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Author Topic: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism  (Read 2628 times)

Klaw

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #45 on: July 12, 2019, 08:38:59 pm »
How did you come up with that definition?

This is mine from dictionary.com:

nature

noun
1. the material world, especially as surrounding humankind and existing independently of human activities.
2. the natural world as it exists without human beings or civilization:
In nature, wild dogs hunt in packs.
3. the elements of the natural world, as mountains, trees, animals, or rivers:
The abandoned power plant was reclaimed by nature, covered in overgrowth and home to feral animals.
4. natural scenery:
Tourists at the resort are surrounded by nature.
5. the universe, with all its phenomena:
Conservation of energy is a universal law of nature.
6. the sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe.
7. reality, as distinguished from any effect of art:
a portrait true to nature.
8. the particular combination of qualities belonging to a person, animal, thing, or class by birth, origin, or constitution; native or inherent character:
human nature.
9. the instincts or inherent tendencies directing conduct:
a man of good nature.
10. character, kind, or sort:
two books of the same nature.
11. characteristic disposition; temperament:
a self-willed nature; an evil nature.
12. the original, natural, uncivilized condition of humankind.
13. the biological functions or the urges to satisfy their requirements.
14. a primitive, wild condition; an uncultivated state.
15. a simple, uncluttered mode of life without the conveniences or distractions of civilization:
a return to nature.
16. (initial capital letter, italics) a prose work (1836), by Ralph Waldo Emerson, expounding transcendentalism.
17. Theology. the moral state as unaffected by grace.

I know this is from a standard reference, but experience tells me that the best discussions involve a common language. Now I am curious where your definition came from? It seems to me when people disagree on what a word means without a form of official acknowledgment it is more belief than fact. I am happy to let people believe whatever they want as long as I am shown the same respect.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2019, 02:40:46 pm »
We understand *what* you're saying just fine. We just (a) don't agree with it and/or (b) don't get *why* you think so. You don't need to be clearer; you need to provide more backup. When you say:

How did you come up with that definition?

Was it by reading Romantic philosophers, or since you mentioned you were raised Catholic, something from the Bible? Were you inspired by Fern Gully or another pop culture source? Giving supporting information rather than reiterating you main point can reduce frustration on all sides of a discussion.

I guess that is fair enough. As far as to where I came up with that definition, I do not know. It just came to me after years of reading a wide variety of sources. I am sorry if it seems that I am not providing enough sources. I don't really have a bibliography on this topic, but will maybe look into that some more at some point.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #47 on: July 13, 2019, 02:46:13 pm »
Well, if you do that on a discussion and debate board, people are going to debate you ...

Yeah, I do not mind reasonable debate done with respect (respect on all sides, me included). You say that I do not provide enough sources and do not back-up my statements, but I think that could be said of some of the responses to me here. Flat contradiction is not debate. It is OK if people disagree with me, though. I don't mind a friendly discussion.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #48 on: July 13, 2019, 02:56:21 pm »
This is mine from dictionary.com:

nature

noun
1. the material world, especially as surrounding humankind and existing independently of human activities.
2. the natural world as it exists without human beings or civilization:
In nature, wild dogs hunt in packs.
3. the elements of the natural world, as mountains, trees, animals, or rivers:
The abandoned power plant was reclaimed by nature, covered in overgrowth and home to feral animals.
4. natural scenery:
Tourists at the resort are surrounded by nature.
5. the universe, with all its phenomena:
Conservation of energy is a universal law of nature.
6. the sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe.
7. reality, as distinguished from any effect of art:
a portrait true to nature.
8. the particular combination of qualities belonging to a person, animal, thing, or class by birth, origin, or constitution; native or inherent character:
human nature.
9. the instincts or inherent tendencies directing conduct:
a man of good nature.
10. character, kind, or sort:
two books of the same nature.
11. characteristic disposition; temperament:
a self-willed nature; an evil nature.
12. the original, natural, uncivilized condition of humankind.
13. the biological functions or the urges to satisfy their requirements.
14. a primitive, wild condition; an uncultivated state.
15. a simple, uncluttered mode of life without the conveniences or distractions of civilization:
a return to nature.
16. (initial capital letter, italics) a prose work (1836), by Ralph Waldo Emerson, expounding transcendentalism.
17. Theology. the moral state as unaffected by grace.

I know this is from a standard reference, but experience tells me that the best discussions involve a common language. Now I am curious where your definition came from? It seems to me when people disagree on what a word means without a form of official acknowledgment it is more belief than fact. I am happy to let people believe whatever they want as long as I am shown the same respect.

