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Thanks to the faculty of intelligence, humans can contemplate the consequences of actions.

Forests used to cover 99% of the entire earth at one point. What happened next is human civilization uprooted this green cover and built vast countries and empires for human dwelling.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna begins by having doubts about the battle with his kinsmen because of the fear of what may happen next.

āchāryāḥ pitaraḥ putrās tathaiva cha pitāmahāḥ
mātulāḥ śhvaśhurāḥ pautrāḥ śhyālāḥ sambandhinas tathā

etān na hantum ichchhāmi ghnato ’pi madhusūdana
api trailokya-rājyasya hetoḥ kiṁ nu mahī-kṛite

This can be roughly translated to:
Teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, grandsons, fathers-in-law, grand-nephews, brothers-in-law, and other kinsmen are present here, staking their lives and riches. O Madhusudan, I do not wish to slay them, even if they attack me. If we kill the sons of Dhritarashtra, what satisfaction will we derive from the dominion over the three worlds, what to speak of this Earth?
– Bhagavad Gita, 1.34-35
In the case of Arjuna, Krishna informs him in depth why he is heedlessly worrying about this consequence. The law of dharma ensured that the eternal self immanent in each of his kinsmen was taken to it’s next natural stage.
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Change

As time has passed, human beings have continued to have a significant impact on the green cover on earth.

What was once a sprawling cover of wildness has been reduced significantly.

It would be interesting to note how this trend continues over the next few centuries.

Investigation into nature

Mankind has found nature to be a source of endless fascination. Ever since the human brain evolved to a more advanced stage, humans have been playing around with and trying to figure out what nature is and how it works.

This sort of curiosity has been with us since before the agricultural revolution of ten thousand years ago, when agriculture became dominant as opposed to hunting. We find records of this kind of curiosity from ancient times.

In the three to five thousand years old Nasadiya Suktam, one finds expression given to this quest to understand where creation came from.

nāsa̍dāsī̱nno sadā̍sītta̱dānī̱m nāsī̱drajo̱ no vyo̍mā pa̱ro yat |

kimāva̍rīva̱ḥ kuha̱ kasya̱ śarma̱nnaṁbha̱ḥ kimā̍sī̱dgaha̍naṁ gabhī̱ram ||1||

na mṛ̱tyurā̍sīda̱mṛta̱ṁ na tarhi̱ na rātryā̱ ahna̍ āasītprake̱taḥ |

ānī̍davā̱taṁ sva̱dhayā̱ tadekaṁ̱ tasmā̍ddhā̱nyanna pa̱raḥ kiñca̱nāsa̍ ||2||

tama̍ āasī̱ttama̍sā gū̱ḻhamagre̍’prake̱taṁ sa̍li̱laṁ sarva̍mā i̱daṁ |

tu̱cchyenā̱bhvapi̍hitaṁ̱ yadāsī̱ttapa̍sa̱stanma̍hi̱nā jā̍ya̱taika̍ṁ || 3 ||

This can be roughly translated to:

Neither existence nor nonexistence was there. Neither matter nor space around

What covered it, where it was and who protected?

Why, that plasma, all pervading, deep and profound? ||1 ||

Neither death nor immortality was there. And there was neither day nor night

But for that breathless one breathing on its own

There was nothing else, surely nothing ||2||

It was darkness concealed in darkness. And an uninterrupted continuum of fluid

Out came in material form and shape

That one lying deep inside, on its own intent. ||3||

– Rig Veda, 10.129.1-3

Nature and its wonders

Nature comes with so many amazing wonders that most of them are not understood or appreciated.

Just what happens in the wild, how what we understand to be an “ecosystem” functions is a subject that one can spend several lifetimes understanding.

The ancients understood the unfathomable depths of nature and revered it accordingly.

We find traditional reverence of nature even today in India where several unbroken traditions still flourish.

The rishis (sages) who composed the Vedas dedicated several verses extolling the wonders one comes across in the natural world.

Nature’s self organization

Nature is wonderful to humans because it is quite awe-inspiring.

Nature organizes itself and grows in fantastic ways.

When one looks at a small portion of the natural world, like the coast of Norway, for instance, the organization is intricate and complex. It is impossible to truly measure the length of such coastlines. This phenomenon is known as the coastline paradox.

Similar fractal patterns can be observed in various other phenomena, including the shapes of leaves and trees.

Other natural phenomena like earthquakes and solar flares follow the self-organized criticality pattern which is related to the above.

As the Danish physicist, Per Bak, argues in his book, How Nature Works, the self-organized criticality approach also applies to understand human organization in a social sense. He suggests (correctly, in my opinion) that fields such as economics should take into account the self-organized criticality aspects of human behavior instead of ignoring or throwing out the outliers such as the boom and bust cycles as done in “equilibrium” economics.

Going off the track

Occasionally getting off the beaten track is useful as it provides one with possible unexpected results.

Just getting to explore a new place in different ways and getting to enjoy nature in it’s glory is one of life’s great joys.

Watching the wonders of nature makes one feel small in comparison to the universe, but that seems about right.

How or why nature grows on it’s own and creates life, the planets and this universe is still a mystery.

In the meantime, perhaps one should perhaps learn to just savor bountiful natural sights for their own sake?