Alienation and Nature
The Final Paper is a discussion of the relationships between the contemporary human, religious belief, and nature. The following question should guide your paper:
“Is the contemporary human fundamentally alienated from nature?”
Defend your answer to this question, and propose a course of action in response. If you believe most people today are alienated from nature, then
analyze the root cause of the alienation, and
defend your own solution for overcoming alienation.
On the other hand, if you believe most people today are not alienated from nature, then
defend a hypothesis about why so many people falsely think we are alienated, and
determine how you would convince them that we are not alienated.
Notice that the overarching question of alienation leads to other questions. As you think about your response to this prompt, consider using the following questions to guide your analysis and arguments. You need not answer all of them in writing, but it will be impossible to write a good paper if you have not at least thought through these issues.
What causes human separation from nature?
How ought the human spirit respond to nature and dwell within it?
What does it mean to say that something is natural, and how does the human fit into the larger web of natural relationships?
How does spirituality or religion lead to more harmony or greater fragmentation of the human with nature?
If we are still connected with nature, what are the attributes of those who are able to exist within nature while also dwelling within our technology-dependent society?
If we are not connected with nature, what are the attributes of our social, political, familial, and natural relationships that force such fragmentation?
What is the most appropriate ethical relationship the human ought to have with nature?
What are concrete methods humans can use to reconnect with nature or enhance their growing relationship with nature?
Are there some cultures that naturally connect more with nature? If so, what might we learn from those cultures if we are not part of them?
As you write your paper, explain your thesis about the primary topic. Think about how you will defend your position. Present arguments that support your own position while also engaging arguments that others might use to attempt to refute your position. Try to objectively put yourself in the place of someone who disagrees with your position and address the concerns of the other positions using factual evidence and logical reasoning. Remember that it is not enough to merely state the position. You must defend each position with evidence and argumentation.