March 06, 2014

Man And His Environment

Essay : [Man And His Environment]

English Essay on "Man And His Environment"

Man And His Environment

Understanding is fundamental to freedom. Freedom consists in mastering our environment; and never except by accident or luck, can we control what we do not understand. There is a part of the environment that has come to us from nature and exists, as we exist, without our having created it. The rest is the product of human efforts both in past generation and is the present. As yet, neither the physical environment nor the man made portion is wholly known to us. Perhaps some ultimates are not completely knowable. But yearly, as research advances and experience leaches, the areas that are known grow broader or deeper.

Extensions of knowledge, while they augment our understanding, do not always enlarge the capacity for control. Particularly this holds true for our relation to nature, some of whose phenomena are alterable by man while others are not. To the latter we must adopt ourselves; the farmer we can learn to bend our will. For instance, a geologist studies the nature of earthquakes, until conceivably he may fully comprehend them. But cannot cause them or prevent their occurring. The astronomer and physicist observe the sun and planets and discover the shape and motions of the earth. Yet despite all increases in our information about heavenly phenomena, these lie entirely beyond human influence. Never shall we change the stars in their course or step the cooling of sun or prevent this earth from spinning in its orbit. In such matters, the best may open to us (in fact, the only way) is to accept the given necessities, adjust to their requirements, and design our patterns of life accordingly. In other cases, however, we are ourselves the determinants of nature, since the use we make of natural forces produces results that we have caused.( Here it is our own choice that works for our weal or woe. Though we cannot arrest a hurricane or divert a tidal wave. We can control and harness a river. We did not make the sail in which we live. But we can exhaust or restore its fertility, provoke erosion or reclaim a desert, or even, as the Dutch do, snatch land from the ocean.

Granted these facts, what does it require to relate ourselves to nature in a rational manner? Our first talk has to be an exercise of intellect. We must learn the operation of the physical forces that manifest themselves in the Universe and understand the connections of cause and effect. At an unsophisticated level, people have tried to do this by methods that are erroneous because their users are misinformed about the nature of things. A primitive man, who thinks an eclipse of the sun is the work of demons, beats a drum or sounds the temple gongs to scare away the evil spirits. He is assuming connections that do not exist. Not comprehending the cause of phenomenon, he mistakes its "cure" and believes in his own ability to influence an even our which he has no control. The leap beyond the available evidence, they take fiction for facts they assume causes and powers that are mythical. The rational method consists in acquiring accurate knowledge about physical forces and how they function, human freedom vis-a-vis nature depends on learning to conform where we must and do control where we can. Against earthquakes, building can be so constructed that they will with stand shocks more readily, serving to mitigate the danger. In other sphere, applying scientific data through technology we can navigate a ship across an ocean or fly an airplane around the globe. Further than that, we can launch a satellite into orbit around the earth and propel a rocket beyond the reach of terrestrial gravity.

Do the same considerations apply to the other part of our environment, the part that is made by man? Is the same combinations to be found here as in the physical environment? Is the social order also a mixture of the inevitable, to which we must somehow adjust and the malleable, which we can make and remake? The answers of these questions are fundamental. Upon then hinges our picture 0 social man either as float man drifting along the streams of events or as a regulator directing their flow. From then derive two views of political man as creature of his institutions or their creator. Both positions have their supporters, which indicate that there is some evidence to be argued to each side. Since we talk here about the political aspect of the man made environment, it involves, as does any attempt at systematic treatment a stories of assumptions about the nature of man and his social context.

The issues that form the context of the political process are five in number. The first concerns the members themselves. Because they are associated with the state, they must stand in some kind of relation to each other. What is that to be? Are all members placed on an equal footing? Or are some superior to the rest? The some questions may be differently phrased.( Is citizenship exclusive or all inclusive? If the former, then members of the state are divided into two groups, one having rights of full citizenship, and the other treated as inferiors or subjects. If citizenship is all inclusive, however, then everybody enjoy the same basic status without discrimination or limitation. The master principle is a regime of privilege in one case, of equality in the other.

The next issue arises from controversy over the functions that the state performs for its members. Originating in the need for protection the state has traditionally widened the sphere of its activities. The question is thus inevitably presented, whether there are or are not, any limits to what the state can effectively, and shall rightfully, undertake. On this point schools of philosophy, as well as practices of politics, have been opposed from times ancient to present. Some have held that no social activity and no group can, or should, be exempt from the jurisdiction of the state. Others maintain that somewhere a boundary line must be set within which the state may freely move, but outside of which it trespasses an alien ground.

Both the third and fourth issues deal with the subject of authority, but are occupied with different aspects of it. One is the problem of determining the source from which authority is derived. This question has become acute because the state, in order to provide services to its citizens, has needed to acquire and exercise power. Since its powers are channeled in to the hands of the government, and since the officials who compare the latter are numerically fever than the rest of the community, the relation of government to govern becomes a debatable issue. Those who govern besides claiming authority seek to justify their use of it; the governed may try to retain the ultimate control over political power. It the distribution of power within the state is conceived in terms of a pyramid, the government can be linked to the apex, and the remainder of the people to the base. Authority can then be imagined either to stein from the base and travel upward to the apex, or to originate in the apex, like goddess then in the ancient myth springing fully armed form the head of Zeus, an and flow downward to the hare, under the first line, the government would be controlled by and responsible to, the people. Under the second, the people are subject of those who govern and are duty bound to obey commands.

The query about its sources, however, is not the only fundamental issue that the existence and establishment of authority evoke. No matter where authority originates from the base of pyramid or its apex another issue concerns the manner in which authority, however derived, is subsequently organized. It is possible, on the one hand, to have power concentrated at a single focal point. Or power can be subdivided into powers that are dispersed and diffused. There can be parceled out among separate branches of the government and distributed between different levels Either the introduction of checks and balances or their removal may be rough, and the machinery of government will vary accordingly.

There remains as the fifth basic political issue the problem of magnitude with regard both to the area that the state covers and to the population it contains, and the associated problems of relations between separate states. How large or small should be the unit of government? What is the optimum size of a state? Are there limits to its dimensions that the state should not exceed? How are the independent states related? These are vexing questions in the cogitations of political theorists and the calculations of statecraft.( Since the western world has already experimented with units as diverse as the city-state, nation-state, and empire-stare, and continues to strive for few forms of international organization, it is evident that much can be learnt from comparing governments of small, middle, large, and mammoth scale and observing the patterns of interstate politics.

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