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Nature, Wilderness and Place - Essay Example

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Humans have continued to struggle throughout history, in finding their rightful place in nature. Therefore, because of this, they have developed various perceptions about how they should interact with their environment. …
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Nature, Wilderness and Place
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"Nature, Wilderness and Place"

Download file to see previous pages The terms ‘nature,’ ‘wilderness,’ and ‘place’ are crucial in society and in different communities. People have different perceptions and understanding of these terms mainly because of the diversity of experiences among human communities. Therefore, the relationship between wilderness, nature, and place keeps evolving, as the people’s perceptions about these also change over time. Most societies have the philosophy, ethics, and values, which specifically address nature, wilderness, and their relationship with these. However, different philosophers, activists, and writers in the past have also developed various philosophical approaches, which are associated with the concepts of nature, wilderness, and place. Basing on various philosophical approaches therefore, this essay will focus on the various ways we understand ‘nature,’ ‘wilderness,’ and ‘place’ and how the similarities and differences in these words shape our overall understanding of each of them individually, and as a whole. There is no absolute definition of the ideas of “nature,” “wilderness,” and “place” since these vary within human societies, because of the diversity in worldviews and interactions with the environment. The culture of the human society keeps changing with time. However, some cultural aspects are preserved and transferred from one generation to the next. For instance, from the old world came the aspect of Romanticism and the idea of the sublime, which were both preserved and passed down to the new world. In the ideals of Romanticism, the concept of nature was associated with God. On the other hand, the aspect of nature and wilderness was associated with beauty, as well as terror. Emerson and Thoreau focused on the various views of wilderness and wild places. These used different styles to relay the message to the society, that it is important to experience and appreciate the beauty of nature and wilderness, as this is beneficial to a person as a whole, as well as the entire society. Similarly, Gary Snyder in his essay, "The Etiquette of Freedom," focuses on the elements of freedom, wildness, culture, and nature. He describes nature in different ways, based on how different communities perceive it, including the Latin and the Chinese, among others. The word ‘nature,’ according to Synder, has diverse meanings, depending on the type of community. However, primarily, nature includes the physical world, which comprise all living things, and the excludes all the features of civilization. Alternatively, Snyder adopts a broader meaning of nature to represent "the creative and regulative physical power which is conceived of as operating in the material world and as the immediate cause of all its phenomena" (Snyder 8). Apart from nature being perceived differently by various communities, there is a relationship between nature and the divine. Emerson, a prominent transcendentalist, believed that through a positive relationship with the wilderness, human beings would interact with the divine being, and exhibit their moral responsibility. In Emerson’s piece of writing titled “Nature,” he focuses on the balanced relationship between human beings and the wilderness. In this article, Emerson considers the stars to be one of the evidences of the existence of a god: “But if a man is alone, let him look at the stars” (Emerson 528). The stars, according to Emerson, are part of nature, which he argues that have the power to alienate man. Similarly, Thoreau in his work “Walden” brings out a similar effect of nature: “Yet I experienced sometimes that the most sweet and tender, the most innocent and encouraging society may be found in any natural object, even for the poor misanthrope and most melancholy man. There ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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