Formal Science / Environmental Studies Essay


Nature vs Culture

The nature versus culture debate is that which has raged on for a long time. There is always the talked about nature culture dualism which refers to the contemporary assumption that humans are not an inherent part of nature and since they have the peculiar trait of self-consciousness; an awareness of the implications of any action carried out. This, of course, has been argued as a major distinguishing factor between humans and other non-human species. The nature versus culture is that which refers to a theoretical foundation of contemporary anthropological studies. This insight stemmed from perceived insight into the tensions between nature and culture. The argument later shifted to the question of if the two entities of human endeavor can be separated from one another or if they were in a continuous biotic relationship with one another.

Nature and culture are in most contexts seen as opposing ideas. It is believed that what belongs to nature cannot also be said to the result of human intervention, and vice versa. However, as the times rolled by, researchers have opined on the best way forward as regards to addressing this raging issue. On the other side of the divide, it is believed that cultural development is only achieved against nature. This is not the only opinion available as regards the relationship between nature and culture. Certain studies in the ecological development of humans ably suggest that culture is a big part of the ecological niche within which our species thrived.

Some schools of thought regard the nature versus culture debate as a mistaken conundrum. In terms of what essentially constitutes the main bane of humanity. Culture or nature? And some culturalists such as Marshall Sahlins or David Schneider stress culture in contrast to the biological theorists siding the nature argument. In some other instances, it is said that the distinction is solely based on older, religious dichotomies between the body and the spirit. Claude Levi-Strauss also made use of this distinction in his theory of the evolution among marriage practices and this devolved into arguments about the biological or cultural features of kinship ties. Kinship is seen as the amalgamation of nature and culture, and it is important to see the unique fusion of these two lines of discussion, thus breaking the frame of dichotomous thinking.

Nature is seen as encompassing the cultural behavior of humans. The nature of humans and the environment in which man finds himself amidst the many influencing factors the environment possesses has a way of influencing the culture as the way of life of the people. In eastern society, nature and culture are often conceptualized as distinct domains. Some consider culture to be man’s secret adaptive weapon; it is seen as the core means of survival and it can be seen in some small-scale societies, they can have a more symbiotic relationship with nature. But less symbiotic relations according to some schools of thought is limiting their access to water and food resources. It has also been argued that the culture-nature divide promptly manifests itself in different aspects of alienation and conflicts. It is opined that high culture cannot come at low energy costs.

In some instances, authors saw the process of education as a struggle against the most eradicated tendencies of human nature. Human beings are said to be born with wild, violent dispositions; which is an attempt to survive the rush to achieve one’s goals. Survival of the fittest as it is commonly said. Violence with regard to using violence means to behave in order to achieve one’s set of goals and objectives, to behave in a disorganized fashion and/or act egoistically. Education is then seen as the process which seeks to use culture as an antidote for refining our inborn crude ideas while transforming them for the benefit of the environment. It is thanks to culture, that the human species could progress and elevate itself above and beyond other species. Over the past years, studies in the history of human capital development have clarified how the formation of what is generally referred to as culture. In an anthropological sense, it is seen as a part of the biological adaptation of our ancestral links to the environmental conditions they came to live in. For example, it is seen that as regards to hunting, such an activity seems an adaptation, which allowed hominids to move from the forest into the Savannah some millions of years ago. Thus, opening up the opportunity to change diet and improve living habits.

Another instance is highlighted with the invention of weapons; which is directly related to that adaptation. These weapons descended a whole series of skill sets characterizing our cultural profile from butchering tools to ethical rules relating to the proper use of weapons. Weapons were not developed to be turned against each other as contrary to the initial violent nature of humans as relating to the violent human nature initially touted. Hunting seems to be responsible for a whole set of bodily abilities such as balancing on one foot. Human seems to be the only primate that can do that. Now can we think of how this is closely related to dancing; ballet dancing specifically? It is then clear how our biological development is closely tied to our cultural development. The most plausible view that has held water over the decades, is that culture is part of the ecological niche. That is, it is part of the functional environment of humans, within which humans live. The transmission of culture seems not to be directly related to the transmission of genetic information. CertainlyNature vs Culture, the significant overlap between the genetic makeup of humans is a premise for the development of a common culture that can be passed along from one generation to the other. It is worthy of note that cultural transmission is also horizontal among individuals within the same generation or individuals belonging to different populations. Both nature and culture have been described to be two distinct entities with bearing influence on one another.

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