Nature is Satan’s church
– from Antichrist by Lars Von Trier
I listened to an interview with Lars Von Trier where he talks about fear of nature and nature as evil.
It is an interesting topic, and one that is rooted in the cultural distrust of nature in Europe and some other places, and also in our evolution.
From a science view, it is obviously not true. We can say that nature is brutal (although that is also an interpretation), but evil is a moral judgment and nature is a-moral.
Also, we know that what appears brutal to individuals looks quite different from a larger view. Life is born from death at all levels. Death of stars gives birth to new solar systems and all the elements that makes up this planet and ourselves. Death of species gives room for new – and often more evolved – species. Death of individuals gives room for new individuals. Death and eating of plants and/or animals gives life to the one eating. Life – including our own life – depends all around on death. Without death, no life.
And we can even say that what appears as brutal in nature is really (no-nonsense) love. Death of individuals and species is the mechanism that allows for the survival of other individuals and species, and what allows for evolution as a whole.
From a psychological view, seeing nature as evil is obviously projection.
It is a projection of stories – of imagination – onto nature. It is a projection of qualities that are right here, and often excluded from our conscious identity, onto nature.
And it all comes from taking stories as true. Stories about ourselves (I am this, not that). Stories about what our own qualities and characteristics mean (this is good, that is bad). Stories about what nature is (nature is good, nature is bad).
From a spiritual view, we can say that all is the play of God.
It is reality (the Universe, God) exploring itself in always new ways – whether it appears to us as evolution, projections, brutality or any other way.
And from a recognition of no-self, we see that there was never any “I” anywhere that was hurt or suffered. There is what appears as species, individuals, brutality, suffering and so on, and all that appears through an overlay of imagined boundaries and interpretations. But it is all the play of the divine mind, of awake no-thing appearing as something. Inherently free from any I with an Other anywhere. No-one was ever hurt.
And part of that play is temporarily taking it all as real and substantial through taking our own imagined overlay as true. And also to take suffering seriously and do what we can do alleviate it in ourselves and others.
Footnote: A distrust of nature obviously comes from culture, from our interpretations. We have an evolutionary/biological predisposition to fear certain things in nature. This fear itself is innocent, but if we see it as wrong and something that shouldn’t be there, we can go further and imagine that nature is wrong as well – and even evil.
Say I fear darkness, pain or death. I can recognize that fear as natural and understandable from an evolutionary view. It is what has helped my ancestors to survive. I can even find genuine appreciation and gratitude for that fear, and allow the experience of fear as just another experience. But I can also respond to that fear with more fear. I can tell myself stories that makes me fear fear. One step further into confusion, and I make fear wrong. Another step, and I make nature wrong for triggering that fear. And after several steps of confusion, nature suddenly appears evil to me, as it does for some of us – such as Von Trier.
– lars von trier
– fear of nature / nature as evil
– interesting to explore
– three areas: nature, projections, play of God
– from a science view, obviously not true
– brutal, not “evil”
– life born from death (at all levels)
– evolution = love (appears brutal to individuals at times)
– also, projection
– beliefs, shadow etc.
– play of God
– reality/universe/God exploring itself in always new ways, in as much diversity as possible, through evolution
It comes from taking a story as true, which appears as shadow and projections.