The Influence of Nature on Human Life

By: Indunil Madhusankha

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Nature is the life blood of all living beings on earth. All flora and fauna including us, the human beings are part and parcel of nature. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, nature refers to the set of all animate and inanimate things which are natural and subject to the normal working of the ‘laws of nature’. It is striking that from time immemorial there have been numerous debates and controversies among scientists and philosophers over a proper definition of ‘nature’. Given the immeasurable influence that nature has on the human society, some people venerate her as a goddess and that is the reason behind us calling her ‘mother nature’.

It is quite astonishing that the modern civilization has emerged brilliantly triumphant in miscellaneous disciplines of human activity. The man in today’s world has garnered the once unthinkable capability of controlling the untamed and unmitigated powers of nature. Unlike in the past where the life was difficult, we have now been able to witness burgeoning and unprecedented technological innovations in the world today, and it only takes us to press a button to talk to a person in the other corner of the world. So, the global village is in a rapid voyage of scientific advancements thus pushing back the frontiers of knowledge.

Since the beginning of human civilizations, nature has provided the man with a fountain of opportunities for learning. The corpus of all the arts and sciences in the world has its roots in nature. The scientists involved in medical, physical and engineering fields have been involved in a constant exploration of natural resources with the intention of discovering new medicines, deriving novel concepts and building innovative instruments. For instance, Biomimitecs is a recent concept which focuses on the application and adaptation of principles from natural systems for developing new tools and materials. The idea is that scientists use nature as a catalogue of effective results which act as an inspiration for synthetic models.

The doctrine of the pristine teachings of the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism has no deficiency of powerful and convincing analogies to human life drawn from nature. The Blessed One succinctly preaches the spiritual peace and felicity that one can derive by being surrounded by the nature’s gifts such as the canals, trees, animals, sands and the rocky crests. Moreover, Buddhist monks were taught to pay high respect to all other living beings and they were prohibited from destroying animal or plant life in any way. This is evident of the great concern that the Buddha showered on nature.

I would be remiss here if I forget the much lionized speech delivered by the Suquamish Chief Seattle (1780-1866) where he substantiates in a marvelously convincing way the indispensable and inseparable relationship that the man has been sharing with his nature from the days of yore. He establishes that “we are part of the earth and it is part of us” and that “the rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath”. In fact, nature seems to have been a sacred university for our ancestors. These examples bear ample testimony to the immense influence that nature has on the life of great philosophers.

It is perhaps the poets out of all the artists who draw the highest inspiration from nature. They spend a plenty of time observing the natural surroundings, may be wandering ‘as a cloud’, and then go on penning poesy in celebration of the luscious beauty of the environment. Delightfully entrapped by the serenity of nature, the world-renowned English poet, William Wordsworth paints a poetic portrayal of his love for the recluse, Lucy who lives among the untrodden ways. His lavish explanation of Lucy’s tranquil environs untouched by the human artificialities takes us to a soothing world of natural elements brimming with peace and calmness. Also, I can’t help remembering the enthralling poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by the popular American English poet, Robert Frost where he enjoys the gorgeousness of an evening during the winter season.

It is quite interesting that being a poet, I myself derive a great encouragement from nature for my works, for instance, to quote from my poem, “I am Scared of the Night”,

“Hovering round a towering tree
the giant bats
striking their huge wings
with the ghostly shadows
that look like gothic spectres”.

Apart from poets, almost all other artists like painters, sculptors, photographers and filmmakers are also inexorably influenced by the inspiration and the teachings that nature has to offer us.

Considering the facts detailed above, it is significant to note that there are some vital implications of this discussion for the future. Nature opens the door to a colossal treasure house of knowledge. There are enormous lessons that we can learn from wild life and all the other natural phenomena. Also, there is a lot more to be observed and experimented with in nature. For instance, it is said that most of the ocean life still remains undiscovered, and there are thousands of unsolved problems in natural sciences like biology, chemistry, physics, geoscience, etc. So, the scientists need to probe more into a deeper study of nature so that they will be able to improve the existing comforts of life and develop medicines for the presently incurable diseases.

Moreover, the avarice of some people whose sole expectation is to feather their own nests has caused a vast destruction of the natural resources. The octopus of deforestation has unscrupulously spread its tentacles all over the earth thus leading to the devastation of soaring trees, flowering bushes and crawling creepers. And, the ozone layer is depleting at an alarming rate. The retribution is the extinction of precious natural life and an inescapable outbreak of natural disasters and deadly illnesses. It is hence clear that now we have arrived at a momentary juncture where prompt measures need to be taken so as to ensure the preservation of nature. Otherwise, it would be inevitable that our posterity will suffer from a ‘Third World War’ over water or will eventually see a society indulging in cannibalism. Therefore, as concerned citizens, it is our prime duty to use natural resources for our betterment while being committed to look after her with the same sincerity that we care for our own mother.

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