At 18:57 4/07/99 -0700, JWT wrote:
> .. more a feeling ...
>Romanticism of the 18th and early 19th centuries.  But so does your
>own, it seems to me. ... I wonder if those choices don't, in the
>end, come down to feelings evoked by the history of place ...
> Is Romanticism a "bad" reason for fighting for the preservation of
>place?  How would you differentiate your view from the romantic?
>
At 14:36 7/07/99 +1200, I (David MacClement) wrote:

 I know that frequently I realise I have an certain view, then look for reasons why I should hold it.   I wouldn't describe this as having a certain feeling first, then working out the intellectual underpinnings. For one thing, the time scale is wrong. My use of the word feeling includes how one feels through an hour or a day - constantly changing (and in my view, therefore unreliable as a basis for choice or action), whereas the coming-to-a-new-opinion process for me starts weeks earlier, when I find myself paying attention to certain phrases or specific events and noticing certain sights. As the days pass, these get connected or bunched together in my mind until I realise there's something here that I should spend time finding a theme or framework for; a self-consistent view of. This last stage takes some intellectual effort and energy. (literally: I sometimes have to eat more, when I'm doing hard mind-work. I'm on subsistence food-intake.)

 I'm not saying that I don't have feelings evoked by the history of place, just that they would be a minor part of a bigger picture, a contributor only.

 I am sufficiently aware of (and value) variation among people, that I see Romanticism not as "bad" but as someone else's way of seeing the world. All syntheses are over-simplifications - an artificial creation of far more order than is really there.

 In this case - preventing (or at least slowing) the human-induced wrecking of ecologies created over hundreds of thousands of years - all ways of thinking that lead toward this goal are welcome, even if I don't share them. And anyway, I'm suspicious of that whole bad-good, black-white, open-shut way of thinking. (Better-worse I'll go along with.)

 I carefully haven't given my (rather negative) opinion of Romanticism since it is only my opinion and I could be as mistaken as a Romantic.

At 4:47 PM -0700 7/4/1999, David MacClement wrote:
>>  I describe this as part of the 'making familiar' process: from 
>>deep forest to woods to pasture to fields to subdivisions to 
>>city over-building.
>>Excluding the unfamiliar and possibly threatening.
>
[JWT: ]
>   Human beings put security above everything else, and the process you
>describe seems to be the result of those fears of wildness.  We would not
>have the civilization we do were it not for fear of the wild, ...
 I sort-of agree, but I think you took too big a jump when you went all the way from relaxing in the evening beside the fire in the main room of a farm-house amidst its placid fields, to big-city civilization with its huge infrastructure and culture-creating media.

> ... yet it seems
>we're really no more secure now than we've ever been. The great danger now
>is from the madness of humans isolated by the walls they've built to
>protect themselves ...
[from the packed-in strangers surrounding them]? You said something different, but after your contrasting of civilization and the wild, I wonder whether the "no more secure now" focus, with its consequent "madness of isolated humans", isn't seen by you as a consequence of people constantly having to create new islands of family- or tribe-type security within a seething flux of separate individuals.

>The great danger now
>is from the madness of humans isolated by the walls they've built to
>protect themselves from their own root nature.  When we deny the animal
>within us it reappears more savagely than we could have imagined.
>   Or is that all a little too "romantic"?
 Yes, we have an animal nature as one of the root causes of our actions; just look at Kosovo, the near extermination of American Indians, and the Hutu-Tutsi genocide.
 But I don't by any means agree that we have to build strong walls to protect ourselves from our own root natures, animal among others. And I don't actually see what you mean when you say these walls isolate us from others - are we afraid others may not have protected themselves enough? No, I don't get it.
Nor: "When we deny the animal within us it reappears more savagely". Denying it is a mistake - knowledge is power: in this case power to set limits. But I don't agree with the certainty of: "When we deny.. it reappears".

 Certainly, almost all isolated humans are maddened by the isolation.

 I don't actually see your paragraph above as having much to do with Romanticism, but this could easily be because I know so little of that way of thinking.


 Finally; I may not have properly addressed your: "How would you differentiate your view from the romantic?"

 I have lived long enough, and in such widely varying parts of the world, that I know how much the world has been messed-up by humans in the last 50 years; for me it is an objective observation that doesn't need a theory, a philosophy, a world-view.
And I know whom to blame: those who have been taken in by the economic theory that increasing production and consumption was the engine that would solve most of the world's problems (including not enough money and power in the hands of the rich and powerful!).

 Not romantic in the slightest. (And yes, I feel strongly about it!)

David.

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