land

A Quote by John Muir on forests, wildnerness, land, mountains, woods, nature, and environment

Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.

John Muir (1838 - 1914)

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by John Muir on nature, pleasure, mountains, earth, environment, land, and freedom

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail.

John Muir (1838 - 1914)

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on reality, nature, earth, land, ecology, sensuality, and senses

The practice of realignment with reality can hardly afford to be utopian. It cannot base itself upon a vision hatched in our heads and then projected into the future. Any approach to current problems that aims us toward a mentally envisioned future implicitly holds us within the oblivion of linear time. It holds us, that is, within the same illusory dimension that enabled us to neglect and finally to forget the land around us. By projecting the solution somewhere outside of the perceivable present, it invites our attention away from the sensuous surroundings, induces us to dull our senses, yet again, on behalf of a mental ideal.

A genuinely ecological approach does not work to attain a mentally envisioned future, but strives to enter, ever more deeply, into the sensorial present. It strives to become ever more awake to the other lives, the other forms of sentience and sensibility that surround us in the open field of the present moment. For the other animals and the gathering clouds do not exist in linear time. We meet them only when the thrust of historical time begins to open itself outward, when we walk out of our heads into the cycling life of the land around us. This wild expanse has its own timing, its rhythms of dawning and dusk, its seasons of gestation and bud and blossom. It is here, and not in linear history, that the ravens reside.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 272-273

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on language, writing, earth, land, intellect, and mind

The alphabetized intellect stakes its claim to the earth by staking it down, extends its dominion by drawing a grid of straight lines and right angles across the body of a continent – across north America, across Africa, across Australia – defining states and provinces, counties and countries with scant regard for the oral peoples that already live there, according to a calculative logic utterly impervious to the life of the land.

If I say that I live in the “United States” or in “Canada,” in “British Colombia” or in “New Mexico,” I situate myself within a purely human set of coordinates. I say little or nothing about the earthly place that I inhabit, but simply establish my temporary location within a shifting matrix of political, economic, and civilizational forces struggling to maintain themselves, today, largely at the expense of the animate earth. The great danger is that I, and many other good persons, may come to believe that our breathing bodies really inhabit these abstractions, and that we will lend our lives more to consolidating, defending, or bewailing the fate of these ephemeral entities than to nurturing and defending the actual places that physically sustain us.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 267

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on stories, earth, environment, ceremony, place, land, speech, and language

The telling of stories, like singing and praying, would seem to be an almost ceremonial act, an ancient and necessary mode of speech that tends the earthly rootedness of human language. For narrated events always happen somewhere. And for an oral culture, that location is never merely incidental to those occurrences. The events belong, as it were, to the place, and to tell the story of those events is to let the place itself speak through the telling.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 163

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on space, place, earth, land, ecology, environment, writing, and language

Once the stories are written down, the visible text becomes the primary mnemonic activator of the spoken stories – the inked traces left by the pen as it traverses the page replacing the earthly tracks left by the animals, and by one’s animal ancestors, as they moved across the land. The places themselves are no longer necessary to the remembrance of the stories, and often come to seem wholly incidental to the tales, the arbitrary backdrops for human events that might just as well have happened elsewhere. The transhuman, ecological determinants of the originally oral stories are no longer emphasized, and often are written out of the tales entirely. In this manner the stories and myths, as they lose their oral, performative character, forfeit as well their intimate links to the more-than-human earth. And the land itself, stripped of the particularizing stories that once sprouted from every cave and streambed and cluster of trees, begins to lose its multiplicitous power. The human senses, intercepted by the written word, are no longer gripped and fascinated by the expressive shapes and sounds of particular places. The spirits fall silent. Gradually the felt primacy of place is forgotten, superceded by a new, abstract notion of “space” as a homogenous and placeless void.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 183-184

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on speech, environment, writing, discourse, language, and land

In the absence of any written analogue to speech, the sensible, natural environment remains the primary visual counterpart of spoken utterance, the palpable site, or matrix wherein meaning occurs and proliferates. In the absence of writing, we find ourselves situated in the field of discourse as we are embedded in the natural landscape; indeed, the two matrices are not separable. We can no more stabilize the language and render its meanings determinate than we can freeze all motion and metamorphosis within the land.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 140

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on ecology, environment, life, land, wolves, voices, humanity, community, and earth

Caught up in a mass of abstractions, our attention hypnotized by a host of human-made technologies that only reflect us back to ourselves, it is all too easy for us to forget our carnal inherence in a more-than-human matrix of sensations and sensibilities. Our bodies have formed themselves in delicate reciprocity with the manifold textures, sounds, and shapes of an animate earth – our eyes have evolved in subtle interaction with other eyes, as our ears are attuned by their very structure to the howling of wolves and the honking of geese. To shut ourselves off from these other voices, to continue by our lifestyles to condemn these other sensibilities to the oblivion of extinction, is to rob our own senses of their integrity, and to rob our minds of their coherence. We are human only in contact, and conviviality, with what is not human.

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 22

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by David Abram on earth, land, environment, experience, self, emotions, and science

The animate earth – this moody terrain that we experience differently in anger and in joy, in grief and in love – is both the soil in which all our sciences are rooted and the rich humus into which their results ultimately return, whether as nutrients or as poisons. Our spontaneous experience of the world, charged with subjective, emotional, and intuitive content, remains the vital and dark ground of all our objectivity

David Abram

Source: The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage), Pages: 34

Contributed by: Siona

A Quote by Wendell Berry on values, waste, usefulness, nothing, exist, country, natural resources, metamorphosis, bounty, land, junk, garbage, silt, poison, economy, farm, home, loyalty, devotion, humans, unborn, disinvestment, unemployed, homeland, sour

But when nothing is valued for what it is, everything is destined to be wasted. Once the values of things refer only to their future usefulness, then an infinite withdrawal of value from the living present has begun. Nothing (and nobody) can then exist that is not theoretically replaceable by something (or somebody) more valuable. The country that we (or some of us) had thought to make our home becomes instead 'a nation rich in natural resources'; the good bounty of the land begins its mechanical metamorphosis into junk, garbage, silt, poison, and other forms of 'waste.' "The inevitable result of such an economy is that no farm or any other usable property can safely be regarded by anyone as a home, no home is ultimately worthy of our loyalty, nothing is ultimately worth doing, and no place or task or person is worth a lifetime's devotion. 'Waste,' in such an economy, must eventually include several categories of humans--the unborn, the old, 'disinvested' farmers, the unemployed, the 'unemployable.' Indeed, once our homeland, our source, is regarded as a resource, we are all sliding downward toward the ashheap or the dump.

Wendell Berry (1934 -)

Source: Home Economics, 1995

Contributed by: bajarbattu

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