There are four main problems with this set of assumptions.nThe first is that nature is not and has not ever been static.nIt is easy to demonstrate that nature is a process ofnirreversible changes at every level of the microcosm and thenmacrocosm, both in the living world and in the world inngeneral. Among living organisms, the number of species hasnpretty steadily increased from the origin of life about fournbillion years ago until now. The complexity, hierarchicalnorganization, and neural development of the most highlynorganized species has increased over time.nIn the universe at large, there has been a steady andnirreversible increase in several crucial measures. Theyninclude its size (it has been expanding since the Big Bang),nand its age (this is not a trivial measure, since the universe atnany moment includes its own history: we are receiving lightnfrom the first-kindled stars; and the very continuity of timenhas been increasing over time, as more and more coherentnorganisms, capable of recording their own past, havenevolved). The thermodynamic entropy of the universe hasnincreased. The complexity of the temporal Vmwelt — thenregion of sensitivity and degree of freedom of a givennorganism — has increased; the definition of time required tondescribe a photon (which preexisted all the more complexnforms of matter) is much simpler than that required tondescribe a crystal, a cabbage, a girafl’e, or a human being.nThe amount of feedback or self-reference in the universenhas increased irreversibly (we will return to this issue later).nThe amount of information in the universe has increased.nThe universe has cooled down and will continue to do so.nEven the rate of all these changes has been changingnirreversibly; some of them also unpredictably.nThus the idea of “sustainability” and general homeostasisnis a profoundly unnatural goal. The universe does not,nexcept in certain temporary periods and places, sustain ornmaintain: it changes, improves, complexifies. Sexual reproduction,nto take a good example, consists of a sophisticatednand powerful mechanism to ensure that the genetic inheritancenof a species changes irreversibly: it is a system tonsubvert and disrupt sustainability and maintainability. Wenhuman beings may still want the security of sustainability:nbut we should not invoke the authority of nature to do so.nAnother problem with the idea of sustainability is thatnhuman happiness cannot consist in stasis and obedience.nElementary psychology tells us that we are sensationseekingnanimals, and that oui” brains work upon a principalnof habituation and fatigue; if we encounter the samenstimulus for a period of time (say, a ticking clock) we verynquickly discount it and cease to notice it. Stasis is thusnsensory deprivation, which is the most subtle and severenform of torture we know.nThere now exists a more sophisticated version of thenenvironmentalist position, which abandons the usual praisenof natural homeostasis and asserts that it is only in the wild,nthe wilderness areas, that nature can find its true freedom tonevolve and develop, in its naturally irreversible and unpredictablenway. This argument reverses the usual complaintnagainst human culture, that it changes things too fast, andnasserts that human culture by taming and domesticatingnnature robs it of its creative powers of metamorphosis. Thisnis a serious and interesting argument, and clearly holds somen28/CHRONICLESnnntruth that should be incorporated into the wiser environmentalismnthat is the goal of this essay. But its imagination isnlimited. For is not the disturbing, horrifying, unpredictable,ndangerous, and protean character of human culture andntechnology the wildest thing of all, the true wilderness thatnlies beyond the edge of the tamer, more serene andnself-maintaining fields of the terrestrial ecology? Is notnhuman culture as compared to the rest of nature, like ansexually-reproducing species as compared to an ambientnecology of clones?nThis reflection leads us to the second major objection tonthe cliche that is serving us so usefully as a straw man.nThat is, that the distinction it draws between the human andnthe natural is patently false.nWe are descended in a direct evolutionary line fromnnatural animal species, and are ourselves a natural species.nOur nature, certainly optimistic, transformative, activist, andnbent on propagating itself, is not unlike that of other species,nonly more so. We are what nature has always been trying tonbe, so to speak. Nor can it be objected that it is the speed atnwhich we transform ourselves and the world around us thatnis unnatural. Higher animals evolve faster than do morenprimitive organisms, as they in turn do so faster thannnon-living systems. If we take flexibility, complexity, hierarchicalnorganization, and self-referentiality as the measure,nwe may define nature as acceleration itself. For us to slowndown would, if we take nature to date as the model of whatnis natural, be an unnatural thing to do.nNot that I am necessarily advocating a continuousnindiscriminate acceleration of our activities; but any moratoriumnwe call cannot honestly be claimed to be in the namenof nature. Nor am I denying the human fact of evil actions,nboth against other human beings and against the rest ofnnature. In the old religion which serves as the tacit model fornsome aspects of current environmentalism, that evil wasnexplained by the Fall. But in that old religion there was also anwisdom that called the Fall a felix culpa, a happy fault. Thengood of knowledge, freedom, and the possibility of divinenredemption came with the darker lapsarian consequences ofndeath, guilt, and the propensity to sin. My claim is thatnnature itself, like ourselves, is fallen, is falling, and has alwaysnbeen falling, outward into the future from the initialnexplosion of the Big Bang; onward into more and morenconscious, beautiful, tragic, complex, and conflicted formsnof existence, away from the divine simplicities and stupor ofnthe primal energy-field.nThus for good and ill we are in solidarity with the rest ofnnature; and thus though there may be a vaguely good moralnintention to the injunction that humankind should live innharmony with nature, the idea is essentially incoherent.nPerhaps one might take it as a slightly stretched metaphor, asnone’s doctor might advise one to live in harmony with one’snkidney or liver, or that our brain should live in harmony withnour body.nThe third objection is to species equality. It should notnreally be necessary to argue whether a human being or annAIDS virus is more valuable, but we are forced to suchnmeasures by the assertions of some of the more extremenDeep Ecologists. These latter question our right to considernourselves more important and valuable than other species,n