For thousands of years, people were as familiar with insects, rivers, plants, animals and the soil as we are today with brands, apps and Netflix shows. All living beings were seen as interconnected and sharing the same essence or spirit. This way of seeing the world is called animism. For the Stoics, God and matter were synonymous. Not just beings, but matter itself was divine.
With Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the father of modern science, this changed. Bacon called for the domination of nature. And Descartes – clever as he was – realised that we can only justify dominating nature, if it was rendered lifeless. He sliced humans and the rest of the world into two. This came to be known as dualism. And his theory of matter came to be known as a mechanical philosophy.
This view allowed us to objectify everything non-human (beings and matter) and even other humans. It also allowed us to think of nature as something external. And because it’s external, we can exploit, destroy and marginalise her.