Nature and Madness by Paul Shepard

By Paul Shepard

Through a lot of background our courting with the earth has been laid low with ambivalence--we not just get pleasure from and savor the forces and manifestations of nature, we search to plunder, modify, and keep an eye on them. right here Paul Shepard uncovers the cultural roots of our ecological obstacle and proposes how one can fix damaged bonds with the earth, our previous, and nature. finally encouraging, he notes, "There is a mystery individual undamaged in each person. we haven't misplaced, and can't lose, the real impulse."

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12 I suppose that men who till the earth everywhere have in some fashion experienced and codified the environment as parental, although their particular social and kinship systems both evoke and represent the parental cosmos in unique local ways. 19 If so, attitudes toward the feminine earth may be influenced by the role of women in a particular society and the land used accordingly—land use and mother use mutually interacting. Also, the mother is very different to the small infant than to the child and different again to the pubertal youth, so that a whole series of different "mothers" are accumulated during the growth of each individual.

And here I may rub the modern philosopher the wrong way, for I see in Carleton Coon's The Hunting Peoples 12 INTRODUCTION the best description of that peculiar blend of loyalty and tolerance spanning the gap between separateness and belonging, forming a tapestry of ideas, feelings, speculation, experiences, and body that is Me, related to the multitude out there, from human brothers to the distant stars, that are the Other. Given this foundation and some intelligence, the years of tribal experience may produce wisdom, the most mature expression of which is the capacity to gently bring others forward to it, as far as they are capable.

But it is clear from the developmental scheme of Erikson that fine mastery of the neuromuscular system, self-discipline of the body, the emergence of skills, and awakening to tools are late-juvenile and early-adolescent concerns. In farming, the land itself becomes a tool, an instrument of production, a possession that is at once the object and implement of vocation as well as a definer of the self. As farming shifts from subsistence to monoculture, village specialists who do not themselves cultivate the soil appear.

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