Human Intervention vs. Non-violence

(Written August 13 2019)

Voluntary human control of nature is a major element of civilization. I have always wondered ultimately how necessary it is and what is lost through it. I feel I must enter a fog in order to engage in it myself and inhibit the emotional response of sorrow.

Human control of nature typically implies some level of violence and destruction. At a sensitive level I do feel that I am destroying something when, for instance, I pull weeds from the garden or even walk over the grass in shoes. In these situations I feel disconnected from something subtle. Simultaneously, on the surface level I do often end up blatantly destroying something when I engage in human control of nature. For instance, how many times have I gone to work in my garden only to step on one of my plants or pull one of them out of the ground. At the same time, if I neglect to work in my garden it seems that very little grows. Perhaps the method of gardening I have chosen just needs time to prove itself (which I will not elaborate on here); still, the point is that I seem “screwed” whether I try to take control of things or let nature have its way.

The following are two examples.

Example one. I have a tomato plant in a pot which has gotten so heavy that it has fallen to the ground. The pot has a hook, attached to the pot by three prongs, which enables the pot to be hung from, say, a hook on a ceiling. I tried to lean the plant against the hook so it could stand upright. As I was doing this a clear thought came to me, “Be careful you do not break the plant.” I acknowledged the thought and kept trying. The thought came to me again. Then a green tomato fell off the plant. So, not only did I fail to get the plant off the ground but I also broke off a tomato which will now fail to ripen properly. I should have just left it alone.

Example two. Before sitting down to write this I saw an insect in the bathroom of my house. This particular insect is often seen in the house this time of year (late Summer) and its legs are so long that it seems unable to handle them. I grabbed the insect by one of its legs, so that I could carry it outside. Of course, I ended up with a severed leg in my hand and the insect was still just trying to fly into the window. I grabbed another leg and was successful this time as I released a now five-legged insect into the wild.

Do you see the pattern? I say I am just trying to “help” the various creatures of nature (and/or make things "easier" for myself) and I end up killing them. The reason I bother in the first place is if I don't it seems that they won't make it; and, perhaps more importantly, they won't turn out the way I want them to. This thought is significant because holding it leads to a slight bit of anxiousness which results in a fogged brain and non-smooth actions which end in destruction.

I could say more, like how the solution is to, yes, still take some charge of nature when you know it is warranted to do so and you must do so in a detached manner. But isn't that cliché.