[This post is directed to everyone reading this, not just Klaw]

I appreciate this list. One thing that it shows is that there can be many different definitions of a term, some similar, maybe some less similar. I am the first to note that the definition of Nature that I have been using is my own formulation. People do not need to like or accept it.

I just personally find my definition to be helpful for my own thinking. It is fine if others do not like or appreciate my definition. I am just glad that I have a space to explain myself, whether others agree or not. Anyway, thanks for posting the above definitions, Klaw.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2019, 03:14:46 pm »
We understand *what* you're saying just fine. We just (a) don't agree with it and/or (b) don't get *why* you think so. You don't need to be clearer; you need to provide more backup. When you say:

I kind of think it is a little unfair for you to use the term "we" instead of "I". I am aware that others also might not agree with me on this topic, but I would prefer it if you spoke just for yourself and not for others.

[edits for spelling]
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 03:17:01 pm by Donal2018 »

Jenett

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2019, 03:27:47 pm »
Yeah, I do not mind reasonable debate done with respect (respect on all sides, me included). You say that I do not provide enough sources and do not back-up my statements, but I think that could be said of some of the responses to me here. Flat contradiction is not debate. It is OK if people disagree with me, though. I don't mind a friendly discussion.

With my staff hat on:

The forum generally works on the principle that the person who brings something up is the one who may be asked for further explanation, sources, etc. No one here is out of line in asking you to further expand your thoughts, explain what definitions you are using, or clarify your writing. (And as all we have to go on here are the words you actually put up in your posts, it is reasonable to expect clarification may be needed especially in complex or dense conversations.)

Specifically, from the forum rules:
Quote
DO NOT attempt to moderate other members (i.e. tell them how to behave on the board). Leave the moderating to the forum staff and hosts. If you believe a forum post violates the rules in a major way, you may bring that post to the attention of the forum staff by reporting that message wit]h the "Report to moderator" link. You can bring non-forum problems to the attention of staff by emailing a staff member via their profile.

If you feel people in this or any other conversation are in violation of the forum rules, then you should report the post (use the 'report to moderator' link at the bottom right of the relevant post), so that staff can review it and take whatever action is appropriate.

Calling out people in vague terms in the thread is neither helpful nor appropriate, nor is telling other people how they may post. You may, of course, decide to stop participating in a particular conversation if it is no longer working for you.

Staff hat off.
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Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2019, 03:38:17 pm »
With my staff hat on:

The forum generally works on the principle that the person who brings something up is the one who may be asked for further explanation, sources, etc. No one here is out of line in asking you to further expand your thoughts, explain what definitions you are using, or clarify your writing. (And as all we have to go on here are the words you actually put up in your posts, it is reasonable to expect clarification may be needed especially in complex or dense conversations.)

Specifically, from the forum rules:
If you feel people in this or any other conversation are in violation of the forum rules, then you should report the post (use the 'report to moderator' link at the bottom right of the relevant post), so that staff can review it and take whatever action is appropriate.

Calling out people in vague terms in the thread is neither helpful nor appropriate, nor is telling other people how they may post. You may, of course, decide to stop participating in a particular conversation if it is no longer working for you.

Staff hat off.

Fair enough. I have no problem being asked for sources. I just don't have them in this case. I guess my posts here might be considered UPG. I was not objecting to being asked for sources. I was objecting to some language in the posters response, but recognize now that I should not have, and should have reported it to a moderator instead. I will report to Mods rather than posting should a similar circumstance occur.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2019, 06:09:37 pm »
Just a post for reference. There is a brief Wikipedia article on the Artificial-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificiality

Here is a quote from the Wikipedia article on Artificiality that I had linked to earlier on this Thread-

"Artificiality (also called Factitiousness, or the state of being Artificial or Man-made) is the state of being the product of intentional human manufacture, rather than occurring Naturally through processes not involving or requiring human activity."

So, that is one Source that I linked to earlier. A distinction between the Natural and the Artificial.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 06:11:48 pm by Donal2018 »

Yei

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #53 on: July 13, 2019, 07:07:56 pm »
[This post is directed to everyone reading this, not just Klaw]

I appreciate this list. One thing that it shows is that there can be many different definitions of a term, some similar, maybe some less similar. I am the first to note that the definition of Nature that I have been using is my own formulation. People do not need to like or accept it.

