Nature: Beautiful or destructive? Almost every entity in this universe has an opposite. Amongst some examples are the opposite of cold is hot, the opposite of water is fire, love of hate, and beauty of destruction. This idea can even be explained by the theories of science, such as Newton’s 3rdLaw, which states, “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. ” Also, there is the famous phrase used between married couples and lovers: “Opposites attract. ” In some relationships, two completely different individuals can complete each other with their different qualities and life experiences as to make a marriage whole and harmonious.
So, in this universe, everything runs on two different ends of the spectrum. Nature follows this parallel of opposites as well. Nature possesses beauty and the ability to cause destruction. A person might ask, “How can something so beautiful also be so terrifying and destructive? ” In Anne Dillard’s “Jest and Earnest,” Dillard attempts to discuss this very quality of nature and its components, along with the purpose of nature and its process of creation and death. Nature is an entity that possesses both beauty and destruction, both of which must work together to maintain the harmony of nature, through the process of creation and death.
Dillard illustrates many examples of the co-existence of destruction and beauty in nature. First, she describes her visit to an island where she witnesses many frogs in a pond. The frog seems like a normal one with wide, dull eyes. However, right in front of her eyes, she watches as the frog “slowly crumpled and began to sag. (Dillard). ”And she goes on to describe the process of the frog dying in more detail. Here, Dillard emphasizes the process of creation and death in nature. Creation can be equated with beauty, whereas death is usually linked to destruction.
Next, Dillard described the experience of the giant water bug, which is an enormous, heavy-bodied brown beetle. The food it eats is tadpoles, insects, fish, and frogs. She went on to describe the process of how it kills its victim by injecting enzymes during a vicious bite that paralyze its prey. The giant water bug Dillard saw was sucking the life out of the poor frog! These are just a few of the examples Dillard gave to illustrate the dual identity of nature. Dillard went further to make a connection with the purpose of nature, its creation and beauty, and its death and destruction.
She related these ideas to the holy book of the Muslims, the Qur’an, in which Allah asks, “The heaven and the earth and all in between, thinkest thou I made them in jest? ” Dillard mentions that this is a good question, which shows her interest in the purpose of nature and its components. By this verse from the holy Qur’an, she is speculating that everything in this universe is created and destroyed for a reason and it all fits into a bigger picture to create harmony in the end.
These verses from the Qur’an reinstate Dillard’s suggestion that everything is created for a purpose and not made from jest. This chapter from the Qur’an seeks to make the reader understand the seriousness of nature and how everything follows a due course and is interrelated. How can someone believe in all the complex processes and parts of nature without believing that it was God that created all this? People in current society tend to overlook the small things in life that are around us, because we take everything for granted.
But have we ever admired nature for its pure beauty? Granted, there are destructive qualities in nature, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and volcanoes. This comes back to the idea of opposites. God has created beautiful things in nature, but those same things can become destructive. For instance, animals such as sharks and sting rays display immense beauty through their sleek, slender bodies, yet with one bite or swipe of their tail they could kill anything in sight, even a human being.
However, there are some things in nature that are purely beautiful and harmless, such as butterflies and coral reefs which are so beautiful with their intricate designs and many colors. Nature has an intrinsic order to maintain the idea of nature’s dual identity. For example, the lion is one animal that is labeled the “king of the jungle. ” It possesses so much beauty, enough to make one awe-struck. It stands tall with a full head of hair, and is ready to take on anyone and anything. The lion has so much beauty and power that it becomes destructive, to the point where it can attack, eat, and kill man.
The lion has an aura of beauty about it, almost as if to render it untouchable, because its beauty is so destructive as well. Someone may get lured in by the lion’s beauty, which could lead to their death. At the same time, the lion has been made the king of the jungle for a reason. The lion maintains order by being at the top of the food chain. This comes back to the point that God has made everything for a purpose and a certain order, and not out of jest. We must realize this and the fact that even humans can be subject to the danger of the lion though we consider it below us.
God has also created things that are both beautiful and destructive at the same time, to illustrate the purpose of each and further show the necessity of opposites to achieve harmony. The question that arises in the end is whether nature can possess the qualities of both beauty and destruction, and creation and death all at the same time. Some may say that this is too ironic of an idea. However, after delving further into this idea, an individual eventually comes to the conclusion that these qualities must either co-exist or follow each other.
Life is a cycle of creation and beauty, and death and destruction. For death to take place, creation must first occur. Dillard touches on this fact by her example of the crumpling frog and her illustration of its death. It was fine when suddenly it crumpled, its skin sagged, and it eventually withered and died. Through this illustration and the idea of beauty and destruction in nature, one should start to realize the intricate pattern and design of life and that nature and its components were all created for a reason.
The concept of beauty and destruction in nature should serve as a wake-up call to everyone to show that life is a process which is planned and created by God. The perfect example of an entity that possesses beauty, the ability to destroy, and an intricate blueprint is us: humans. We are the prime example of God’s creation. It is true that it’s not a good thing that we are both beautiful and have the capability to cause destruction, but that is part of the human struggle: to overcome our destructive nature and still maintain our beauty.