Problem

Fear of nature

Other Names:
Misapprehension of nature as the enemy
Dependence on fear of nature
Nature:
Failure to externalize the emotions is based on fear. The surging of emotion when faced with nature 'in the raw' can generate fear of the cause of such emotion and the desire to destroy it. Even naturalists and ecologists may express a respect for nature in theory which they do not hold to in practice, because of cultural models which dictate terror for the wolf, revulsion at snakes, nausea at sliminess and stickiness, and so on. The desire to tame or reduce the power of nature in response to such fears leads to artificial 'preservation' of nature in tourist-oriented parks and protected areas, where the multiple effects of the presence of humanity may be more destructive than leaving the area as it was previously. It may be considered as an 'apartheid' between man and nature, with nature in the inferior position, rather than an overall development in which agriculture and cultivation naturally coexist with rare species.
Background:
Confrontation and discussion with those responsible for massive destruction of natural environments have demonstrated a more profound reason for such behaviour than the arguments of necessity, profit and prestige usually quoted. There appears to be an underlying emotional attitude which is rationalized in such expressions as: 'these regions are only brushwood', or 'only swamp', or 'only desert'. Further questioning leads to statements of the type: 'I don't like swampy areas myself', or 'wild regions like that aren't suitable for humans - they have a traumatic effect on me'. This reaction is the reverse of the sentiments felt by those who are drawn to the harmony, the beauty and the danger inherent in the unspoilt environment and who feel it has a certain sanctity. Those who find the wildness of nature disquieting do so in response to a rejection of archetypal symbols in the psyche.
Claim:
Human attitudes towards nature are governed by an irreconcilable tension, between the thought of nature as an innocent refuge free from the corruption of human society and as the savage condition that civilisation escaped from.
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
23.08.2001 – 00:00 CEST