I just personally find my definition to be helpful for my own thinking. It is fine if others do not like or appreciate my definition. I am just glad that I have a space to explain myself, whether others agree or not. Anyway, thanks for posting the above definitions, Klaw.

The problem is that these definitions have very fuzzy edges. For example, a space station is obviously artificial. I don't think anyone will disagree with you on this one. But humans can also build lakes, forests, and even rivers. This can lead to a situation where we have two ecosystems that are effectively identical, but one is artificial and the other natural. We can also look at this through the perspective of agriculture. We'd define agriculture as artificial right? Well plants are natural, and a few animals also practice agriculture. There are forms of farming that mimic parts of natural ecosystems, sometimes so closely that the two are difficult to distinguish at first glance. Large parts of the Amazon rainforest, including some soils, were built by humans, yet people often consider the jungle to be a 'pristine' environment. So are farms 'artificial' or not?

What about natural ecosystems which humans modify, either through logging, pollution, or through regulation? How much human interference is needed before a natural environment can be considered artificial? Do we consider maize to be natural, or artificial? It is a plant, purely biological, but can only propagate with human help. What about avocados, which also need humans to propagate effectively? Do we count these plants as artificial?

And how do we deal with the converse? What happens when an artificial environment becomes invaded by nature? Be it a backyard garden full of insects, or an apartment building that becomes a giant bird nest. Is there a point where something can switch from being 'artificial' to being 'natural'?

My ultimate points is, what is the foundation of your definitions? Not the definitions themselves, but the perspective you use to frame their scope. For example, is the distinction about an objects origins (artificial built by humans)? Is it about a particular relationship with humans, with human use and modification making something 'artificial'? Note also, that one of these definitions makes natural/artificial intrinsic, and the other conditional. Both also look at objects at different scopes. The first might be applied to individual objects, while the second might be best for ecosystems. Either can be very useful in certain circumstances, but as you might have guessed, have flaws. So, perhaps the best resolution would be to have several definitions for natural and artificial, and apply them to the situations where each would be best applied, while recognising that there will always be some fuzzy edges.

One last complication, is that people sometimes use the idea of as natural to mean something occurring within normal expectations. Conversely, unnatural (though, not necessarily artificial) is used to mean unexpected, or outside of normal conduct. For example, one argument against homosexuality is that it is 'unnatural.' Of course, it is perfectly natural. However, it wasn't commonly acknowledged and so appeared to be stranger and outside of normal experience than it really was. As homosexuality has become more socially acceptable and depicted more frequently, such claims have become less and less common. Not an essential part of this discussion, but worth keeping in mind.

Donal2018

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #54 on: July 13, 2019, 07:21:03 pm »
The problem is that these definitions have very fuzzy edges. For example, a space station is obviously artificial. I don't think anyone will disagree with you on this one. But humans can also build lakes, forests, and even rivers. This can lead to a situation where we have two ecosystems that are effectively identical, but one is artificial and the other natural. We can also look at this through the perspective of agriculture. We'd define agriculture as artificial right? Well plants are natural, and a few animals also practice agriculture. There are forms of farming that mimic parts of natural ecosystems, sometimes so closely that the two are difficult to distinguish at first glance. Large parts of the Amazon rainforest, including some soils, were built by humans, yet people often consider the jungle to be a 'pristine' environment. So are farms 'artificial' or not?

What about natural ecosystems which humans modify, either through logging, pollution, or through regulation? How much human interference is needed before a natural environment can be considered artificial? Do we consider maize to be natural, or artificial? It is a plant, purely biological, but can only propagate with human help. What about avocados, which also need humans to propagate effectively? Do we count these plants as artificial?

And how do we deal with the converse? What happens when an artificial environment becomes invaded by nature? Be it a backyard garden full of insects, or an apartment building that becomes a giant bird nest. Is there a point where something can switch from being 'artificial' to being 'natural'?

My ultimate points is, what is the foundation of your definitions? Not the definitions themselves, but the perspective you use to frame their scope. For example, is the distinction about an objects origins (artificial built by humans)? Is it about a particular relationship with humans, with human use and modification making something 'artificial'? Note also, that one of these definitions makes natural/artificial intrinsic, and the other conditional. Both also look at objects at different scopes. The first might be applied to individual objects, while the second might be best for ecosystems. Either can be very useful in certain circumstances, but as you might have guessed, have flaws. So, perhaps the best resolution would be to have several definitions for natural and artificial, and apply them to the situations where each would be best applied, while recognising that there will always be some fuzzy edges.

