Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Nature Doesn’t Want Us Back

December 23rd, 2009 by G.

This essay from Ross Douthat is brilliant. Ostensibly a review of Avatar, its really a bright light exposing the meaningless guff that is popular pantheism and naive nature worship (as opposed from serious conservationism and environmental protection).

The fundamental problem with nature worship is that nature is demonstrably fallen. Death, horror, misery and decay are endemic. Nature is a great, brute child without reason or restraint.

Comments (3)
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December 23rd, 2009 11:49:36

December 23, 2009

Nature red in tooth and claw.

But that’s no serious obstacle to pantheism, and nature worship need not be naive. Humans have often succumbed to the temptation to worship demons; and their journey to the dark side is soon complete.

Bruce Nielson
December 28, 2009

Douthat’s article is excellent!

This takes us back to the concept of rationality in religion that Kaimi and I were discussing previously.

I really can get behind the “nature awe” that is being espoused and often feel it myself. If this helps a James Cameron make it through life and creates spiritual feelings for him, this is not in any way a bad thing.

Of course it’s irrational, by which I mean (in this case) it’s provably false and at odds with reality. Going back to nature is not something any of us (least of all James Cameron) would really like to do. Cameron is only in favor of nature in so far as he doesn’t have to go back to it himself. In truth the Na’vi have escaped nature more fully than we have.

On the other hand, why over analyze a movie like Avatar? If you take it as a parable of life, it teaches little. But if you take it at face value, it teaches much more.

If there really was a planet out there where the trees formed a sentient network and the people could live forever as organic software, thus escaping the throes of nature through her fictional loving embrace, I’d take that life over mortal life any day!

And so a company that wanted to cut down the trees really would be inherently evil and should be destroyed. Perhaps it’s best to read no more into the plot than what it actually presents.

Adam G.
December 28, 2009

That’s a great point about not reading too much into movies.

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