In “The State Of Nature,” no one is a vegan. But that’s not where we are.
1. GrenDel’s Time
Grendel defines himself in contrast to man, and man defines himself in contrast to Grendel. This could actually be phrased in a few different ways. As Grendel is told from Grendel’s point of view, I could say, “Grendel lets man define himself in contrast to Grendel based on how Grendel treats man.” Etc.
Grendel, in some ways, is a stand-in for nature – pointless, meaningless, accidental, the logic of chance; destructive with the option of merciful, with death at the end. So it could really be said “Nature lets man define himself in contrast to Nature.”
There’s a bit in Grendel where he watches mankind build up civilization to a certain point. But only a certain point. So what about now?
2. 21st Century Time
Disregarding Beowulf wasting Grendel by ripping his arms off, man stands in a precarious spot to nature. I know some people that you may have heard of either disagree or willfully don’t give a shit, but it’s true. There’s trash all over the place, and sometimes you’re standing on it and sometimes you work inside of it. And sometimes you eat it.
If we define ourselves in contrast to nature nowadays, then I’m not really sure what that says or means. I live in New York City – my tap water comes out with a thick, cloudy, white, bubbly shroud in it that eventually dissipates. But if I take the time to taste the water at any point, I’m pretty sure I taste chlorine.
Following that – it’s the view of liberals everywhere that we’re ruining the planet. Given how my water is, and the fact that I grew up with the empirical knowledge that Puget Sound smells like a septic tank, I guess I agree. So we’re all ruining the planet; like 98% of human beings on the planet are responsible (I’m sure far less than that know it). What does that make us – really?
I don’t know. I also don’t know what that makes nature. I have no doubt that it makes nature a fan of the sneak attack. My favorite people I’ve met on the whole planet so far are the ones where you think they’re stupid, naive, ignorant rednecks when really they’re intelligent, mindful, worldly metropolitan types (or vise versa). It’s ultimately a sign of amazing variation, but in a way, their true strength is their sneak attack. Let me believe one thing, slowly unveil the truth. Nature’s similar – it’s sneak is that it’s a killer. After we’re long gone, the Earth will still be here.
3. Yours & My Time
Mankind can define himself collectively (and sexistly, as I’ve now proven, man) but can an individual define himself individual when his fellow genus-species is fucking the place up for everyone (and everything)? I don’t know, but sometimes I’d like to think so. Sometimes it could make some kind of difference to stand up on some high-ish stand and say, “It’s all goin down anyway, but when it does, you can count me out!”
Probably not. But you could hypothesize that the planet is being ruined, and it’s by us, then that’s no time to let idealism fall. You can still act to the best of your ability, by being mindful of how you act, how you think, what you consume, and all that great stuff.
“Man is defined in contrast to nature.” This doesn’t have to be true. Man can be a part of nature. Indeed, I think man is a part of nature. Man actually likes to think that he’s apart, defined in contrast, by how special he is and how he stands out – superior intellect, which will soon bring his end. It doesn’t have to be that way.