Landscape The term "Landscape" as most westerners use it is completely entrenched in western notions of land, nature and art. It is generally only conceived of in terms of an emerging post-Rennaisance dichotomy of nature vs. culture or pristine vs. mundane and contaminated. Alternatively, the genesis of the western concept of landscape is tied to the discovery of linear perspective and map-making. It is not true, however, that understandings of landscape, even within western culture, are necessarily formed around concepts of untouched nature or which locate the observer (as in the trope of the painted landscape) outside of the picture, the landscape itself. For many people, the dense mesh of city buildings is their landscape and their art may reflect this. For others, human intervention in the natural world may be seen as the ideal environment and "visual pleasure" may be brought about by views of cleared tracts of land juxtaposed with threatening wilderness. The actual word "Landscape" is derived from the Dutch, "Landschap" or German "'Landschaft' meaning a sheaf, a patch of cultivated ground, something small-scale that corresponded to a peasant's perception, a mere fragment of a feudal estate, an inset in a Breugel landscape. This usage had gone out of vogue by the eleventh century, replaced by words that corresponded to the larger political spaces of those with power - territoire, pays, domain. And then in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it re-emerged, tightly tied to a particular 'way of seeing', a particular experience, whether in pictures, extolling nature or landscaping an estate." (B. Bender in Landscape: Politics and Perspectives 1995:2) Through tracing the history of the term we come to see that even within the realm of art, it is tied to politics and power of conceptual organization, ownership and perspective. That landscape painting as form of representation was established in 15th century Italy and Flanders was due to new politics of vision. In fact, landscape, be it used to describe a genre of painting or the world we locate ourselves within, is never empty, never just a 'vista'. And, equally as significantly, never only experienced visually.
Landscape refers to the layout in terms of a land area and to its visual representation, particularly as portrayed by members of the painting community.
The term landscape even in terms of the physical sense implies the visual interpretation of the configuration in terms of the land, because that is the primary way in terms of which a landscape is perceived.
Nature outside Earth and its atmosphere
Events and phenomena outside Earth and its atmosphere are in the natural science of astronomy.
Life, the characteristics and behaviors of organisms, how species and individuals come into existence, and the interactions they have with each other and with their environment are all in the natural science of biology.
The structure, properties, composition, and reactions of chemical elements and compounds are part of the natural science of chemistry.
Matter and force
The behaviour and interactions of matter and force are a part of the natural science of physics.
Everything relating to the planet Earth is a part of earth science.
Main article: Supernatural
Most people believe in the existence of a non-material world in a sense beyond that of just mental experience. They rather believe in supernatural beings and in a supernatural reality absolutely different in kind to that of the natural world. If such a reality exists, many scientists and other assert that it is beyond the reach of science. Science has been very successful in bringing apparently inexplicable and supposedly supernatural phenomena within its scope. Nevertheless, many scientists believe in supernatural.
In philosophy, the view that the material world of atoms, animals, gravity, stars, wind, microbes, etc., actually exist independently of our observations of them is termed realism; the opposing view is called idealism.
The natural and the artificial
A distinction is often drawn between the "natural" and the "artificial" (="man-made"). Can such a distinction be justified? One approach is to exclude mind from the realm of the natural; another is to exclude not only mind, but also humans and their influence. In either case, the boundary between the natural and the artificial is a difficult one to draw (see mind-body problem). Some people believe that the problem is best avoided by saying that everything is natural, but that does little to clarify the concept of the "artificial". In any event, ambiguities about the distinction between the natural and the artificial animate much of art, literature and philosophy.
Another approach is to distinguish natural processes and artificial (man-made) processes. In this viewpoint, a process is deemed to occur either at the behest of man, or not. For example, flipping a light switch might illuminate a room, or perhaps a sunrise might illuminate that room. In this viewpoint, the sunrise would be termed a natural process; the decision of a human being to flip the light switch would be termed an artificial illumination, in contrast. In this viewpoint, artifice (art or literature) is clearly the result of willful human action; furthermore, the act of stating a philosophical position could also a willful action (and hence at the behest of man), whether or not the content of the philosophy were to be about science.
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