Space is Nature

Despite being the tool we use the most, we know little about when and how language evolved. Sure there are many theories that try to explain the birth of probably the greatest innovation in the history of our species. But the origin of our ability to express ourselves beyond the general grunt while pointing our finger or raising our arms in the air is as blurry as a frosted window. The only thing we can all agree on without a hint of an argument is that just like our cognitive capacities, our communications have grown in complexity over time. Not only did we move from the abstract to the defined, but our understanding of the defined has evolved and expanded.

The concept of a shelter at the beginning was a place where one could sleep, stay dry, and be safe, away from predators. Then, as we started to build huts, the concept of a shelter didn’t change but its representation did. Without losing its natural and primitive structure, a shelter became more. It expanded to include a structure made with our own hands. A hut turned into a cabin. The cabin evolved into a house. Today, while the complexity of a shelter has evolved, its meaning hasn’t changed. It is still a place where one can sleep, stay dry, and be safe, away from predators.

We used to wear animal hides. Now we wear shirts, skirts, pants, and underwear. Different words for the same meaning: clothes. We used to rip the meat off an animal or tear leaves from a tree to feed ourselves. Now we 3D-print animal proteins and get our greens delivered by a courier. Yet, all we are talking about is food. In other words, the concept is the same but the defined has evolved and expanded.

“Nature: the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.” Aristotle

The word “nature” might be a fairly recent invention but its concept goes back as far as when our species developed awareness and grew conscious of the world around. For a time, we saw ourselves as part of it. Then we started to see ourselves separated from it. And as the complexity of our interpretation of the world around us grew, so did our ways to define it. In the beginning, nature was everything with us within it. Then it turned into the thing we didn’t want to be part of. We cut ourselves away with the same passion a teenager stops showing affection to its parents. I am myself and exist beyond this construct therefore I must show and prove my disconnect.

But nature is within us, around us, and beyond us. As we move into outer space, it is not us going but nature doing what it has always done — expand and connect. Just like the mysterious character of a movie, the one behind, manipulating everything and everyone, it was always nature. It will always be nature. Because everything is nature. SPACE IS NATURE. We are just going where it is going. 🚀


PS. In the article What does ‘nature’ mean?, the authors Frédéric Ducarme & Denis Couvet, do a great job analyzing the evolution of the word:

“In Greek, the word that later got translated into “nature” is phusis (φύσις), based on the verbal root for “growing, producing”, phuein (derived from the Indo-European root bheu, ancestor of the English verb “be”), with a suffix indicating the “objective realization of an abstract concept… The Latin word natura is quite recent in Roman history, and was still only seldom used at the time of Terence (second century BC), with a concrete, primitive meaning of “birth, initial character” (its etymological meaning, derived from the verb nascor, “to get born”), still far from modern uses…

… a completely new vision of nature appeared with the Christianization of the Roman Empire, more linked to the Abrahamic idea of “creation”, supported by the etymological meaning of the Hebrew word for nature, (teva: “the mark of an artist on its work”). At the end of the Middle Ages, the meaning of “natura” as a creative process was no more an idea of a changing process, but an attribute of God, as the only creator of a static world. Whereas in the Greek and Roman view of the world, even the gods were part of nature, in a monotheist context God transcends nature, and so does the Man, as he is created in the image of God…

… Some authors tried to establish unequivocal definitions of nature, such as René Descartes and Charles Darwin (“I mean by Nature only the aggregate action and product of many natural laws, and by laws the sequence of events as ascertained by us

Since at least the 1970s, a wide scientific, political, and public consensus has emerged about the crucial necessity of “protecting nature”. Since early whistle-blowers such as John Muir or Rachel Carson to the theorization of a whole scientific discipline coined as “conservation biology”, the conservation of nature has reached both wide popular concern and scientific maturity… Many close and successful new technical words have been born in the same lexical field, such as “ecosystem”, “biodiversity”, “biosphere”, and even “Gaia”, but none of them ever really supplanted “nature”, even in scientific literature, and it is still the title of one of the most important scientific journals. However, “nature” is not such an easy word, and it actually fits the definition of an abstract concept, hence a mental construction rather than a concrete notion, which is situated both historically and geographically, and needs definition in context.”