Tuesday, April 7, 2009


In an age ruled by instrumentalism, nature ceases to have any value in itself. It is no longer seen as the handiwork of God to be admired more than used, nor is it an organic being we are bound to woo and respect. A tree, a mountain, a river, and its edges are meaningless except where they can be turned to some human use by a farmer, a scientist, or a manufacturer. Nature is "degraded to mere material, mere stuff to be dominated, without any other purpose than that of this very domination." Because it is uncontrolled by any aims set by reason, technological domination is an unlimited ambition. "Man's boundless imperialism is never satisfied." Here at bottom is the ideological force driving the capitalist state on and on, leading eventually to a "totalitarian attack of the human race on anything that it excludes from itself," whether it be landscapes, ecosystems, or people (Indians, Jews, and women have all at times been among the excluded) who are put outside the pale of humanity and assumed to be a part of nature, not of ourselves. -Donald Worster-