The Inescapable Anthropocentrism

The way I see it, there is no way to escape the anthropocentrism when designing with the land. Let’s take a cold hard look at the concept of a better world without human beings. A world that allegedly is much better than a world full of humans could be. I think this world that lacks human beings is a construct in the mind of human beings, an ideal that cannot even be contemplated without a human brain.

While it is certain that our activities are not always aligned with patterns that emerge in nature, let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater in our search for the ideal mother earth. There is a reason why if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it does not make a sound. It’s an age old riddle that has two answers that are equally valid. Yes the tree does make a sound because physics instructs us that anything falling with that kind of mass in an atmosphere like ours must make a sound. No the tree does not make a sound because no one was around to corroborate the experience and communicate it to others.

The fact of the matter is, there is no real tangible benefit to viewing our existence here as hopelessly antagonistic. This type of riddle is along the same lines as the tree falls in the woods. Both answers are equally valid, yet we come to understand that this is a purely theoretical exercise. Yes, a planet without humans would indeed be without the antagonistic qualities wrought by humans. No, the planet would not be better because there is no one to determine if it is or not anyway.

Therefore, if we are to really start getting into the tangible meat of how to design more ecologically, it is always going to be one that is anthropocentric. It is utterly an inescapable aspect of how we view any system to be managed. I exist here on this planet, and I have needs that are met by the environment which means I have this fundamental, inescapable affect on the environment. Not only that, but when I look into the land it looks back at me. The environment has a fundamental, inescapable affect on me. Which leads me to the conclusion that it will take understanding the patterns within myself just as much as the patterns within the environment to do good design.

I exist here and there is no reason I will contemplate a world without me, I will design with the land, together.

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