Natural and unnatural things

by | Feb 7, 2022 | Biology, Science

Nowadays we are accustomed to hear and use the term ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ almost every day, so frequently that there is no longer any real meaning associated with the term. We use these labels as we like, thinking that they can be combined with various opinions that we may have built over time, because generally the concept of nature is a foreign thing, a name badly connected to the concept that represents, a little understood, little studied and therefore little known entity; this ignorance of the background brings as consequence an incorrect use of the terms cited at the beginning of paragraph.
What do you really mean with ‘against nature’? What is really natural?
Starting from the simplest basis, that of linguistics, we can say that ‘against nature’ is a phrase that identifies something that does not follow the natural laws, that goes beyond the normal scaffolding that has been provided. Things become problematic when you question the next point: what are these natural laws that need to be followed?
The laws that regulate the development of an ecosystem are many and complex, we have laws that regulate the relationships between the living elements of the ecosystem, the laws that describe the reproduction of each group, There are laws that describe how chemical elements move between levels, how energy flows before being free again, etc. There are many laws, even more relationships, so much so that we can safely say that to date we know only a rough sketch of the real complexity of the system.

NON NATURAL: PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION

Too much free time and too little clarity.

Doubts, moral rules, reassurances for what will exist after death, consolation prizes and ways to overcome loneliness: we have worked out all this because we had ‘too much free time’. It seems to be a contradiction in terms, but I will make it clear.
In the meantime we must make a division between spirituality and religion: spirituality is an internal motion that, even in the case of direct connection to religion, is characterized by a strong emphasis of a personal character, spirituality does not need religion and can also exist as a simple absence of attachment to materiality, spirituality simply provides the belief that in addition to the physical plane of matter there is something else; religion, on the other hand, is an intellectual and rational construction, born from the need to manipulate what surrounds us (the alternation of the seasons, death, the ending of a war, the development of a relationship, etc.) often without a direct commitment.
To speak concretely of philosophy is more difficult, seen that there is no unambiguous and certain definition; besides the etymology (“Love for wisdom” from the ancient Greek) we have few other points of connection between the various thinkers who have tried to give a definition. It is mainly defined as “The use of knowledge for the benefit of man” or as “The search for the knowledge of being as such”, taking one at a time the two definitions we can affirm the following:
1. Use of knowledge for the benefit of man: the use of knowledge which is beyond the main needs for survival arises from the fact that the standard of living has already been drastically increased since the early days of mankind, The abstraction of philosophy from earthly questions became all the more pronounced the more secure and protected life became. The possibility of elucubrare about the definition of what comes after death is made possible only by the fact that death is not a tangible danger of everyday, the possibility of seeking the meaning of life is given only by the fact that the same is not in danger;
2. Search for the knowledge of being as such: we have always assumed that the true being existed, that there was an indisputably true reality hidden by our senses; the problem is that it is not so, an indisputably true reality does not exist and the behavior of the same changes depending on the observer and changes whether observed or not. So how can we look for a real reality if this real reality does not exist?
What exactly does all this reasoning have to do with the phrase “against nature”?
It has to do simply because it is: the study of death as an unnatural and unjust event, a reward for one’s own behavior that will come only after the inevitable, the doubts about the real or pretend reality that must be… These are all issues that come from too much time to just ‘think,’ issues that have done nothing but drift away from a series of real issues that have developed over time.
This ability to think and this too much time to think, in particular death and what is bad in our lives, have led us to elaborate the concept of religion (a concept that cannot be absolutely disconnected from the historical context in which it developed), a set of beliefs, rituals and attitudes that should give us the power to control what’s around us, or at least justify that what’s happening is someone’s fault that I can’t control, so it’s not my fault. Again, again, the absence of more urgent issues to take care of makes it possible to elaborate, preferred to the simple statement about what surrounds us.

NOT NATURAL: MARRIAGE

Monogamous, but only in the breeding season or only after?

In nature there are various types of intraspecific relationship between individuals and of these are those aimed at reproduction.
Behavioral patterns vary greatly even within the same genus, let alone the variety of shades they can take if they are considered wider taxonomic orders. Of these relationships one in particular has always struck man: that of “Forever or at least until death”.
Monogamy is a complex behavior regulated by multiple genes, which is defined as “the link to a single partner lasting for at least one breeding season, characterized by greater defense of the territory and parental care given by both parents”: already in the principle of definition we notice that the ‘forever’ is already missing, is in fact replaced by’ until the puppies will not be able to fend for themselves’. The existence of monogamy is guaranteed by the activity of several genes (homologues in the various species in which it has evolved) that collaborate in the production of oxytocin and vasopressin.
The relative duration of monogamy is related to the life expectancy of the species we are considering: at a time when life expectancy increases, but does not increase the expectation of genome functionality, the production of ‘monogamy’ molecules could disappear before the end of the individual’s life.
Monogamy is therefore nothing more than the guarantee of education of the offspring by the parental figures, guaranteed by the production of particular substances: no oath before a deity, no type of contract, no type of celebration. The very definition of family, direct creation of marriage, is in turn varied and not always existing within the animal world, dictated by evolutionary history and defined by traits such as behavioral patterns, the type of offspring, life expectancy and the type of selection to which the species is subjected.
Source: Le Scienze

NON NATURAL: THE FIRST TIME

That mystical veil of cells so dear to all.

