, can not be said that God is subject to anything, natural or otherwise. God being beyond such a concept of mans duality in thinking.

 

This brings out the agnostic in me. If it is beyond our concept of dualistic thought, how can we say god is, is not or perhaps something else with respect to being subject to anything, nevermind cause and effect?

 

 

 

In my view, just as the ear, itself cannot hear and the eye, itself cannot see, the mind cannot "know" what is beyond itself. However, that is not to say that the mind cannot subjectively experience that which is beyond itself. All that we experience is manifested from that which we cannot see. Therefore God cannot be known by the thinking mind but rather subjectively experienced as reality. It seems to me that Life itself/God/ reality is to be experienced rather than conceptualized. There is little we can say of God without speaking in error.

Joseph

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In my view, just as the ear, itself cannot hear and the eye, itself cannot see, the mind cannot "know" what is beyond itself. However, that is not to say that the mind cannot subjectively experience that which is beyond itself. All that we experience is manifested from that which we cannot see. Therefore God cannot be known by the thinking mind but rather subjectively experienced as reality. It seems to me that Life itself/God/ reality is to be experienced rather than conceptualized. There is little we can say of God without speaking in error.

Joseph

Here is a slightly camp but fun view of what is doing the knowing. I have to admit it is a favourite of mine. :)

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is god subject to cause and effect just like the rest of creation

Rom, I do not know if it applies to you but most people who put this question assume a reductive scientific view. In the material world as we understand it. I have no answer for that question because it only refers to some of all that is.

 

God wanted to know God's self. To know one's self, there must be relationship. So what was one became two. There has to be the give and take in a relationship. What I experience, think, and feel affects what you you experience, think, and feel - if there is communication. We influence each other. That's how God becoming and the universe becoming are related. One is not complete without the other. They are dancing.

 

just like the rest of creation

This assumes that one can find where god and the rest of creation separate. In my stories I can not find this point of separation.

 

 

Dutch

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Does unnatural mean anything that deviates from "normal for their species?

 

An example might be many species of fish will snack on their young ... this is natural

Most mammals don't eating of ones young would thus be unnatural

 

If this follows then humans are the species that has taken unnatural acts to new heights.

 

steve

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is god subject to cause and effect just like the rest of creation

It is usually a Materialist that asks such a question. How does a Materialist answer the mind/body. What, where is the mind? How is it related to the brain? Answers to the mind/brain can lead back to fuller understanding of the boundaries of creation.

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It is usually a Materialist that asks such a question. How does a Materialist answer the mind/body. What, where is the mind? How is it related to the brain? Answers to the mind/brain can lead back to fuller understanding of the boundaries of creation.

You have been discussing this with quality philosophers then. Well I can't speak for anyone else's mind but my mind is firmly entrenched in the physical. I am pretty sure before I had a body I did not have a mind - or at least what I perceive as a mind now. I suppose my outlook on this and similar issues is quite monistic. ( As opposed to pluralistic or dualistic).

 

And yes I do have a scientific background. Wherever I look I see cause and effect (at least in the macro world). If you have an uncaused phenomenon you would like to discuss I'm happy to oblige. :)

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I am pretty sure before I had a body I did not have a mind - or at least what I perceive as a mind now

Just who is the "I" that can reflect on that? How does the physical stuff in your skull generate intuition?

 

It seems common sense that we have conscious experience, that this consciousness although influenced by our bodies is not wholly determined by our bodies and because of that we have some limited amount of freedom in choosing our behavior. Is this not true? Where does your consciousness or intuition arise from? If it is the result of cause and effect which seem locked in what difference does it make that you would want to be pragmatic rather than intuitive or emotional. In what way could you say that you can choose?

 

 

Dutch

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Perhaps belief in cause and effect is nothing more than support of an illusion? The illusion that there is a separate, self existent self. Cause is dualistic in that there is a this causing that. This of course implies there is a thinker, a doer behind actions along with creating the illusion of a separate doer with a myriad of self definitions. Perhaps the phenomena of life are not being caused by anyone or anything at all. Perhaps all events of life are impersonal, a autonomous interaction of all facets of the conditions of the universe. Perhaps they are just the impersonal consequences of conditioning and programming however disconcerting it may be. It seems to me that the thinking mind is not acting out of volitional choice.

 

This is implying that nothing is really causing anything else but rather is the expression of its own self-existent essence. A part of All That Is with no individual parts or separateness or independence existence except as an illusion to the thinking mind.

 

Just some musings to take, or not take seriously,

Joseph

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Perhaps belief in cause and effect is nothing more than support of an illusion? The illusion that there is a separate, self existent self.

 

For me a belief in cause and effect points me to a lack of belief that there is a separate self.

Here is a personal essay I wrote a few years ago:

http://www3.telus.net/romansh/juris/freewill.htm

 

Hope you enjoy

 

rom

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Rom,

 

Perhaps what we perceive as cause is merely a precondition to an event. It would seem to me, even as a concept, to see cause involves the total knowledge of the whole and understanding true relationship of All That Is.

 

Joseph

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