On the Built Society and Balance with Nature

Taking it then for granted, that no person ought to be in a worse condition when born under what is called a state of civilization, than he would have been, had he been born in a state of nature, and that civilization ought to have made, and ought still to make, provision for that purpose, it can only be done by subtracting from property a portion equal in value to the natural inheritance it has absorbed.”
-Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice

We live, most of us, generally detached from nature, in what Paine calls here a “state of civilization”.  For many this detachment provides food, warmth, and shelter from the vagaries of nature’s whim. But detachment comes with a price, and what is taken from nature in order to serve “civilization” must ultimately strike a balance.

Civilization – the built society – must not only take from nature, but also respect the natural world upon which it depends, and give back from whence it took.

Otherwise and increasing number in society will live neither a civilized or natural life. Until, one day, nature has wholly reclaimed what was taken from it, and the grand schemes of Man have withered back into the Earth.

2 thoughts on “On the Built Society and Balance with Nature

  1. It is said that we are in a severe balance-of-payments deficit with the Earth, and that the bill is about to come due.

    We cannot, of course, pay even a part of it, so the foreclosure terms will undoubtedly be harsh ones.

  2. When talking about a state of nature he talks about a life without government, not about nature in the sense of the woods

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