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The history of nature and the history of mankind

The history of human society in a certain sense is a picture of its changing interaction with nature.

Nature is first of all a universe, which embraces everything, including our knowledge and practical activity, the whole Universe, and in this sense it is close to the concept of matter, we can say that nature is matter taken in all the diversity of its forms. In this regard, we are only a fraction of this universe, although unique in its capabilities.

In the system of ancient thinking, nature was understood as a mobile, changing whole, and in this sense man was not so much opposed to nature, but perceived as one of its parts. In ancient philosophers, as we know, the concept of the cosmos essentially covered the whole nature accessible to the human concept. At the same time, cosmos was contrasted with chaos – it was interpreted as something not only comprehensive, but also organized, natural and perfect. The ideal was considered life in harmony with nature.

A completely different understanding of nature has developed in medieval Christian culture. Here, the surrounding nature of man was seen as something created by God and lower than man himself, since only he was endowed with the principle of God – the soul in the process of creation.

Moreover, nature was often understood as a source of evil that needs to be overcome or subjugated, and at the same time, human life appeared as a creation of the Divine principle — the soul with a sinful natural principle — the body. And this served as an excuse for a negative attitude towards nature and even a justification of the violence applied to it. Such a belief system could not stimulate interest in the scientific knowledge of nature.

In the Renaissance, attitudes towards nature change. Man discovers the beauty and splendor of the surrounding nature, begins to see in it a source of joy, pleasure, as opposed to the dark asceticism of the Middle Ages. Nature is beginning to be understood as a refuge opposing a corrupt and vicious human civilization. Jean-Jacques Rousseau bluntly argued that the transition of a person from a natural, natural to social basis is the source of all our misfortunes.

Man’s dependence on nature, on his natural habitat, existed at all stages of human history. However, it did not remain constant, but changed in a dialectically contradictory way. In interaction with nature, man gradually, in the process of labor and communication, was formed as a social being. This process has as its starting point the separation of man from the animal kingdom.

Social selection comes into force as well: those ancient communities of people who survived and were promising were subject to certain socially important requirements for cohesion, mutual assistance, care for the fate of offspring, which formed the beginnings of moral norms. The socially significant was fixed and natural selection and transfer of experience.

Figuratively speaking, a person in his development gradually became on the rails of social laws, moving off track of biological laws.

In the transformation into human society, a large role was played by social laws against the background of the active action of biological ones. This was carried out in the labor process, the skills to which were constantly improved, being passed on from generation to generation, and forming, thereby, a materially fixed “cultural” tradition.

The labor process begins with the manufacture of tools, and their production and use can only occur in a team. Only the collective gives life meaning and a powerful force to the guns. It was in the collective that the pre-labor activity of our ancestors could turn into labor, which is an expression of social activity and the formation of the beginnings of production relations.

Language is the most important means of implementing the work process, which has led to mighty progress in the development of human thinking.

There is no abyss between natural and social — society remains part of a wider whole nature. But each has its own specifics. Man lives on Earth within its thin shell – the geographical environment. It is a zone of human habitation and the sphere of application of its forces. Since its inception, human society has measured the environment, using the achievements of previous eras, and, in turn, passes it on to future generations, transforming the wealth of natural resources into means of cultural and historical life.

Man not only moved various species of plants and animals to other climatic conditions, but also changed them. The impact of society on nature is determined by the development of material production, science and technology, social needs, as well as the nature of social relations. At the same time, due to the increasing degree of the impact of society on nature, the scope of the geographical environment expands and some natural frameworks of the geographical environment accelerate.

If we deprive the modern geographical environment of its properties, created by the work of many generations and put modern society in its original natural conditions, then it will not be able to exist, because man has altered the world geochemically and this process is already irreversible.

In turn, the geographic environment also has an important influence on the development of society. Human history is a clear example of how the environmental conditions and the outlines of the surface of the planet contributed to or, on the contrary, hindered the development of mankind.

If in the Far North, in this particular element, man pulled out the means of existence from the inhospitable harsh nature at the cost of agonizing efforts, then in the tropics the unbridled pomp of the wasteful nature leads man, as a child, on the spot and does not make his development a natural necessity. The geographic environment, as a condition of the company’s business, can have a definite impact on the economic specialization of countries and regions.

The natural environment of society is not limited to the geographical environment. The qualitatively different natural environment of his life is the sphere of all living things — the biosphere, including the upper part of the earth, water, rivers, seas and oceans populated by microorganisms, and the lower part of the atmosphere.

As a result of a long evolution, the biosphere has developed as a dynamic, internally differentiated equilibrium system. But it does not remain unchanged, and being a self-organizing system develops with the evolution of the Universe and all living things. The history of life on our planet shows that deep transformations have already occurred more than once, and a qualitative restructuring of the biosphere led to the disappearance of various animal and plant species and the emergence of new ones.

The evolutionary process of the biosphere is irreversible. In addition to plants and animals, the biosphere includes man: humanity is part of the biosphere. Moreover, its influence accelerates the process of changing the nature of the biosphere, exerting an ever more powerful and intense influence on it in connection with the unprecedented development of science and technology.

With the emergence of mankind, the transition to a new qualitative state of the biosphere – the noosphere (from the Greek noos mind, intelligence) is a sphere of the living and rational. The noosphere is not an abstract realm of the mind, but a historically regular stage of development of the biosphere. The noosphere is a new special reality associated with deeper and more comprehensive forms of the transformative influence of society on nature. It involves not only the use of the achievements of science, but also a reasonable cooperation of states, humanity and the high humanistic principles of attitude to nature – the home of humanity.

Ecology (from the Greek oikos – habitat, whereabouts) – this is the science about the home of humanity, about the living conditions of those who inhabit it. Ecology is a complex scientific area that studies the patterns of interaction between a living person and the external conditions of its habitat in order to maintain a dynamic balance of the “society-nature” system ..

In the past, man’s use of the forces of nature was of a spontaneous nature, man took from nature as much as his own productive forces allowed. But the relationship of man with the natural habitat is increasingly mediated by the creation of a “second nature”, a man increases his security from the elemental tumult of nature.

Inventing ways to produce and use iron and its alloys, a person dramatically increases his power in relationship with nature. At the same time, over time, the development of civilization itself turns out to be dependent on the reserves of iron ore on earth, on their economic use. Nowadays, this dependence is often found in an extremely dynamic way, since the scale of application of many types of resources leads to the exhaustion of the reserves of these resources on the planet.

Thus, not only man depends on nature, but nature also depends on him.

The interaction of man and nature, society and its environment as a result of the rapid growth of industrial production throughout the world has reached the limit of critical forms and sizes. The question arose about the threat to the very existence of mankind as a result of the exhaustion of natural resources and the pollution of its environment.

“The human body” can no longer be limited to its biological parameters, but also includes what was previously perceived as “external nature”. Man in his natural-biological quality is not just a “part” of nature, but its organic element, interacting with other elements and parts that make up some dynamically contradictory unity. Currently, the interaction of society and nature, man and his environment, is the essence of the environmental problem. This pollution of the atmosphere, seas, rivers, oceans, and the Chernobyl problem, the emergence of epidemics, previously unknown diseases, disturbances of temperature balance.

An acute awareness of the possibility of a global environmental crisis leads to the need for rational harmonization of interactions in the system “technology – man – biosphere”.

At present, the global nature of environmental problems requires a different way of thinking from a person, a new form of his self-consciousness — environmental consciousness. This means, first of all, that humanity must realize itself as a whole in its relation to nature.

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