Human Humane; That is All [prose poem]

The position of a traditional humanist in light of his culture’s push for society to be more natural, as so many like to say about the things they do, the things they make, the ways they feel . . . which no one, as far as he can see, has any idea about, not really; saying, as they sometimes do—or spouting, which is more like what they do when anyone opens his mouth, again, to spout on how things need to be natural, let us make things more natural. Too many of these things, though, they have not thought through, he sees, and clearly.

Natural, natural, let us make things more natural.

In every trial we impose on our ideas of the human, our ideas of what is human, what makes us human, what makes us civil, we want to show how we can make ourselves and our civilization more natural. The more natural we are, we think, the more human or even humane. This is, of course, a mistake; yes, to take things wrongly, incorrectly, inappropriately, ineffectively, once more, mistakenly. We have thus turned our attentions away from the human because of our past errors in civilizing; what has been coupled with some civilizations should be avoided, but the puppy has gone the way of the flea bath water. We have, as a result, worked hard at making the human more like his or her homo-sapiens predecessor. In this push toward making the things we do and make more natural, we have bound our civilization to a pseudo state of nature, and we wonder why power has gotten more powerful, why the rich get richer and the poor, poorer. It is quite Darwinian, the social model that even our liberals have helped create.  Is that what we want? We have no idea what we are talking about when we say we want things more natural. Nature is red in tooth and claw, unless we have forgetten Tennyson’s warnings to his Victorian brothers and sisters. Do we imagine that this more natural  has helped make us more compassionate, more forgiving, more generous or charitable?

There is nothing human without the humane; nature is not humane.


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