Rhetoric Binds Humans to Nature

“Allies for Plants and People”

Heliotropism: the directional growth of a plant in response to sunlight. Plants have an inherent ability to always be reaching for the sun. Even the succulents that I have beside me on the windowsill are reaching towards the window. No matter where a plant is, it will always be stretching toward the light. Why? The answer is very simple, plants need food to survive, the sun allows photosynthesis to occur, photosynthesis gives plants food. It is a very linear relationship. Alternatively, you can view it like the plants are being persuaded by the sunlight to move toward it, a pull relationship, not a push. This is rhetoric.

We, humans, experience the same pull relationship that plants experience with the sun. As in we are being persuaded throughout our daily lives in the same way that plants are persuaded to make food for themselves. There might be an outcry from you all that there is no way plants and humans experience the same kind of rhetoric, but as John Muckelbauer said, “allowing for the possibility of flattening out the nature-culture distinction is fundamental to this field.” We aren’t entirely different from plants in the fact that we identify a need (sun), we move towards that need (heliotropism), and then we fulfill that need (photosynthesis).

More often than I care to admit, I am caught up in the hustle and bustle of human life. I stress about finals in college, I worry about paying rent, and I even get stressed at work. These are not uncommon things to worry about in your life, but it definitely differs from the way we were created. We have created a completely artificial world for ourselves that seemingly is not connected to nature in any way, but if you look deep to our roots, you can see evidence that we once were completely intertwined with nature. To know that we share 98.8% of our DNA with that of a chimp (AMNH), is baffling. In a sense, a measly 1.2% separates all of human existence- The Great Pyramids, towering cities, and complete manipulation of our environment- from throwing shit at each other in the trees.

The way that humans evolved to have opposable thumbs and learned to dominate our surrounding area is the same evolutionary process that created heliotropism. How is that possible? It is because we are all concretely interconnected with not only every person on this planet but also all of nature and the surrounding environment. This isn’t some kind of crazy revolutionary idea, the idea of a ‘Kincentric Ecology’ has existed with indigenous people for centuries and further proves that we as a planet are all interconnected (Salmon). One of the forces that are able to connect us together, is the way we experience rhetoric. We are all in a pull relationship with rhetoric with the idea that there is an ‘XYZ’ or cause and effect relationship with the way we meet our own needs.

Heliotropism is just one word for what we all experience on a daily basis. The more that we can realize that, the easier it is to understand not a whole lot separates us from nature. Everyone gets caught up with life, and it's by our own design. It is easy to get stressed out and worry about materialistic things, but if we all come to the realization that we are all connected through rhetoric in the same way that people and plants are connected through heliotropism, the happier you can be. In a world that is so complicated, it is easy to focus on what makes us different when in reality, we need to focus on how we are all connected.

Works Cited

“Allies for Plants and People.” Perennial Collective, 8 June 2018, perennialcollective.com/blogs/news/allies-for-plants-and-people.

AMNH. “Comparing Chimp, Bonobo and Human DNA: AMNH.” American Museum of Natural History, www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/human-origins/understanding-our-past/dna-comparing-humans-and-chimps#:~:text=But%20for%20a%20clear%20understanding,98.8%20percent%20of%20their%20DNA.

Muckelbauer, John. Implicit Paradigms of Rhetoric Aristotelian, Cultural, and Heliotropic . static1.squarespace.com/static/53713bf0e4b0297decd1ab8b/t/5c336f9dc2241b51a94e1091/1546874784369/muckelbauer_implicit_paradigms_of_rhetoric.pdf.

Salmon, Enrique. “Kincentric Ecology.” ESA, 2000, www.fws.gov/nativeamerican/pdf/tek-salmon-2000.pdf.