It is quite evident that man has a mission. He has extracted hidden wealth and marvelous energies from the bowels of the earth, and he has created a superworld, or, more precisely, a supernature. As he has constructed this supernature little by little, man has also perfected himself and made the natural man he was into a supernatural man. Nature is a domain that has existed for centuries, and supernature is yet another domain, which man has gradually constructed.
Contemporary man no longer lives within nature, but within supernature. An animal can procure its food directly from the earth, but man is dependent on other men. How man men labor so that the bread we eat may reach our mouths! And fruit that comes to us from a faraway place may represent a vast organization of men, a formidable and strict organization that holds human society together.
We must be aware of this organization if we are to evaluate properly certain widespread ideas that find expression in a number of slogans: "Let us return to nature." "Let us become one with nature."
The life that some call "artificial" is mankind's supernatural life. Our way of life is not artificial, but rather the product of labor. If we did not make such a distinction, we might be inclined to say that even the way of life of certain animals is artificial -- that of bees, who "artificially" produce honey, for instance. Man is a great work, capable of creating a supernature through his labors.
But we might now ask ourselves: if animals labor so joyously, why do men not also take delight in their work?
SOURCE: Education and Peace Dr. Maria Montessori, translated by Helen R. Lane; Part 2, 5th Lecture