On the authority of nature / by Bryce Hidysmith

Berkeley, California, 2019

Berkeley, California, 2019

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A formalization of ideas belonging to M. N.

There is no reason to ever trust the concept of nature more than the mind that was capable of forming the concept. How could the mind know something that is not represented in the mind? Nature, itself, must then be considered to be unknowable, mere noumena, a thing-in-itself that the mind consists of a part of, and that the mind itself then is able to grasp a subset of the contents of nature represented in the structure of the individual mind.

Components of nature can be represented in the mind, but they are always filtered through the perceptions and biases of the mind in question. Thus, if anyone ever attempts to use the authority of nature—to be a Lorax and to speak for the trees—they speak merely from their own perspective. Their perspective may be able to grasp subsets of nature—for instance the necessary conditions for the survival of an endangered species—but the idea that they are able to access the will and authority of nature beyond the representation of nature in their mind is impossible. The worship of nature, the claim that nature has authority that can be understood by individual humans, must then be understood to be cover for the interests of the humans in question. The human in question may be lying to themself and not know that they are laundering their own perceptions through claims to understanding the perceptions of “nature,” but the ideology that they have constructed to make their perspective feel authoritative is still first-personal. This goes as much for the hedge fund manager on Wall Street invoking Darwinism to justify the niche of his fund as the hippie in Mendocino whose idea of nature is the aesthetic of trees.