Learning from Nature

The Western tendency is to interpret the idea of “learning from nature” as something Darwinian, a notion from Spenser or Hobbes suggesting competition and violence. Nature is seen as “red in tooth and claw,” subject to the principle of “survival of the fittest.”

This is all a projection of Western thinkers ascribing motives to Nature. But understood in a different way — influenced by Eastern thought — Nature is that non-sentient if not inanimate, set of features we experience as mysterious, self-sufficient, reflecting the infinite wisdom of the universe, and from which an unagitated person can “learn”: the sky and stars, the course of water, the lofty and silent trees, the morning glory.