Is humanity still a part of nature? Contrary to thoughts of some, the human animal is still organic and thus belongs among the other organic creatures. Yes, humanity is a part of nature, but more importantly; exactly what part of nature are they?
To best analyze humanity’s juxtaposition with nature it is crucial to start at the most logical of points: The Food Chain. The popular myth is that humanity has risen to the very top of the food chain and has earned its right to assert dominance on all species below it, thus leading to the misconception that they are no longer part of nature. The fact is that humanity as a whole is merely just a few levels above the herd animals they farm. In that light, there are in fact many different species that are the true tops of the food chain.
As this fact is certain to have struck a nerve among a few, let’s examine this in details that can be understood and felt by all, best summarized by one word: Fear. It is fear that places a species on its respective level. What kind of fear? The fear of being hurt, killed, or even eaten by something stronger is a certain aspect that is shared among prey animals. Truthfully, the human being is a very fragile creature, losing much of its confidence and ability when stripped and left in its naked state of being. Particularly at that level of being, it is even lesser than the herd animals in physical ability.
So then, what are the top predators? Well, anything people fear fits into this category. Most of the species of canid (dog species), felid (cat species), bear, and shark are very dangerous and instill fear in even armed humans. And unlike humans each has a natural sense of apprehension to danger – which is different to fear – that can keep them safe by being aware of a possible threat to their safety. Humans are like most curious prey animals without their fear and will wander right into a deadly situation. Their only saving attribute is their numbers and technology.
Numbers are another factor that distinguishes them from predatory animals. Prey animals must reproduce at a constant rate to repopulate an area with young highly developed at birth. The higher their numbers, the more likely they will survive. Predator animals will live in groups typically dominated by a social structure and breed only a few times a year to replenish their number for simple survival, or live solitary lives only to reproduce on seldom occasions. Their young like human young are frail at birth, thus causing confusion that it is because of the disadvantage of predators. However, environment is also a factor and environments in trees are safer than the flatland ones.
Apart from numbers, humanity has another thing that most predators do not: Their ingenuity. Because evolution did not grant them claws, fangs, speed, or strength, it gave instead the ability to use tools. Using tools is common among several animals and birds in nature and has given this once prey animal an added edge. The ability to advance their tools from simple ones to the complex did not remove them from nature, just helped to add to their ignorance and determination to be apart from it.
Because of tools, eventual technology, and numbers to support its success, the human being has fought back against its environments, dominated other species, and eradicated their fears. Spread now across the globe they’ve come to control, they ponder whether they are truly separate from nature and exist outside of it. They also fear that their technology will ruin their once and still beautiful planet.
Yet worry they are separate from nature they should not. Maybe having forgotten about their place they have caused some harm, but they still have ways to make up for it. For there are answers still left in nature, and as they overcome their desire to exist apart, they may very well find that the answers they seek are still very much part of the nature they have to rediscover.