Letter: The Earth is not my “mother”
The post-Darwin philosophical naturalists of the late 19th century held that nature is a cold, soulless mechanism that is “red in tooth and claw.”
And while I do not embrace this view with anything resembling joy, I much prefer it to Alecia Evans’ romantic personification of “Mother Earth” as a benevolent entity to whom I should pay reverent homage on Earth Day, as set forth in her letter “Respect your mother” (Aspen Times, Commentary, March 22).
What kind of “mother” exposes her offspring to a relentless array of life-shortening and life-ending predators and parasites, both great and small? What kind of mother routinely punishes her children with the four horsemen of the apocalypse whenever their population growth exceeds her standards?
I wonder what Evans feels about the women’s liberation movement of the past century, which has sought to “liberate” women not simply from social norms but from nature itself — insisting that biology is not destiny and that a woman has the right to self-determination, aided by the development of birth control and medical abortion. If “Mother Nature” were so benevolent, why rebel against motherhood itself in such a fashion?
To be sure, all of us want the same thing — survival, with both comfort and dignity and a sense of meaningfulness — and I suppose Evans’ brand of utopian primitivism is as valid an effort to get there as any other, if we were ever intended to get there. But I think it misapprehends our own nature, which is seldom content and is always striving, making us what Alexander Pope called “the glory, jest and riddle of the world.”
We are what we are and what our “mother” has given birth to.