The Effects of Loving Nature
• Nature love is a pleasurable and useful instinct for our survival, initially guiding us lest we forget the ABC's of life. We love plant, water, sunlight, moving, resting, etc. for boosting our mood and "staying alive." We need the oxygen plant produces for our breathing, water that constitutes most of our bodies, sun that balances our solar system we are genetically programmed as part of, moving to discover the world, resting to recharge our energy, etc. Even technology must complete nature, not challenge it, for the former is only few millennia old, while the latter is the cumulative selections of millions of years.
As a pleasure, many people prefer nature's company to people's company, finding nature's pleasures less complex, awkward, intrusive, restrictive, and "emotionally costly": lifeless heartless nature is usually safer to love than living feeling humans. Similarly, many favor "working" on improving nature (discovering, inventing, designing, etc.) for themselves and others, over other social activities. Favoring objects over humans for company doesn't mean favoring lifelessness (death) or selfishness. It's the "paradox of life" to be born out of death; and the "paradox of self" to EXPAND through others and improve others' life more while keeping a distance from others (as do solitary scientists in their labs, writers at their desks, etc.).
When robots' intelligence surpasses humans', doing most human jobs, as some scientists expect in a few decades, other people will be there mostly to enjoy life and direct robots to serve such enjoyment, that robots can't feel. "Loving" other people's company then will be pointless, with artificial intelligence providing better "security & pleasure," the fundamental goals of living (self-preservation & self-gratification), than that provided by humans.
Some humans must always be there to "feel" life and direct robots, but they needn't love or live with one anther as we do now. They will merely be "equal" backup copies for you, as they have always been and will always be—we are all a backup for life itself, protecting it against extinction, since we will never overcome death (however long we will live), because we will never overcome CHANCE, and remove it from the structure of the universe. Being with one's "likes" mirroring oneself is not a reason to love them (like choosing an incompatible "unhelpful & unattractive" partner just because you are similar).
Self-love is the only eternally legitimate love, loving one's self and whatever artificial/natural/living beings serving it while turning in its orbit. If the whole universe and all life forms serve you (like a GOD), you will love them only because they reflect and expand your self love, not because they are worth loving for themselves. "Reproducing" identical copies of oneself for no reason is absurd.
Opposites attract: lifeless nature completes living humans, and vice versa. We forget we are very tiny parts of a large whole called Nature, to which we belong and owe our existence. It's Nature that we will never fully fathom or understand, deserving our future love more than humans. (Have you seen Hubble's images of the universe? We are almost nothing by comparison.)
• We are naturally gravitated toward beauty and repulsed by ugliness, driven by instinct, audiovisual or otherwise. Other animals share our same reaction to beauty, because we share the same primitive brain operating senses and instincts. Yet, we are evolved enough to go beyond that initial attraction/repulsion and start thinking. We can totally ignore beauty and see through its surface, when driven by reason or a more powerful instinct.
Beauty is useful and ugliness is harmful sometimes. Chaos, noise, distraction, etc. are various types of harmful asymmetry. When ugly objects are harmful, our limbic brain urges us to avoid them:
Since nature love is instinctive, following instinct only can turn love into obsession. When in nature, the rush of endorphins makes us relatively doped, seeing things better than they are, and wanting to reflect our excitement on our surroundings, sacrificing truth and safety while under Nature's spell—we chat, sing, exaggerate, lie, bestow titles here and there on everyone and everything, and even "talk to" objects we literally fall in love and grow obsessed with.
We are objectophile by nature, spending fortunes on expensive houses, trips, etc. to satisfy our addictive impulses for nature. We prefer luxurious houses, overlooking rivers, sea or mountains, surrounded by trees and flowers of all scents and colors, even at the expense of safety that should be prioritized and more "valued." We love to live and die in the bosom of nature. And we travel for diversion, to nature "elsewhere," yearly spending trillions worldwide on tourism alone.
After all, "Mother" Nature is only metaphor. She is inanimate; it cannot give or return love. It gave us life, emotions and consciousness she doesn't have. Its unconscious intelligence gave us a temporarily conscious one. We are the best thing that ever happened to nature, despite our abusing her sometimes. We are the most evolved life forms, la crème de la crème of Earth, and our precious gray matter is what matters most, entitling us the Crown of Creation, that yet NEEDS nature, a creation to crown.
