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The Relationship Between Nature and Culture

https://www.thoughtco.com/nature-culture-divide-2670633

thoughtco.com

The Relationship Between Nature and Culture
Here is how studies in the evolutionary development of humans suggests that culture had a role in the biological development of our species.

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Nature vs Culture

Nature vs Culture

Nature is often seen as the opposite of culture - nature cannot be the result of human interference, and cultural development is achieved against nature.

There is also another take on the relationship between nature and culture. Studies suggest that culture is part of the ecological niche.

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Education: An Effort Against Nature

Modern authors such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau saw education as an effort against the tendencies of human nature.

Humans start out with wild dispositions using violence to achieve their desires, be disorganized, and act egotistically. Education uses culture to interfere with our natural tendencies and accomplish the opposite.

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Adapting To The Environments We Live In

Studies in the history of human development show that culture in an anthropological sense is part of adapting to the environmental conditions we live in.

For example, hunting allowed hominoids to move from the forest into the savannah, changing their diet and living habits. The invention of weapons developed into a series of skill sets charaterizing our cultural profile, from butchering tools to ethical rules about the proper use of weapons.

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Culture as an Ecological Niche

Over the past decades, the view that came to be most plausible is that culture is part of the ecological niche within which humans live. Through the ages, we bring our culture along with us.

Our imparting of culture does not seem to be directly related to genetic information. It is also horizontal among individuals within the same generation. You can learn to make lasagna or speak another language even if you have not been exposed to it from the start.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Survival of The Fittest

The famous Charles Darwin theory, 'survival of the fittest' has turned into a cultural cliché. The theory proposes that living beings naturally fight and compete with each other to survive.

T...

Collaborative Interdependence

Hundreds of studies on plants and animal behavior in recent years reveal that living things, including humans, are in reality multispecies events of collaboration and interdependence.

This is seen in the way fungus helps nurture and connect trees, or the way algae and coral form a partnership to create colorful coral reefs.

Life is more complex and collaborative than previously thought.

The Climate Crisis

The recent findings which prove that competition is not natural, at least not more than collaboration, pave the way to think about our relationship with the planet, and the millions of species inhabiting it.

Environmentalists are tackling the climate crisis assume that people are by nature bound to harm ecology, and will consume and plunder the natural resources. This leaves them with a narrow set of solutions to control the crisis.

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When civilizations collapse

When civilizations collapse

Looking at the rise and fall of historical civilizations, the forces that precipitate or delay a collapse can tell us about our own.

We can define collapse as a rapid and enduring l...

We're not immune to collapse

Societies of the past and present are just complex systems comprising of people and technology.

Although we have better technologies, we are not immune to the threats that faced our ancestors. If anything, our technological abilities bring more challenges. Our globalized economic system may be more likely to cause a crisis to spread.

A roadmap of past collapses

Although there is no conclusive explanation of why civilizations collapse, there are factors that can contribute.

  • Climatic change can result in disaster, resulting in crop failure, starvation, and desertification. The Akkadians, the Mayan, the Roman Empire, and many others coincided with abrupt climatic changes.
  • Ecological collapse theory: When societies overdo the carrying capacity of their environment, e.g., excessive deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation, and the loss of biodiversity.
  • Inequality and oligarchy: As a population increases, the supply of labor outstrips demand, workers become cheap and society top-heavy. Political violence follows.
  • Complexity: Accumulated complexity and bureaucracy eventually leads to collapse. The returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns, causing collapse.
  • External shocks: War, natural disasters, famine, and plagues. The Aztec Empire was brought to its knees by Spanish invaders. Early agrarian states were passing due to deadly epidemics.
  • Randomness: Collapse is often random and independent of age.

Microbes

Research found the following difference in stomach microbes of different individuals:

  • Intestinal microbes of people living in villages, having a natural diet, are much more complex, and ...

Wrong Baseline Data

Due to the new kinds of microbes discovered in villagers, all the previous research on diet and microbes, which used the baseline data of the Western civilization microbe, thought to be the healthy and normal microbe, is now incorrect. 

Digesting Fibre

The Western world has stomach microbial communities that could digest junk food and might re-diversify and recover (to a limited extent) if we just ate more whole grains and veggies.