Comments on Peter Coates and “Nature”

Nature is a bit of a slog to read. I enjoy Coates’ voice and great wealth of information that he imparts, but at times he needs to not digress and stick to the point. His extensive research and close readings are fantastic, insightful, and genuinely helpful to the reader, yet placed awkwardly at times. A little more organization and this would be a grade A intellectual work in my limited opinion.

We have already touched on quite a bit of the points he makes in class, but I really enjoy these two show cases:

Historical Foundings: Coates does an excellent job setting the discourse on nature historically (indeed, that is the point of the book). What is most striking to me however is the role of human manipulation of the earth that later becomes “nature”. Humans have always used there environment (as do other animals) and human-made is not anti-nature. It is part and parcel of our mere existence.

Nature as Natural Law/Innate Quality: The understanding of nature that Coates highlights concerning some ancient sources (the Greeks mostly it seems) seems the most fitting to be. Nature is natural law, the workings of “the way things are”, and the innate qualities of individuals. We must be careful here as this argument was used rather recently in our history to support racism, but if one views “nature” as “natural process” as the cycle of life and death the workings there of, I feel that much of of relationship to the cultural imaginary of nature is mediated in a more impact related and sustainable way.

That’s my gist from the reading, see you all in class.

Also, the French town of Falaise hanged a pig in mans clothing…

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