The Laws of the land: Natural and Positive

Every text included in the syllabus for Mosaic II created deep and moving conversations on significant topics such as government, religion, human rights, and life in general. I realized that we are just natural beings living in nature, yet there is so much “fakeness” in it. There are many injustices because of rules and regulations, and sometimes it feels like there will never be any justice. Families are split up because of immigration issues. Police officers often face no punishment for murdering or hurting civilians. Some women still make less than men for performing the same job. It forced me to think about how it feels like society is masked in abstract concepts that can get distorted when applied in real life situations. At some point, we make too many rules to follow. It seems that our nature as humans doesn't always settle well with these rules because they are not natural, we create them.  I boiled this down to  two laws: natural law and positive law.  Both of these laws affect all of us; no matter our location, race, or age.  Natural law is a system of justice that is applicable to all humans because it is derived from nature and is objectively based in reason rather than prejudice created by human society.  Some natural laws are discussed in the books we read such as The Nature of Things by Lucretius.  On the other hand, positive law is made by humans rather than divine nature.  These laws are enacted within the government of a nation or state, which are also created by humans.  Positive laws and the structures they put in the place create many injustices as it just creates artificial equality through rules and regulations.  They go against nature since they are made by humans, whom can be incredibly bias, and they are usually made to benefit one person or group while punishing another.  The idea of positive law is brought up in books such as A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. This exhibit showcases photographs that may illustrate how we interact with these laws in our lives or works that evoke feelings related to them.

“…the framers of the declaration were only half aware. The proclamation of human rights was also meant to be a much-needed protection in the new era where individuals were no longer secure in the estates to which they were born or sure of their equality before God as Christians.” – Hannah Arendt, The Perplexities of the Rights of Man We've gotten to a point when rules made by authorities must be put in place to help ensure that people are treated fairly and are given "natural born" human rights. But why must people sometimes have to fight for these rights if they're natural? Students here are fighting for better treatment and a dramatic change within society in Paris in 1968. The natural law was not protected within positive laws made by their government.
“In the government of the physical world it is observable that the female in point of strength is, in general, inferior to the male. This is the law of nature; and it does not appear to be suspended or abrogated in favour of woman. A degree of physical superiority cannot, therefore, be denied – and it is a noble prerogative!” – Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman This photo shows the leader of the Women’s Suffragette movement being arrested for trying to present a petition to stand up for gender equality. Wollstonecraft explains female inferiority is "the law of nature," but this idea clearly manifests itself in positive law and society's views.
“In other words, man had hardly appeared as a completely emancipated, completely isolated being who carried his dignity within himself without reference to some larger encompassing order, when he disappeared again into a member of a people.” - Hannah Arendt, The Perplexities of the Rights of Man Most people belong to a larger group or nation. The human race has come so far as to separate different pieces of land that have their own languages, cultures, and practices. These nations also have differing societies, governments, and religions, which can create issues between different nations. This image speaks to the power of belonging to a larger group.
"Thus things that seem to perish utterly, do not. See how nature refashions one thing from another, and won't allow a birth unless it's midwived by another's death." - Lucretius, The Nature of Things In order for life to go on, death must accompany it. The sooner we accept that death is an inevitable law of nature, the easier facing it will be.
“We are made to exaggerate the importance of what work we do; and yet how much is not done by us! Or, what if we had been taken sick? How vigilant we are! Determined not to live by faith if we can avoid it; all the day long on the alert, at night we unwillingly say our prayers and commit ourselves to uncertainties. So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only we, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre.” - Henry David Thoreau, Walden This piece speaks to the monotony in daily life. People end up wasting so much time waiting. Some people also end up feeling like they are stuck in this daily ritual that they cannot escape because change is unsettling. Is this how life is really supposed to be? Is this natural?
“For if things were created out of nothing, any breed could be born from any other; nothing would require a seed. People could pop out of the sea, scaly tribes arise out of the earth, and winged birds could hatch right from the skies.” – Lucretius, The Nature of Things Relating to natural law, everything in nature fits a pattern. Nothing seems to be random, and over time species have learned to adapt to each other and their environments. Laws here are untouched by human bias or artificiality. The painting of The Minotaur exemplifies the fact that every species follows nature's distinct path made for that species.
"The former are naturally free, unconstrained and unimpeded, while the latter are frail, inferior, subject to restraint – and none of our affair.” – Epictetus Our judgement, impulse, desire, aversion and mental faculties are naturally free and in our control. Our body, material possessions and reputation are out of our control because they are judged or affected by society and the biases we as humans create. When we learn to follow natural law and let go of what we cannot control, we will be free.
After the readings this semester, I questioned whether political law was part of our nature as humans. If a planet just like ours began somewhere else in the universe and civilizations grew there, would those people end up creating nations, governments, and religions just like we have? Is it just a part of human potential to create these things, and would "history repeat itself?" Is the potential for political laws a part of natural law?
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