One last complication, is that people sometimes use the idea of as natural to mean something occurring within normal expectations. Conversely, unnatural (though, not necessarily artificial) is used to mean unexpected, or outside of normal conduct. For example, one argument against homosexuality is that it is 'unnatural.' Of course, it is perfectly natural. However, it wasn't commonly acknowledged and so appeared to be stranger and outside of normal experience than it really was. As homosexuality has become more socially acceptable and depicted more frequently, such claims have become less and less common. Not an essential part of this discussion, but worth keeping in mind.

This is a good post and deserves a full response. I am on limited Internet time until Monday so will not be able to respond in detail until then. (I am on my tablet at a coffee house and am not great with the interface). I appreciate your response and will try to address it more completely at some later point.

Klaw

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #55 on: July 13, 2019, 07:37:24 pm »
Do we consider maize to be natural, or artificial? It is a plant, purely biological, but can only propagate with human help.

I need a little clarity. How is maize or corn dependent on humans for propagation?

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #56 on: July 13, 2019, 11:33:09 pm »
What about natural ecosystems which humans modify, either through logging, pollution, or through regulation? How much human interference is needed before a natural environment can be considered artificial? Do we consider maize to be natural, or artificial? It is a plant, purely biological, but can only propagate with human help. What about avocados, which also need humans to propagate effectively? Do we count these plants as artificial?

I have long held the opinion that the technological level of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica was quite high when one considers their skill in genetic engineering.  I mean, just look at teosinte.

And Native land management tactics - controlled burns, etc. - produced what Europeans thought looked like an untouched wilderness when they arrived.  Of course, imposing lack-of-human-intervention on those lands because that is "natural" is part of why North American wildfires get so devastating....
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2019, 06:18:02 pm »
I need a little clarity. How is maize or corn dependent on humans for propagation?

Maize seeds cannot germinate unless they are first prepared and treated by humans, often by soaking them in water. I also don't think that maize can shed its seeds naturally, requiring a human to remove them from the cob.

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #58 on: July 15, 2019, 06:51:21 pm »
This is mine from dictionary.com:

nature

noun

So, going by this list, I use the term 'nature' in these senses:

Quote
1. the material world, especially as surrounding humankind and existing independently of human activities.
5. the universe, with all its phenomena:
Conservation of energy is a universal law of nature.
6. the sum total of the forces at work throughout the universe.

This derives from a few different sources: my reading about Kemetic worldview and cosmology; my reading on science and what 'technology' is (that's a whole other can of worms); TBH, rejection of the idea of 'natural good, artificial bad,' found in popular media around food, health and lifstyle; and my personal experience that trying to divide things into discrete categories rarely works well (there are always overlaps or things that don't fit at all). 

The trouble with relying on dictionaries for definitions is that they are descriptive, not prescriptive; the dictionary lists all possible meanings of a word, current and often former, and not all of them apply in every context. For example, I don't think anyone in this conversation is using these meanings of the word 'nature':

Quote
7. reality, as distinguished from any effect of art:
a portrait true to nature.
8. the particular combination of qualities belonging to a person, animal, thing, or class by birth, origin, or constitution; native or inherent character:
human nature.
16. (initial capital letter, italics) a prose work (1836), by Ralph Waldo Emerson, expounding transcendentalism.
17. Theology. the moral state as unaffected by grace.

Quote
It seems to me when people disagree on what a word means without a form of official acknowledgment it is more belief than fact.

I freely admit that my own position on the topic is largely subjective. Much of what gets discussed on this board are matters of belief. That doesn't mean they aren't worth examining and questioning.

Klaw

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Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Reply #59 on: July 15, 2019, 06:56:32 pm »
Maize seeds cannot germinate unless they are first prepared and treated by humans, often by soaking them in water. I also don't think that maize can shed its seeds naturally, requiring a human to remove them from the cob.

Which maize are you referring to? Heirloom varieties, the original grass plant or modern corn. Most, if not all of them rely on wind for pollination. The shedding of kernels is usually done by wildlife like deer. Modern corn, especially gmo is not great at germination, but it still happens without human interference. Before Gmo and the spraying of roundup, a lot of seed corn was more carefully pollinated to prevent cross pollination. I have seen a lot of corn planted, grown, and harvested, not once were the kernels soaked or even received having been soaked. I have also seen a lot of corn the following year growing in bean fields and ditches. That being said, it still leaves it altered through selective breeding and now actively genetically modifying it. Seed corn tends to be pink or purple if it is GMO.

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