The Dialectical Model In Comparative Perspective

2373 words - 9 pages

Mankind has not always isolated itself from nature. For the majority of his history, man recognized a need for a dependent and intimate relationship with nature. Nature was his provider and caretaker, a benevolent nurturer intending no harm, a model now known as organic. As the human mind began to increasingly fashion matter to fit its purpose, however, technological innovation began to supplant nature as manís perceived source of sustenance. Thus technology began its ongoing ascent, becoming a means to subdue a primitive nature and raise man above his lowly origins. In short, a new hierarchical model of nature coalesced. Nevertheless, this relatively new paradigm could not entirely displace its predecessor, which evolved into an impotent longing embodied in the pastoral model. Human beings oscillate in their desires for these dominant models of nature, each possessing appeal within appropriate contexts. This underlying struggle suggests their inadequacy as singularly accurate depictions of nature, and a third model must replace these outdated modes of thinking. The dominant models serve as guides to this third model; a few modifications of their flaws actually help form its foundation. This model is known as the dialectical model, and consists of a unity of all opposites and entities. While every model of nature seeks to engender a proper appreciation of nature, many are inconsistent on this point; this observation explains why they must generally suppress all others. The dialectical model attempts to remove such a need by discarding the notion of an independent human existence. By analyzing these models through history and contemporary examples, the dialectical model emerges as a resolution of many inconsistencies in previous models of nature.

Pastoralism is perhaps the most deeply rooted and persuasive model of nature. This model is a direct descendent of the early organic view of nature, which identified nature with a nurturing mother (Merchant 2). The roots of pastoralism can conceivably be traced back as far as manís search for paradise in nature, a concept that has persisted since man first consciously valued nature in terms of his own survival (Nash 8). This tendency plants a seed of discontent in the human mind towards civilization and its artificial impositions on daily life. As Ralph Waldo Emerson commented, man is repelled by ìthe poorness of our invention, the ugliness of towns and palacesî (422). People often find the human influence to be a corrupting and impure defilement of nature, a realm from which escape occasionally becomes necessary. Thus, when placed in the appropriate context, advertisements can tap a wealth of positive sentiment and unconscious nostalgia by associating products with this pastoral model of nature.

One such attempt is embodied in an advertisement for Marlboro Lights cigarettes. This two-page spread features a range of snow-capped mountains against a cloud-free blue sky, laced with rows of trees...

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