A reflection on nature, humankind, and machine by the Architecture National Institute President and Listone Giordano Brand Manager.
We know that among the characteristics of Man – a dominant species that appeared just a handful of thousands of years ago on the face of a planet that had already made a few billion rotations around the Sun – is his egocentric outlook, which to a lazily unchanging self-consciousness, opposes instead the rapid and profound transformation of everything perceived as its surroundings.
Throughout our evolution, we have gradually responded to the emerging needs – for food, residence, mobility, social interaction – with scientific, technological and industrial achievements, which have enabled us to greatly modify the external environment, while remaining as similar to ourselves as possible, that is, adhering to our primal physiognomy and nature.
Carefully avoiding crossing the boundaries – progressively enlarged – of our comfort zone, we have shunned any urgency in dealing with changes in the way we think, feel and act. But today it seems clear that it will instead be precisely the rapid modification of mindsets and behaviors, much more than the imposition of regulatory limits, that will be the only effective tool to deal with the climate crisis and its effects. Which invest not so much the future of our planet but the survival of our species on the planet, which is a far more vivid and cogent issue.
Irrefutable data flash in front of our eyes and send out a clear alarm signal: the prospect of witnessing, already in the course of the current century, the transformation of a substantial part of the globe – the one in which more than two billion people live today – into uninhabitable or at least inhospitable territory appears increasingly concrete, with all that this may entail in terms of access to food resources and new migratory flows, or social tensions and conflicts. To cope with this risk, a decisive change of course is required.
That means that we need to redefine our expectations, our idea of urbanized life, our established habits of travel, production and circulation of goods, the way we build, heat and cool, feed and care for ourselves.
We need to reposition in the immense organigram of living things the role of plants and animals, or rather, other animals. And to remember that it is not just a matter of reconnecting – through the ingenious twisting of a Mobius tape – the seemingly opposing sides of Man and Nature, following the invitation formulated already half a century ago by a visionary artist like Joseph Beuys. But rather to recognize and shout out loud, with the uninhibited spontaneity of the child, that in fact the king is naked and always has been: there is merely Nature, with Man inside.
Re-defining, re-designating limits – that is, redrawing – becomes in essence the key step, the strategic action to be taken to embark on the path of change.