“Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere.” (from Pascal’s Pensées (1670) Frag 230)[i]   


Our biological understanding of Maslow’s hierarchy of motivational needs makes a similar intuitive assumption: At the “base” of a hierarchy of needs is PHYSIOLOGY:  As emphasized in our overview of NEEDS, the base need for any organism is its machinery for extracting energy from the environment and channeling it in ways that serve its life: How “organismsorgan systemsorganscells, and biomolecules carry out the chemical and physical functions that keep an organism alive and enable it to prosper—grow and reproduce.  It involves communications between cells and systems and the maintenance of balance—in part by managing the availability of needed resources, particularly as circumstances change and different systems require more or less resources.  

In the aggregate these are reflected in our HEALTH (see A&O notes on Physiology)

Usually the maintenance of good health is thought of in terms of these physiological phenomena—but we now know there is a much closer relationship between one’s environment, and implicit as well as explicit experience: states of mind and physiological functioning.

The experience of nature ranges from the sublime to the divine, comfort, love, and fear—all states of mind that affect one’s quality of life but also one’s health in unexpected ways. [This is reflected in the phenomenologically relevant idea of embodied cognition].  .

There is a rapidly emerging understanding of how being in (or more aware of) nature meets biological needs.


[i] Blaise Pascal, from Pensées, acollection of fragments of writing published in 1670 after his death. Often regarded as “the most brilliant of all defenses of religious faith against skepticism — such as the skepticism that might arise from the new scientific discoveries.” An excerpted from fragment 230, “Disproportion of man.”