How things are happening? Who we are? Who is controlling us? All these questions we encounter when we are passing through some unpleasant sensation. In that way ‘Pain’ is good it helps us to look into the question which words cannot explain. It is more about being felt then to be told or answered. However, in this post, I’m arranging my views.
Life beings with nature. Whatever we see around us, is the part of nature. Everything is just a combination of one or some components of our environment. Either we’ve extracted it directly from nature or combined it with some components of nature. We are just able to reach the pick of the perfect combination and we call it an invention. If we see it clearly nothing has been created rather everything is combined in a certain way that we feel something is new. Man is also the part of this combination – The food we eat becomes our body, the things we see become our thoughts and the place we are, make our culture which molds our attitude. Overall our physical environment is shaping us and in an indirect manner our cultural environment.
To explain this Ellen Churchill Semple (an American geographer) in her book ‘Influences of Geographic Environment’ says that “Man is a product of the earth’s surface”. She explained further, with this she didn’t mean earth’s biggest creation is a man but ‘dust of her dust’. Man is the smallest part of nature -Nature gave some task, directed his thoughts, gave difficulties in the path with some hints of the solution too which will take everyone towards the evolution. Nature’s, nature is evolution and man is just a vehicle of nature, not separate from it. Whether we accept it or not, we want it or not, nature will take everything to evolution we have no choice.
The relationship between man and environment is not as easy as plants and animals do have, as man is the only animal which creates his own cultural environment, which sets all the difference. However, the study of man-environment(nature) relation is not new, It started with the origin of man but traces could be found when the study of knowledge has been started by Greeks. From the beginning, the man tries to conquer nature and use it in the way he wants. For example, from our basic need of food, we are depended on nature and cultivate within the limit of the region. The houses we built is depended on the materials within the limit of the resource of the region. This is very basic reason why we all are interested in the man-nature study – To Conquer it, to extract something out of it and change it according to us but we forget Nature is so silent in her ways that we are unable to see, it’s Nature only who are ruling us and guiding us we are ‘Dust of her Dust’.
The whole thought of whether a man is an active force- able to move and take decisions according to him or passive agent- directed by nature. In both cases, the ‘landscape’ is very important because all the happening requires a stage and nature provides the stage of happening. This stage has a very deeper influence on man not only physically but also psychologically.
In the fifth century BC, Herodotus (a Greek scholar) emphasized that ‘All History must be treated geographically and all Geography must be treated historically’. This statement indirectly explains how our surrounding affects us. All the events of the history happened on a ground which affected that event or happening. The nature of the area provided a physical background to the event to occur. The physical space is not separate from all the happening. As every event takes place on the earth’s surface and therefore is more or less molded by its nature’s setting. Understanding nature is important to reach an accurate understanding of the event.
Some other scholars of Greek stabilized a connection between the habited area and man. Aristotle was first in explaining the relationship between places where people live and the climatic condition of the area. However, he emphasized that the area near the equator is not suitable for human due to excessive heat (Torrid Zone), the area too far from the equator is also not fit for human because of snow cover (Frigid Zone) and in the middle temperate zone is the best part for habitation. This is modified by other scholars with the growth of knowledge (like Eratosthenes; Posidonius; and Strabo). Strabo looked at the other aspects too like shape, relief, space relationship and explained how Italy became the central power of the Rome Empire. Today also most of the world population is concentrated between the torrid zone and frigid zone for example the world’s most populated countries are- India, China, Bangladesh, the USA, and Pakistan. Every country’s history influenced by its local climate, soil, relief, its location whether inland or maritime, its river, highways, and its boundaries of mountain, sea, or dessert. With a link in a great chain of lands, all these things not only affect the country but also the people and the cultural world made by people. Directly or indirectly everything is influenced by nature. Aristotle explained further that how nature affects the human at very subtle way, He said the humans of colder countries like Europe are brave, not deficient in thought, have the technical skill and as a consequence of this, they remained free longer than others whereas people of the hot region like India are skillful without spirit hence the permanent condition remained slavery. According to him, Greeks live in the intermediate region and perfect for both. With this, he gives light to how nature can affect human behavior and the culture of the place. A British scholar who totally agreed with Aristotle, Nathaniel Carpenter, explained the determining effect of climate and soil on the character of the people. People in cold climates are stronger physically, more courageous, more Frank, less suspicious and less cunning than those of the hot region who are like old men, timorous, weak in body, indolent and passive. All the scholars of different times always tried to look man and nature relationship and somehow more or less reached the same conclusion. The Arabs were the pioneer in the study of monsoon, man-water relationship. Al-Masudi (an Arab scholar) stated ‘The level of happiness depends on the humidity of the place’. But he didn’t provide any proof of his statement. This could be because we get so busy with finding the result that it becomes difficult to see the slow process which is creating the result, generally, we take one or two-component of nature to analysis how it affects us, but Nature does not exist in part, whatever development we see around us is because of the nature, even all of us too, nothing is beyond Nature. Everything is nature.
