I know most of you have probably heard humans/civilizations categorized as either hunter/gatherers or takers with respect to aggressive tendencies. Hunter/gatherers tend to be less aggressive while takers are more war like and tend, well, to take things from others. Takers are your conquerors and dictators.
Well, I have lately been thinking of another way to make these same broad classifications. One that not only explains aggressiveness, but also their interactions with nature. I was thinking humans should be classified as either those that view nature as something to be overcome/conquered and those that view it as something they are a part of.
Humans that see nature as something to overcome will tend to be more aggressive and destructive to the land and its people. They will view natural phenomenon such as weather, wildlife, and resources as something to be controlled and exploited, including other humans. They will feel that man is above nature and can live without it, showing little concern for the environmental messes they leave behind. Those that feel they are part of nature will be less aggressive and view the earth and its cycles as a way of life, striving to find harmony in their interactions with nature and others. They will plan their society around the rhythms of nature to minimize their impact on the world.
To me, there is a subtle difference between how I am trying to make these broad classifications and the current method. I see the old method as an expression of human interactions with other humans, while my classifications encompasses not only this interaction, but also their interaction with the world they inhabit. In addition, their attitude toward nature is also reflected in their reactions to others. Of course, we humans don’t fall neatly into two categories; however, I think these broad classifications can help people to step back and look at why people do what they do. Even with our deeply tangled personalities, some fundamental truths pertain to all of us to one degree or another.