The mystification of the first time could easily fall within the tribal rituals of our species or the mystification of an event in the name of some deity (take one at random, with good probability there will be a series of first times described as sacred/sacrilegious, right/wrong, as pure/impure): the menarche, the rupture of the hymen, the first act of force, the first action ‘forbidden’ made with the group.
All this series of acts are embellished, polished, illuminated and presented as something fundamental, inevitable steps in growth, something that defines terribly who you are and who you are not, however a closer look makes clear something immediately: What we mix is nothing more than mere obligatory events in our lives.
The menarche is nothing other than the demonstration of the completed sexual development, a process that goes on since conception and that is finalized to the reproduction (the only true driving force of the life), the same can be said of the first nocturnal polluzione: One is no longer great, one is no longer mature, one is only able to reproduce oneself, the obligatory stage of living development; yet this event is lived as the announcement of great responsibilities, of great changes, is celebrated or hidden, depending on the culture, dressed in a dress that he has never had and that is useful simply to fill that famous ‘too much time’ that we found ourselves managing.
The mystification of a simple veil of cells, poorly vascularized and probably useful to avoid to penetration of foreign bodies in the apparatus has suddenly become the label of a DOP product, the certification of a quality that in nature does not exist, since its presence is often linked to the stages of the hormonal cycle. The search for this packaged quality has caused many imbalances between the two sexes, creating a channel of preference based on non-communicable qualities: something that goes completely beyond any sensible pattern drawn by nature.
Et voilà: Again against nature.

NON NATURAL: RACISM

Too much sun could seriously harm social status.

“Talking about human races is racist, you have to use exclusively the term ethnicity” -cit.
Let’s clarify the difference between the two terms:
1. Race: non-totaonomic set, used to identify a group of individuals sharing hereditary morphological characteristics, is used as a sub-group of ‘species’ and is generally only applicable to domestic varieties of animals and plants, as not genetically supported for human use. The term race also fails to highlight specific and essential characteristics for the definition of human groups;
2. Ethnicity: human grouping founded on the community or on the strong affinity of physical-somatic, cultural, linguistic, religious and historical-social characteristics;
The term race itself is not racist, it is its use to emphasize the natural dominance of one group over the other to be so.
In biological terms the best set of physical-somatic characteristics is defined by the environment, ergo only by selective pressures:
– The very dark skin, rich in melanin, is an excellent adaptation to prolonged exposure to light, a white and pale skin will be an excellent adaptation to poorly lit areas;
– The shape of the more or less almond-shaped eye will derive from the particular inclination of the light;
– The shape of the nose is linked to the values of the respirable air present in the developing territory;
– The widespread lactose intolerance in the Far East stems from a history of a diet poor in milk;
Depending on the country you go to, you find a different kind of adaptability.
Being, now, the human being defined by a complex set of superstructures not reducible to the simple morphological characteristics, the term race appears simply too poor to fully describe a group of individuals.
Now, let’s talk about the definition of species: “a group of potentially or practically interfecond individuals occupying a precise ecological niche and a proper distribution range, reproductive isolated from other species”, explaining this sentence in a simpler way we can say that a species is “a group of individuals that can reproduce with each other generating fertile offspring, the group must be able to reproduce only within itself and must have a natural role and a well-defined area of distribution.”, in the human case we are forced to consider only the first part of the definition, given our ability to change the environment around us and since we have eliminated any kind of healthy ecological interaction we had with our neighbors.
But at this point, why would racism be unnatural? Because it was born from the human construction of society that forced a series of unwanted and too close relationships between individuals and a forced encroachment of territory due to unnatural dynamics, combined with various superstructures imposed at birth and now part of the construction of the individual; the latter part is the cause of the loss of coherence by the term race, the origin of its insufficiency.
Here it is, the unnaturality given by the construction of a border after its demolition.

