Talking to My Daughter About Nature
My dearest daughter,
Yanis Varoufakis has written a book: “Talking to My Daughter About Economics”; might I not write a parody to you talking, not about the same notoriety, but about the beautiful, the picturesque, the scenic, the charming, the colorful nature? If Varoufakis bemuses his daughter with this opaque and jargon-infested subject, oughtn’t I to talk to you about that sublime beauty?
Yet, if I am allowed the apostrophe, I may have to confess that this fathering-author is a glaring exception to the sweeping generalization I made elsewhere about the contemporary authorship. He is an exception, not so much for being necessarily entirely immune of the mentioned deficiencies, as for speaking to, and for, the people, the masses, the multitude, the riff-raff. You name them! After all, wasn’t he the adult in the room talking to the daughter? A scholar of the many? A voice of the voiceless?
To his credit, in a language fairly fathomable to all, the book endeavors to trace the origin, the whereabouts of today’s capitalism. Indeed, one striking point about the “talk”, worth my mentioning, is his incessant insistence on the impossibility to a-politicize economics: economics is political and politics is economic. The one cannot strive without favorable policies stemmed from the other; nor could the latter survive if the former slumps continuously. I leave the burden to Varoufakis to clarify! I only aimed to show you, my darling, how inconceivable it is that a father should be as ruthless as to expect a child to understand these perpetual re-tournments.
My dear, you would forgive my digression and the belated reply to your entrancing letter.
Two weeks have now passed since you dispatched your correspondence full of inquisitiveness on my fondness for nature. I read, with effusions, your engrossing arguments to dissuade me from my endeavors. However, although I envyingly lack your unparalleled-stylish eloquence to extinguish your thirst for quest, my dearest, the following lines present a few lessons we should learn from nature (hence, my predilection for it). Since I had to pen them in haste, and since every aspect of nature teaches us something of considerable importance, the herein-enumerated lessons are neither comprehensive nor exhaustive.
Nature, to start with, in its vastness, contains all things—dormant-seas, boiling volcanoes, stars on the sky, aunts and bees on earth, etc. and, perhaps, the origin of all things, their fates and their finalités. We (human beings) are part of nature and, therefore, cannot separate ourselves from it; nor can we look at it in isolation (I). Wasn’t Albert Einstein right in advising humanity to look deep into nature to better understand everything (ourselves included)?
Nature, despite its kaleidoscopic character (or because of it), constantly bestows on us love, warmth, compassion, and tender caresses through trees, alternating seasons, rain, wind… all of which we take for granted. It equally enables us to live through its blessings: water, crops, and natural resources, for our wellbeing. These, we absorb with little care. Shouldn’t we learn to adopt these blessings to improve ourselves? Shouldn’t they help us achieve long-lasting global peace and stability? For instance, if we could learn that the plentiness of nature’s resources is to meet the desiderata of each and every person today and generations to come (not for a few to amass while an untold number of children die of starvation) there would be no issues like inequality, deprivation, grievances, class and generational conflicts (II).
Likewise, the nexus of human-nature relationship has always been a myriad of action-reaction whereby we’ve been asymmetrically benefiting from nature. Yet, so minimal have our efforts been to learn, and so little our knowledge about it. The consequences are our failures to sustainably utilize nature’s products and prevent humanity from the-faced-challenges of climate change, global warming, ozone depletion, etc. which gradually haunt our very existence. We should thus acknowledge that natural catastrophes like floods, droughts, tsunamis… are, more often than not, nature’s reactions to our deeds (III).
In its silent presence, nature teaches us to love and care for the powerless for social harmony and peaceful coexistence (IV). Yet, owing to our intérêt-propre, discontentment and bred-greed, the stronger crushes the weaker to accumulate nature’s resources. The ultimate results are fierce competitions, envies, and hatreds. Hence, we should explore the natural order of things wherein, without human disruptive interventions, harmony and peaceful coexistence always abound.
Another fundamental nature’s lesson is that nothing within nature (except for humans?) lives for itself: rivers don’t drink their flowing-waters; trees don’t devour their fruits; the blissful sunny-days and the cool rainy-days are for the good of neither the sun nor the rain; and roses’ odors expand not for flowers-sake. Hence, we should learn to live for others in accordance with nature’s rules (V).
Finally, nature’s alternating seasons teaches us to accept change, progress, and constantly seek improvement (VI). No wonder most (all great?) scientists, philosophers, poets, and artists have, in one way or another, found their inspirations for success in nature. Hadn’t, as a case in point, Rousseau written his masterpieces while drawing from nature? For, beyond any shadow of doubts, nature, like a woman (regardless of her beauty?), seduces with its sights, its scents, and its touches…
Since my time has lapsed, I’d to conclude that, insomuch as it inspires, nature has limitless lessons to teach us, which are of considerable importance if we’re to reverse this troubled world into a peaceful, equitable, prosperous and sustainable one. Perhaps, the world wouldn’t have been so-strained had we learnt from nature’s plentiful teachings, adopted its practices, and acknowledged its bounty.
Perhaps, it is time for human beings to reconnect their common-creed—humanity—with nature since, to revamp Janine Benyus’ idiom, “[nature] creates conditions conductive to life”.
Your loving father.