“Becoming a geophysical force on a planetary scale means that no matter what you think about it, no matter whether you are aware of it or not, there you are, being that… One cannot be hubristic about one’s heartbeat or autonomic nervous system.” (22)
The intersection of happy nihilism and hubris is where, Morton argues, our views of nature have been all along. It’s a strange and deadly combination, where simply the existence or our consciousness translates to inherent goodness. We understand that this is happening now– but that’s enough, right? We now understand, we are conscious, and our importance as humans makes us see our passive consciousness as goodness. This translates to happy nihilism and apathy for the sheer amount of work requires to transcend this nihilism, hubris, and apathy is astronomical. To conceptualize the magnitude of the Earth and the existence of different time scales is a large task for humans, and we have never seemed to grasp the ability to see past ourselves and our bodies and our creations.
Morton brings this back thousands of years, arguing that this passivity and hubris is not a new concept, but one that is finally destroying our world and directly affecting our futures. Even Nature, the ultimate wildness, freedom, was destroyed after the birth of agriculture. We locked Nature into a box and created what it is now, – small “n” nature- partitioning and sectioning and molding it into what we need for our uses.
“The ecological value of the term Nature is dangerously overrated, because Nature isn’t just a term– it’s something that happened to human-built space, demarcating human systems from Earth systems. Nature as such is a twelve-thousand-year-old human product, geological as well as discursive.” (58) We are so constrained by our contemporary thoughts and ways of looking at the world, thousands of years of agriculture and molding our world to the human way of life– the human-flavored world, if you will. That’s all we see. That’s all that nature is to us– a product of us, a commodity utilized by humanity. Not even nature is truly Nature.