I think it's great that modern men and women can gaze out on a horizon or ocean or mountain and feel reverence and awe. But if there's anything that serving two tours in a fuckin' desolate desert has done, it's eroded any delusional affection between me and Nature.
Don't believe the paintings. Nature ain't a majestic landscape of beauty. It's a time bomb waiting to eat you!
Yeah, that pretty mountain cloaked in perfect clouds out there on the horizon is a few decades away from raining fire on everything you've ever known. That pretty tide is going to crush your entire life in the wake of an earthquake. It'll happen.
It's only modern technology combined with ignorance that allows people to pretend we stand in an ethereal wonder of Nature's intelligence. Nature has wrath in one hand, despite any infinite nurturing it is in the other.
Umberto Eco discusses an incident at Central Park Zoo in New York City where a polar bear attacked and ate two kids who jumped into his pool tank at the daring of their friends. Eco traces the true origin of the incident to modern guilt. Eco (1987) writes:
"Human beings have always been merciless with animals, but when humans became aware of their own cruelty, they began, if not to love all animals (because, with only sporadic hesitation, they continue eating them), at least to speak well of them… As the media, the schools, public institutions in general, have to explain away so many acts performed against humans by humans, it seems finally a good idea, psychologically and ethically, to insist on the goodness of animals. We allow children of the Third World to die, but we urge children of the First to respect not only butterflies and bunny rabbits but also whales, crocodiles, snakes."
For Eco, it was the raising of these inner city kids on books about lovable bears and talking penguins. Animals are "toyified" to modern, city kids. As such, they don't properly respect their ferocious tendencies. So they think the can pinch them at the zoo and end up getting eaten.
Animals Really Suck
Eco (1987) also writes: "No one is more thoughtless than a lemming, more deceitful than a cat, more slobbering than a dog in August, more smelly than a piglet, more hysterical than a horse, more idiotic than a moth, more slimy than a snail, more poisonous than a viper, less imaginative than an ant, and less musically creative than a nightingale."
We've done the same Norman Rockwell-ifying with Nature. Lord knows we've treated greater Nature with the same lack of compassion as its animal kingdom.
Ahh, look at the sunset! It's glorious! Ahh, but that same sun will burn you down to your bones. Trust me. Semper Fi. Rachel out.