How We Think of Nature

by Philip Fallacaro


Father with his son reading together in the summer park

The beauty of nature can inspire human expression in many ways. Literary or visual descriptions of artistic merit are the most obvious avenues of revelation.  Abstract ideas that spring from sensual observation of Nature may also have appeal and significance to Nature enthusiasts.  Any view that may broaden our perspective and make us wonder is worth a look.

Through our mind and imagination, inspired by the stimulation of input from our human senses, we may gain insights to a greater understanding and appreciation of Nature. Being aware of the many facets of Nature, we can choose to engage it in various modes of our interest and sensitivity:  sensually, aesthetically, spiritually, philosophically and more. Nonetheless, it is obviously easier and more enjoyable to directly observe and appreciate the prolific multitude of creative designs that Nature has brought into being. Whether viewing the living, non-living, or holistic unfolding of natural events, nature always amuses and captures our attention, making us pause to wonder.

Over many years of observing, reading and contemplating Nature, I have become more disposed to conceptualizing and perceiving Nature in its broadest dimensions.  I imagine, as others have, that the full extent of the universe is actually the whole, integral Being of Nature.  If one considers a truth to that view, all events and creations that have come into existence, from past into future, must originate from primal Nature. Whatever events have been born out of the energies and power of Nature — perhaps within the expanses of eternity — must share a “nature” in common to their original, “natural” source. This comprehensive, inclusive view of Nature includes humans and all of their products and activities.

Since all created events inexorably exist as parts within the evolving whole of Nature, the “primary substance,” or “mode” of its being must inherently be present and expressed in some way within all of its creations. Science uses instruments in search for the tangible, “physical basis” to explain the foundations of Nature. Artists, writers and interested observers rely more on their personal instincts and selected mediums to uncover and convey the diverse realities that Nature imparts to them.

In keeping with the “holistic” idea of Nature, how can one reconcile the enigma of human creation?  If we consider that humankind evolved out of Nature, and is a growing,  integral part of nature, then all human actions — products of both achievement and destruction — are natural outcomes of Nature. We might envision ourselves as creatures that mysteriously evolved into being from “natural” necessity, arising from the infinite potentialities inherent in Nature.  On the other hand, are we more?  Can we be a very special expression of an “intelligent” Nature? In certain respects, we are a living epitome of Nature. We may be more than just a “part of Nature,” but a real, transcendent expression and manifestation of Itself.  Through our being, Nature lives and becomes aware of Itself.  Whether we look outward or inward, we are looking at Nature. We are It!