Tag Archives: theory

Why the ‘Law of Nature’ Argument is the Most Unnatural Concept Ever


The law of nature is a funny illusion.
It was used to justify slavery until the slaves revolted and claimed their rights.
It was used to sustain colonialism until the Europeans were kicked out and the natives did just fine.
It was used to imprison women until the world wars happened and magically they were able enough to work in factories.

Laws which were supposedly permanent and inherent – – existing since eternity – – were simply thrown away like fashion fads which outlived their trendiness.

And yet after a whole century of debunking the ‘natural’ argument most people still use it to justify their own prejudices and defend their medieval thought-castles.

Beneath all the ‘Natural Law’ arguments, there lies a certain kind of arrogance and a fallacious logic of morality.

The idea that human beings can defy the laws of nature (if any) firmly rests on the grandiose delusion that we can be independent of nature. It presumes that humans are this special species who have the ability to rebel and create a civilization which is autonomous.
Nothing can be farther from the truth.

The Nature/Culture binary is a false dichotomy. Living beings are natural beings by default. Nature constitutes them. All the characteristics, abilities and features of every living being has to have some inherent, natural, genetic basis. And it is a known fact that our civilizations’ precarious existence depend upon the whims of nature. (How many civilizations have been razed by natural disasters and climate disruptions? A shit load of them.)

Trees can’t walk, because its not in their nature to walk. Dogs can’t speak mandarin because they don’t have the genetic potential to speak any human language.

Similarly, every human action has to have some natural basis. Even artificial machines like spaceships can only be built by using our inherent potentials. We could invent rocket science because of our natural ability to reason and understand. We could create all the unnatural materials used in a space crafts by using the raw materials found in nature. And ultimately the spaceship flies according to the natural, inherent laws of physics which can’t be rebelled against.

If nature really forbids something, no living being can go against its diktat.

But this statement in no way can be paraphrased as, “Everything is as it should be.”

Violence and cooperation are both natural – – but war and peace are in no way the same from an Experiential or an ethical point of view.
Nature is diverse, dynamic and different. But it doesn’t mean that we have to accept things as they are.

We have the inherent ability to choose and change. And hence, the question of good and bad in no way relies on the natural and the unnatural.(For everything is ultimately natural.)

Global warming is not wrong because it is human made and against the natural order. Humans themselves are natural beings and hence can’t go beyond nature. Global warming is wrong because of its effects – – because of the disasters and immense loss of life it has brought about. But it could only happen because of the inherent, natural potentials of human beings to create and exploit.

Rapes occur in the wilderness; but it can in no way mean that this justifies their ethical validity.

Disease is a natural condition, often brought about by natural organisms. Should we stop making medicines to fight them? I don’t think so.
Equating natural occurrences to an inherent and universal moral order is an old concept. It makes no sense in today’s times because human beings have become a force of nature themselves. Although, the dichotomy between human and nature was always false, but its even more difficult to sustain the illusion in our age. We have the ability to change global climate, make new species with genetic engineering, reproduce with our new technologies and even start an ecosystem on a distant planet.
The dichotomy of nature/culture was essentially based on control. Things like climate, natural disasters and the wilderness were beyond our power. Now, even the most isolated forests and distant oceans are directly effected by human civilization and our collective actions.
In this scenario, to rely on the old ethical doctrine of ‘Natural Order’ can be disastrous. The community of climate change deniers illustrate this point brilliantly. They say that the global climate is simply shifting and transforming as it naturally has. And since this change is natural, therefore human beings should simply let it be and keep on pumping toxins into the world.
It is true that global warming is a natural process. But it doesn’t mean that we aren’t a causing it. Earlier volcanoes and meteors might have decided the destiny of global climate, now human beings do. And it definitely doesn’t mean that global warming is harmless.
This powerful position grants us a unique freedom in the order of nature. A freedom which is certainly not an autonomy, but a practical ability to transform the natural constraints which form us according to our intent.
We can no longer dump the ethical responsibilities on nature. This freedom demands that we think for ourselves, for responsibility is the inherent twin of liberty. It is time that instead of having yelling-competitions about what exactly is the order of nature, we focus on creating an order which actually creates better, more sustainable ecosystems.

On a side note — CONGRATULATIONS TO USA!

 
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