Summer 2016 Imagery-Nature EXPOSED
The word “nature” comes from the Latin word, “natura,” meaning birth or character. In English its first recorded use (in the sense of the entirety of the phenomena of the world) was in 1266 A.D.. “Natura”, and the personification of Mother Nature, was widely popular in the Middle Ages. As a concept, seated between the properly divine and the human, it can be traced to Ancient Greece though Earth (or “Eorthe” in the Old English period) may have been personified as a goddess. The Norse also had a goddess called Jord(or Earth).
Algonquian legend says that “beneath the clouds lives the Earth-Mother from whom is derived the Water of Life, who at her bosom feeds plants, animals and human” (Larousse 428). She is also known as Nakomis, the Grandmother.
In Inca mythology, Mama Pacha or Pachamama is a fertility goddess who presides over planting and harvesting. Pachamama is usually translated as “Mother Earth” but a more literal translation would be “Mother Universe” (in Aymara and Quechua mama = mother / pacha = world, space-time or the universe). Pachamama and her husband, Inti, are the most benevolent deities and are worshiped in parts of the Andean mountain ranges (stretching from present day Ecuador to Chile and Argentina).
Enlightenment beliefs rooted themselves in reason and logic. The leaders of the Enlightenment believed that the knowledge must be widely known and must be pondered. Nature was analogous to God, however, and could not be examined. The believers and leaders of the Enlightenment had to separate nature from God. This led to the feminization of nature, the creation of the word: Mother Nature. Boyle suggested that examination of man is an examination of God. Therefore, nature had to be converted to woman, “a great…pregnant automation” to be examined. Bacon suggests that a man must inquisite truth through penetrating into these holes and corners, a sexual metaphor that feminizes nature. When nature was feminized and degraded, Carolyn Merchant suggests that it made possible for people to exploit and study it. Hence, the words “mother nature” come into play. These scientists utilized
to create a feminized nature —mother nature— so that it could be studied and exploited.
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Photographer : Doug Worrall