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What matters, if anything?  Whatever value is inherent to whatever holds it, only has value because there is something there to contain it.  Carl Sagan once said: “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”  And such is Nature, as it is inorganic and neutral when it comes to any kind of values scale.  Rather, it is simply the arena where all life plays out. Humans just use the term “nature” to collectively describe the place where things exist and carry on doing whatever it is they do. The only things that matter, is only made such by the organisms capable of experiencing things that have consequences. They enliven threads of the web in which they crawl and are connected by. Life has value because survival depends on appreciation of self-awareness (even if unconsciously) and the desire/will to help promote perpetuation of such.

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Indeed, consequences matter, and thus perspective has relative value, as can be seen in the analysis of predator prey relationships. To a snake it only matters that it catch the sculpin. To a sculpin, it only matters that it can out swim the snake.  Fortunately  for a snake, its  mistake is far less costly than that of a sculpin. The snake  can learn from a mistake and continue on, but the sculpin  is gone forever when it trips up, unable to adjust to its mistake and thus no longer matters.


There is no getting around the fact that nature is harsh. It is uncaring, plays no favorites, takes no prisoners, always been, always will be, and ever to have the last word as the ultimate fate master.  “Whatever we do the web, we do to our selves,” said Chief Seattle,  is only so true. As is the Zen saying that a frog does not drink up all the water from the pond it which is lives. Both are  quite appropriate in characterizing that man or beast has a cause and effect relationship to nature. Furthermore, we are mere children of nature, ever ready to be reprimanded for our poor decisions whenever they happen.  To get the whip or the chocolate all comes from what we choose to do, or not do.

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And that is the hard part, for often the majority of brothers and sisters must also pay for the atrocious behavior committed by the minority of their siblings poor behavior.  Selfishness and avarice is usually at the heart of poor behavior. Ravaging the planet to extract natural resources beyond sustainable levels is often the result of such callous activities.  Though nature does not care, it does respond with the whip.  Severity of punishment is swirled out in proportion  to the corruption.


There will always be the lions and the gazelles when it comes to comparing how humans live upon their landscapes. Community is relegated by who eats who, always fluctuating up and down as one side of the balancing boards plays back and forth. However, humans have the ability to break the fulcrum, so nature may take the game away completely when that happens. When mankind denies nature’s clues, (like in climategate) often revealed through the science that measures such things  impacting that fulcrum, it is done with great peril.  Ignoring the lion won’t eliminate the threat of being eaten. In fact, it increases the chances of downfall by our own hands.

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Gary Lane
Wapiti River Guides