Cosmos, which is the name of colorful flowers that bloom in autumn, is also a word that denotes the universe (or world), and the word comes from a Greek word that means order and harmony.

Cosmos flowers were so named because of the beauty in the orderly arrangement of their petals.

Order can be sensed not only from the petals, but also from the sight of clusters of cosmoses growing all over fields.

A haiku by Fusako Mogi goes to this effect, “Looking at cosmoses/ I, too, am swaying.”

It is a happy moment, indeed, when you are surrounded by flowers or trees and feel as if you have become one with them.

It is believed that the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who believed in the harmonious and orderly nature of the universe, used the word cosmos to denote the universe. Incidentally, one antonym of cosmos is chaos.

It appears that humans have created chaos, not cosmos, for Mother Nature.

The Anthropocene, an expression we have begun hearing often, sums up the process of nature’s drastic makeover by humans.

Plastics that do not degrade naturally are destroying the ecosystem while greenhouse gases raise sea levels.

It was French philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) who wrote, “Man is a reed, the weakest of nature, but he is a thinking reed.”

But as long as man continues the violent act of environmental destruction, calling himself a reed may constitute a form of identity fraud.

What of the “thinking” part? We humans have overstepped nature’s bounds, so to speak, but we cannot merely stop being human.

Our only alternative is to keep thinking how to be in harmony with nature and what each of us can do.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Sept. 27

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.

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VOX POPULI: Human actions causing chaos, not harmony in the environment

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27.09.2022

Cosmos, which is the name of colorful flowers that bloom in autumn, is also a word that denotes the universe (or world), and the word comes from a Greek word that means order and harmony.

Cosmos flowers were so named because of the beauty in the orderly arrangement of their petals.

Order can be sensed not only from the petals, but also from the sight of clusters of cosmoses growing all over fields.

A haiku by Fusako Mogi goes to this effect, “Looking at cosmoses/ I, too, am........

© The Asahi Shimbun


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