The notion of environment is very interesting to me. The dictionary simply defines it as "that which surrounds". We often think of the physical environment of earth, with its biological, geophysical, geochemical, and astrophysical components.
I think of the millions of years of evolution that have lead to us here and now, and the many levels of processes that have occurred in that process.
Those levels include the chemical, physic, mathematical, astronomical, and others.
The chemical includes the enzyme control of processes within living organisms, the development of ribosomes, leading to the development of information stored in the ribonucleic family of molecules... The processes of rock and sea formation...
The physical includes the uplift and movement of earth via plate tectonics, erosion, circulation patterns in rock, water and air, etc.
The mathematical include the concept of evolution, the effect of subtle and not so subtle changes on the payoffs of particular strategies, leading to ever more specialised developments, games theory, the Theory of Moves (TOM), etc.
The astronomical includes the evolution of our galaxy and our solar system, the effects of comets and meteors from space on the evolution of life, and more recently on the development of human culture. The possible effects of encounters with more exotic extra terrestrial stuff, like small black holes, neutronium, interstellar gravels, dark matter etc, as is hinted at in the geological record.
To me the physical environment isn't some static thing to be preserved.
It is a diverse and dynamic thing, that we are part of. Extinction has played a big part in evolution at many stages, yet we would be wise to keep extinctions to a minimum (history shows that when they happen in clumps, they tend to effect all species).
I like the idea of keeping substantial areas of ecosystems in a pre-technology state (as much as is economically possible). We are dependent on our physical and biological environment in ways that are as yet only poorly understood, and it would be powerful for all individuals to consider all such things before doing anything to their environment.
Much the same can be said about our social and technical environments.
Many of our social customs exist because they have worked since before recorded history. Such evolved knowledge is ignored at our peril.
I do not advocate being bound by custom, and I do advise to give history and custom substantial consideration. Do not ignore it. Consider it wisely. Break it if you must, and be quite certain that you must.
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