Our love for nature is partly fear and obligation too, to avoid nature anger. We are indebted to her; we must return her favor, voluntarily while we are alive, or involuntarily when we die and become part of nature: mere lifeless natural objects.
How much love does Mother Nature deserve, then? — Just enough to make us postpone or accept her decree: death. It needn't be idolized or anthropomorphized, as done by some primitives. Nature deserves more attention than love, that she can't feel anyway. She is a reflection of our emotions, a sounding-board to our thoughts, a reaction to our actions that should be rational enough for us to live in harmony with nature.
Our love for other people is also part of nature love, for we are all but living "things" (look up word categories). Both types of love are only a reflection of the greatest, safest, healthiest and truest love: self-love.
The pleasures of nature are not as cheap as some naturalists claim, nor its benefits some environmentalists claim. Physical pleasures are the prime cause of GREED in humans' hearts, leading to materialism, decadence, and most crimes and wars. Such genetic insatiability is incurable and unstoppable so far. Who wouldn't like
Most natural pleasures aren't safe to blindly follow, indulge in, or even try and "taste" without caution. The "bosom of nature" is not what one expects a mother has for her children—let alone Nature anger with us, even when we did nothing wrong. The mere familiarity with natural pleasures can get traumatic when taken away from us suddenly.
Some can't live without traveling, spending much of their income on trips alone, to make regularly or occasionally. Yet, there are people who enjoyed their life without ever traveling, some by choice, some by disability or circumstance. Immanuel Kant never traveled more than 10 miles from Konigsberg, his native city. Al-Maarri, the medieval Arab philosopher, was blind and isolated, calling himself "The Double Prisoner." And so with Asimov's claustrophilia, Montagne's retirement from society, etc. Whether forced or chosen, bored with or accepted, it helped them be more creative and useful to humanity.
Tourism is an unstable field because it's based on instinct. No wonder some in the tourism industry go to extremes, doing whatever handy, expedient, ethical or not, to attract tourists. They know they must pander to customers, sometimes acting like pimps, pathological liars, or outright beggars, all because of their fear, if not certainty, that sooner or later their stock will expire, that they must squeeze every penny out of their victim.
And the victim likes it, thus equally deserving the blame. The hard-paying tourists know they MUST ENJOY what they had paid for, planned and naively fantasized about, else they grow disillusioned and their vacation dampened. A wise tourist should be prepared for their own natural mood changes during vacation, that are common with all things instinctive.
Tourism can be hard hit if we ignore/forget looking at gardens, beaches, castles, museums, etc. It's a volatile industry affected as well by political stability, tourist's finances, news, media, fads, rumors, obsessions, mood, attitude, beliefs, etc. along with our primitive animal senses. A person/country should have more stable alternatives, for one to enjoy and truly benefit humanity.
We will keep traveling, however, for other purposes (work, study, cooperation, program/product exchange, etc.) if telecommunication is not enough, or not advanced enough, whose technology facilitated life and saved us money and energy.
The billions spent on tourism could be spent on research to improve science/education/communication, find alternative energy/food/water sources, cure diseases, design safer roads/vehicles, prevent/limit accidents/natural catastrophes claiming millions of lives yet we still can't handle: floods/earthquakes/wildfires/etc. We can spend it on ending inequality, corruption, crime, wars ... and the million forms of human misery. All such work involves us all, not just scientists. Everyone should take part, whatever their abilities, to help scientists in labs, collect data, do physical/social/intellectual work, etc.
Like nature tourism, many other types of tourism can also be done without, e.g. cultural tourism: we do not learn about other places by gawking at some lifeless sculptures; watching some local dances of people in different clothes, mumbling a different language, etc. Rather, we learn mostly from books, or, more seriously, from courses to take.
Why turn oneself into a nature hippy/addict, if one can get their endorphin rush from other safer sources of pleasure, that life has many of? Why insist to follow Mother Nature to the end, one's end? Happiness can be a pill, a friend's hug, a piece of music, a good laugh, a book you read, etc. Yet many rush to nature, for help or diversion, with no knowledge about nature. Take animals for example, that are part of nature: some buy pets they know nothing about how to raise or treat, their emotions, behavior, anatomy, etc. responding to an urge or following the herd, without arguing or reading first (who cares about reading!). They camp in unknown environments, or visit open zoos without "enough" protection, where zoo keepers always tell you to take your own risk (as long as you pay the ticket—no one really cares about your life there). There are many nature victims, in open zoos and similar areas. Interacting with nature requires prior practicing to know how to act/react then. They should teach it at school to residents and visitors of those areas. But even government wouldn't save you (some nature victims in the US called 911, for 20 or 30 times, in vain!)
