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Essay on Capitalism Destroys Nature and Human Nature

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Following the development of capitalism, the 19th century’s industrialization brought a new era to the human society. Factory electrification, mass production and the production line ran to human civilization with their powers. While people were excited about the innovations of capitalism, Herbert Marcuse gave his argument, which capitalism destroyed nature and the human nature. Edward Hopper (1882-1967), a prominent American realist painter and printmaker, also showed his personal perspective about the modern American life under capitalism through his artworks. The painting Nighthawks, which was painted in 1942 by Edward Hopper, reflects Marcuse’s argument that capitalism destroys the human nature through emotions of people and color contrasts.
In “Nature and Revolution”, Marcuse tells us that capitalism destroys external nature and human nature. External nature is our environment. Marcuse mentions, nature is a part of history, “man encounters nature as transformed by society, subjected to a specific rationality which became, to an ever-increasing extent, technological, instrumental rationality, bent to the requirements of capitalism” (260). That is, human beings force nature to become tools for the purpose of the development. The increasing of technology and industrialization transform nature into man-controlled resources. In order to achieve the growth of human society, nature has been transformed from nature into an environment for the human beings. To specify his argument, he writes, “Commercialized nature, polluted nature, militarized nature cut down the life environment of man, not only in an ecological but also in a very existential sense” (260). From this quote, he explains that nature has lost its origins in a visible le...


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...ert Marcuse argues that capitalism destroys natural environment and human nature, Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks reflects Marcuse’s argument that capitalism destroys nature through color contrasts and the unnatural environment; it also echoes Marcuse’s argument that capitalism destroys the human nature through emotionless people. While the growth of capitalism brings new technology to human society, the dehumanized power starts to destroy nature and human nature. Indeed, civilization brings human society up to a new level. Yet, the way of the growth destroys our natural environment and human nature. We should find a better way of expansion that can keep developing and protecting nature at a same time.



Works Cited

Marcuse, Herbert. "Nature and Revolution." The Continental Aesthetics Reader. Ed. Clive
Cazeaux. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2011. 258-269. Print.



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