Kitab-al-Hind, a book by Al-Baruni explains the effect of nature on the Hindu religion. But not only the Hindu religion all the religions in the world are the effect of surrounding only. Religion is a way of living in a certain way which is best for that area, the customs, dressing, and way of worship is directed by nature. The way of dressing in religions is related to the climatic condition of the area, the customs are related to resource availability and the food habits is related to the location of the origin of religion. Nature affects politics, economics, and education, in short, the human cultural environment. The two major world power USA and Russia is a result of their site. The attack on Russia by Hitler was a result of ‘Lebensraum (Living Space)’- The concept which combines Darwin’s theory to living space. Hitler loses too because he failed to understand the nature of Russia. It feels like people drive politics but the source of all drive is nature only. All the war which had happened, or still going on is just because we want to take control over some part of nature. We all want to drive nature according to us, but see to it nature is speaking with loud silence which is unheard by us until nature makes some real sound and then we call it a disaster. However, Ibn-Khaldun (an Arab scholar) established direct man-environment relationship by analyzing the sun poison and color of humans, the people turned black when they lived too close to the Sun (Equator) and that when black people moved to the temperate zone they gradually turned white and produced white children.- This is the basic physical change which could be noticed by any one of us, but it doesn’t happen in a day or in a few years – nature takes its own time, which includes your many lifetimes. If we try to analysis people of different region we’ll notice people living in mountain region provided by strong legs to climb the slope, whereas the people living in the coastal area have a broad chest and arm to handle the force of water, and in the plain area, people are dull but have wit and ambition to handle their fields. Many scholars also conclude that the people in the mountain region are laborious and people living in the plain area are more wealthy, have contact with many minds and have large urban centers. This cloud be seen in any part of the world, for example, people living in Himachal Pradesh (a mountain region) is thin and doesn’t have any major source of income but the people in Uttar Pradesh (a plain region) are healthier as well as have more connection with other people.
The root of nature’s influence is underground before we can trace the effect it develops without getting noticed and all of a sudden we can see the result. In the analysis of nature’s effect generally, people take it as the effect of time. But in reality, the time does not exist it is just earth rotates and reaches a different position and all the effect is of change in the location. Time is just a measure of the earth’s rotation.
The complexity of this situation does not end here. The modification of human development by the environment is a natural process; like all other natural processes, it keeps ongoing. When I say human development it does not only include humans, but the earth is an inseparable whole. Everything is a portion of that whole, The whole of nature. Currents and wind-systems of the oceans modify the climate of the nearby continents, which change the landscape of the terrestrial area, and in an indirect manner takes everything towards evolution. But the story doesn’t end here – human always remains in the search of how to control nature.
Nature’s effect can be seen as:
–Effect on Mind
–Economic and Social effect
The physical effect is so obvious that it could be noticed as the difference in human races related to different climatic condition and physiography – Caucasoid (White Race), Negroid (Black Race), Mongoloid (Asian) and Australoid (Australian) etc. This difference is due to the physical environment. Hence how we’ll look we feel is controlled by us, from which family we come determines our nose or eyes- I’m not denying the fact the DNA holds the information but if we carry it’s not DNA but the place of your birth- the location holds more information. It’s pure environment decision that what to be passed on to the next generation or what to not. For example, Aymara Indians inhabiting the high Andean plateaus have a large lung capacity but when they shift to plains there is a shift in their lungs capacity from generation to generation.
We all are different no two is exactly the same, but we all hold one thread that is human life. In this unity of human life, the diversity of race is just modification of us over a long period of time, or in Darwin terms the adaptation of the environment. But the question is are we really adapting the environment or we are left with no choice knowing or unknowing the environment is changing us? One may say his work influenced his body type, but in reality, nature forces us to do that work which brings change or if I say more clearly ‘Evolution’. A little awake person will say It’s my habit, my decision but in the real sense, it is not like that as Tartars of Mongolia have the habit of rising their shoulders — to protect the neck against the cold. Turkmens have small, slit eyes and swollen lids is a result of the desert region. Habit is not what we make, it is what we adept from surroundings. The physical effects are more visual and no doubt they are the result of different climate and region and all these are reflected in man’s behavior, thoughts, literature, and language. For example, Eskimo believe their hell is full of storms, darkness and intense cold this is due to the region they live in. But, still, we feel it’s our choice and forget to see how we got those choices how we got what we like or dislike how we got that we will behave in a particular manner Only- Everything is driven by Nature. E. G. Dexter (An American scholar) believed our behavior has a relation with the climate of the area. In 1904 he published a work in which he found a statistically significant correlation between weather and conduct, suicide and other crimes. If the source gets affected, it changes the whole constitute of its product. Nature is that source.
Nature has many pictures which are unseen,
Many sounds which are unheard,
Many feelings remain untouched,
Nature is not so vast that you cannot see it’s beauty-
But, sadly you’ve limited yourself too much;
That you can’t even see yours!!