NON NATURAL: DIETARY CHOICES

Depending on the country you go to, you find a different diet

The diet is defined more generally as a nutrition, you can then go into detail and also analyze the diet of the individual or a small group of individuals.
In the human species, the traditional diets of many ethnicities are decidedly varied, passing from the almost complete carnivory of the Inuit, to the almost totally vegetarian diet of some tribes of the tropical forest.
Generally man has the ability to digest most of the sources of food present in nature, however overpopulation and an ethics not reflecting the nature in which we live have led to the belief that some diets are wrong and others right, It also justifies the fomenting of unjustified hatred between groups of different positions.
The diet is defined and also defines our digestive tract: a different type of nutrition accompanies and is accompanied by particular characteristics about the length of the digestive tract, the width, the type of cells and the intensity of the activity of the individual tracts.
The feeling of being free to choose between an omnivorous diet, vegan, fruitarian, etc., comes simply from the fact that we are children of a rich and safe society, where these kinds of choices are feasible. None of the choices mentioned really serve to change the impact that an individual has on the world, trivially because the problem is not the choice of the individual, but the total number of individuals: attention, not the total number of individuals who make that choice, but the total number of individuals who feed (well above the capacity of the system). The choice satisfies an ethical vacuum that cannot find true resolution in the simple choice of what is introduced into the mouth.
Another great debate opens about foods of chemical origin (starting from the simple vanillin, arriving at synthetic meats), the debate sees its origins in a small drop of collective ignorance: everything is chemical, because everything is made up of atoms; The vanillin produced in laboratory is indistinguishable from that produced by the plant, simply because they are the same molecule, increasing the degree of complexity changes nothing. Often diversity is only in the convictions we have, not so much in the reality of the facts. This last part, however, differs slightly from the main topic.
In nature we are all prey and predators of someone, the ethical choices do not find a place in the nature of survival.

NATURAL: DEATH

Is this the only thing that is absolutely certain?

Nothing is more natural than the epilogue of something.
Everything knows an epilogue, everything ends, everything dies and everything, in a certain sense, is reborn.
Death is an integral part of life, an integral part of nature. Death is useful, death is indispensable, necessary.
Death allows evolution, generational changes, nutrient recycling, natural selection, the life of beings who depend on it.
Nothing is as useful to us as death to go on.
We actually experience death every day: our replaced cells, pathogens that attack our bodies, little animals that we don’t even notice we’re trampling on.
Denying death means denying life and we do not even realize it, denying death we allow stagnation instead of evolution, we allow the saturation of our system and its collapse from within. Too many exponentially growing individuals in a finite-capacity world will only lead to collapse.

NATURAL: PAIN

If it doesn’t kill you, it strengthens you: years of evolution in a proverb

Natural opposite of pleasure, is the normal balance that perception uses to define pleasant things.
Perceptions are not absolute, but relative to the various experiences lived during life, very painful experiences will make opposites particularly pleasant, while a flattening of negative experiences will lead to a flattening of positive perceptions.
The attempt of the human being to completely eradicate pain from his life will only lead to the disappearance of pleasure and the search for parapainful experiences to justify the perception of something vaguely pleasant, or to the substitution of the pleasant feeling with the painful one, according to a perceptive mechanism called marriage-funeral equivalence (any situation is appreciated provided that it offers a very different perception other than apathy). On the other hand, the opposite could happen: the search for something terribly pleasant to be able to experience a tenth of the actual intensity.

NATURAL: HOMOSEXUALITY

Gay means happy too, is it a conspiracy?

Widely practiced in nature, almost as natural as intersex and life-long sex changes, homosexuality is one of the most debated topics at present in terms of naturalness and possible acceptance.
As for naturalness the answer is: in many species, belonging to different genera and orders, there are widespread homosexual behaviors; this topic, however, is terribly reductive, since it concerns a sphere of human characterization not entirely dependent on biophysiology. The debate is also the furthest from the natural nature of the issue, since it is mainly used in political scenarios. Biology teaches us that when we observe a phenomenon, we cannot declare it false, because we have observed it, the only thing we can do is look for an explanation for this phenomenon. As a matter of fact, one cannot agree or disagree, simply because the existence of an individual is not a matter of opinion.

NATURAL: DIVERSITY

What to see on Netflix: Strange is the new Black

Winning keystone of every species, preferred solution for survival, guarantee of the health of a biome… destroyed as if it were the worst disease.
Nature does not have an economic outlook and the economy does not have a natural outlook. In the modern consumerist economy, monoculture dominates, diversification is harmful and the species must be kept as immobile and framed as possible.
Many natural evidences show that diversity is the key to survival, both of the individual (heterozygous is widely favored in almost all selection situations) and of the species (the stabilizing selection, which ensures the emergence of a single character, is successful only in the short term, while the disruptive has long-term beneficial effects). Diversity is the element that guarantees adaptability.
To destroy it is to slowly fall into a disastrous failure.

NATURAL: NATURE

It seems strange, but many do not know that.

Much of nature scares or disgusts us:
1. Arthropods (almost 75% of the animal kingdom), divided into: Insects, Arachnids, Crustaceans (most of which are terribly insect-like), Worms and the like (5% belonging to various subgroups);
2. Other invertebrates rarely considered animals (12%);
3. Touching the ground is disgusting (it is dirty);
4. Etc…
Most of the world around us is considered ugly, filthy or dirty.
Many natural things are distorted and seen in a completely foreign perspective to what was to be the original interpretation (menstruation, wounds, interactions between animals, the consideration of plants as living beings, aggression).