Our interest in nature is imprinted in our genes for a survival role that is deceptive, irrelevant, and obsolete sometimes.
We can control and turn nature deception to our advantage. We can use our higher brain to deceive the primitive brain nature deceives us through. We can do so to achieve more happiness and improvement of our life. (Nature is meaningless without life, and life is meaningless without happiness.) Examples of tricking nature:
Pleasure is not the only emotion we manipulate Nature to give us:
Beauty is relative. Harmony and symmetry aren't enough to consider something beautiful. Most ugly things we consider offensive to the eye, are labeled so because of a fixed set of standards that differ from one person, society, environment and era to another. Yet such physical characters cannot be standardized, because beauty is subjective, in the eye of the beholder, that is, the mind of the beholder: one's memories, experiences, education, upbringing, intelligence and the different mental skills making someone see things " their" way.
Sometimes we happily see ugly things as beautiful, sadly see beautiful things as ugly, or lack interest in either. They become so "by association" with other objects and the context they are in. Ugly objects can be beautiful "by comparison" when grouped with EVEN uglier things.
Harmony, the mere symmetry of features, is not enough for the eyes to rest on; it must conform as well with other preconceptions we use as beacons, principles and ideals, of beauty that we learned from other people and experiences alone, whether they have a worthwhile value or not, at the moment of our encounter with beauty.
• Beauty is volatile. A human/object/fad/idea can shift from one end of the "beautiful-ugly spectrum" to the other, easily and quickly. If you lose focus for a second, you may lose some physical features (if not life), immediately belonging to the ugly/disfigured/disabled category. We all become so, gradually, by aging, and eventually by death: we're all walking, talking corpses/skeletons to be. You may tear/tint a million-dollar painting or break a millennia-old sculpture. An unimportant person/idea/behavior/fad can become a worldwide sensation if accidentally brought to excessive spotlight. A rumor/sensation can have an endless domino effect on us, when going by force of habit or herd instinct, with no one stopping to ask who flicked the first domino piece.
Beauty needs novelty, since beauty is easily worn off by habit and familiarity, beauty's worst enemy, leading to boredom and the inevitable death of beauty. Both beauty and our reaction to it are short-lived. While it's still there, clinically alive on the surface, breathing, teasing and confusing the beholder, beauty is slowly killed by familiarity. Beautiful, different or curious; cheap or precious; whatever catches the eyes is less pleasurable and valuable, when compared to what the mind can see and do. The eye and the eyed, both are ephemeral, not solely for their inescapable death, but their inherent change and instability.
Just like beauty, ugliness "grows old" too, and becomes even uglier. Yet, just as familiarity with beauty makes it less pleasing, so does it with ugliness by the passage of time: we start to appreciate many asymmetric things and people, going beyond our first repulsion, social or sensual. Both immediate reactions of "appeal and repulsion" equally fade out with time.
Beauty can become familiar by obsessing over and analyzing too much, more than ugliness that remains provocative for usually allowing it less time and allowed space in our life and thoughts. The fact that ugly things exist is enough proof they have other qualities that helped them survive. Ugliness is provocative because it breaks order and violates the very popular standards of beauty.
Ugliness is unfairly stigmatized sometimes: a facial feature different from the average; harmless clothes out of fashion/date/age; cacophonous sounds, mismatched colors/shapes/objects are mostly harmless, if we obsess less over beauty, rather than feel upset, distracted, angry, or even insulted. Beauty is less important than security. Physical beauty is not important at all if we have better sources of pleasures we are mentally and physically prepared for, e.g. intellectual pleasures.
What makes "something" really worthy is its extracted benefit, pleasure, and curiosity it stirs in us, keeping us wondering and searching for answers, as many ugly things do to us: many a picture of ugliness is more interesting than one of commonplace beauty, and an ugly piece of art is worth our appreciation if it has something to tell. Ugly people too, living in beauty-obsessed societies, usually try to be more useful, pleasing, or interesting.