In this final round of featured posts, you will see four possible blogs to which you can respond. Please focus on one, OR reflect on the collective connections made between Thoreau, Tuan, and the experiential perspective across all four posts.
Henry Thoreau’s “Walking” he talks about how he goes on walks out in the wilderness to experience nature. He just gets up and goes to get away from the village and all of the things that occupy his mind. In Tuan’s chapter “Time and Place” he describes how people in life settle into having routines. They no longer take the time to notice the places they pass through on a daily bases. Thoreau tries to defy these routines of everyday life by going on walks in the forest that don’t have any exact path. Thoreau agrees with Tuan that people create these routines where they encounter the same places all the time.
Tuan describes how people set into routines. “They settle into a routine of home, office or factory, and holiday resort (Tuan 182).” It is like a circle. There is a place to go, and the place to return to. In Thoreau’s “Writing” he agrees with Tunas idea of people having routines. He says “Our expeditions are but tours, and come round again at even the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the walk is but a retracing of our steps. Thoreau goes on walks to escape the routines, and experience places, and take the time to feel the place he is in.
Thoreau describes that how sometimes when he is on his walks his mind wonders and thinks about all the things he has to do for work. He takes these walks to get away from those thoughts. So when he finds himself thinking about them he feels as though he is not in the wilderness he is walking in. His body is, but his mind is not. “In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head, and I am not where my body is,-I am out of my senses (Thoreau 264).” People often experience this. We can be somewhere but don’t even take the time to notice where we are at because our mind is somewhere else. You are not truly experiencing a place. Tuan says that a person’s “experience and appreciation of a place is superficial (183).” Even if a person constantly goes to a place or pass through it every day as part of their routine, they may not even pay it any mind, or give deep thought to that place. It is just part of their routine they have become so accustomed to. “In time we become familiar with a place, which means that we take more and more of it for granted (Tuan 184).”
Thoreau thinks people should go on walks and just let go of their thoughts and truly experience a place “absolutely free from all worldly engagements (Thoreau 262).” Time is constantly moving in life, and Tuan says that “modern man is so mobile that he has not the time to establish roots.” People are constantly moving with time. People need to slow down and pause and take time to notice the places in their lives and truly experience them.
In the essay, Walking by Henry David Thoreau, themes of civilization and wilderness is brought up. Nature is a main idea that Thoreau brings up throughout the essay. Tuan mentions in the epilogue about place and “Routine activity and standard performance do not require analytical thought” (Tuan 200).Thoreau brings up this idea when talking about walking and how it should be an enjoyed activity instead of how it’s usually treated without any thought. As Thoreau says “Half the walk is but retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk, perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return–prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms” ( Thoreau 261).
In regarding wilderness and civilization, Thoreau tries to fund the middle ground between civilization and wilderness, “Let me live where I will, on this side is the city, on that the wilderness, and ever I am leaving the city more and more, and withdrawing into the wilderness” (Thoreau 268). He also tries to draw a connection between Greek and Christianity. By saying that the Greeks called the world “Beauty,or Order”(Thoreau 287),he explains how other cultures saw the world and draws parallels between his opinions and other historic explanations.
“I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merely civil,-to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of society.” (Thoreau page 260). Thoreau had a job which is he had to survey the plan land. After he had finish the survey city builds the building and so on. The world starts to get as a modern world. When the author was walking around his house and he saw the pond he was very depressed because he realize that there is no room for tree and animals. He was thinking rather than built a big building why we don’t leave some place for trees and animals. He tries to give this message all over the world, but only few people understand his point. Rest of the world especially American society was getting in to too much industialized society. As a result American people losing their all natural all view from the American land. Thoreau neither ignores the civilization nor the wilderness. He thought we should follow the civilization and also keep the wilderness. He likes the house and the road with the lot of trees. Thoreau thought the nature is a Holy Land like the Mississippi river he describe as a Holy Land. “the fact that we are oriented in space and at home in place –rather than describe and try to understand what “being-in-the-world” is truly like” (Tuan page 201). Thoreau and Tuan both are deeply focused on the nature. Tuan also said that all the architect planning to destroy the nature and made the building, but Tuan was thinking why they don’t leave the nature the way the nature is.
In the passage “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau, wilderness and civilization is two main themes that are brought up to his attention. He speaks for wilderness and the old world as an effort on preservation of nature. It is important to take Henry Thoreau’s criticism of society seriously and not take it for granted. Human’s role in nature has been criticized for its lack of efforts in trying to preserve nature. Every aspect in human culture in this era revolves around the modernized use of technology due to the significant changes in this industrialized world.
Thoreau is coming from the perspective of supporting the old world; nature. After the Revolutionary war, America has become the new world where industrial changes had great affect in its futures’ building and planning. “I am a good horse to travel, but not from choice a roadster. The landscape-painter uses the figures of men to mark a road. He would not make that use of my figure” (Thoreau 265). This quote I found most interesting by Thoreau because it portray his views as a profound philosopher and a real naturalist. The quote explains that he is constantly escaping civilization. Although the landscape painter designed this path for society, Thoreau has his own views and opinions that differ from the mainstream. Heading into a world of modernization, it seems to be difficult to disagree because as a society, we are advancing and becoming more knowledgeable as a unit. Thoreau is trying to say that it is the best ideal for society. We are living in a world today where America does offer us to live differently and think differently but we as humans are becoming more dependent, relying on the new world’s lifestyle of not learning how to do things manually. Living in the old world allows us to experience the life of nature and appreciate the gratitude of nature’s blessings. The Amish are a great example of a community where they believe that their reluctance to adopt the new world’s lifestyle. It proves that they cherish nature’s blessing and believes that it is only right to preserve the world.