Quotes


“It has taken four thousand years of struggle to ‘lift’ man ‘above’ nature. In the course of that struggle language and thought and behavior in the West have lapsed into a too-simple framework of discontinuity and opposition: spirit and body, mind and matter, earth and heaven, man and nature, good and evil. It is not an insoluble dilemma, but it is far more dangerous than we permit ourselves to know.” –from Man in the Landscape

“It is not necessary to ‘go back’ in time to be the kind of creature you are. The genes from the past have come forward to us. I am asking that people change not their genes but their society, in order to harmonize with the inheritance they already have.” –from The Only World We’ve Got

“We should not be mistaken about our terms. It is not technology or materialism that is the problem. The love of materials and the physical world and the extraordinary craftsmanship in its use have made us human. By catastrophes of industrial greed I refer to the corporate organization of the economy, with its destruction of the human community, its blindness to place, its obscene disregard for scale, its garbage, its rapacity, and its excessive desire for ‘products.'” –from The Only World We’ve Got

“All around us, aspects of the modern world – diet, exercise, medicine, art, work, family, philosophy, economics, ecology, psychology – have begun a long circle back toward their former coherence. Whether they can arrive before the natural world is damaged beyond repair and madness destroys humanity, we cannot tell.” –from The Others

“Ecological thinking…requires a kind of vision across boundaries. The epidermis of the skin is ecologically like a pond surface or a forest soil, not a shell so much as a delicate interpenetration. It reveals the self ennobled and extended rather than threatened as part of the landscape and the ecosystem, because the beauty and complexity of nature are continuous with ourselves.” –from “Ecology and Man–A Viewpoint”

“If nature is not a prison and earth a shoddy way-station, we must find the faith and force to affirm its metabolism as our own—or rather, our own as part of it. To do so means nothing less than a shift in our whole frame of reference and our attitude toward life itself, a wider perception of the landscape as a creative, harmonious being where relationships of things are as real as the things. Without losing our sense of a great human destiny and without intellectual surrender, we must affirm that the world is a being, a part of our own body.” –from “Ecology and Man-A Viewpoint”

“The human mind came into existence tracking, which for us creates a land of named places and fosters narration, the tale of adventure.” –from The Others

“We ‘go back’ with each day along an ellipse with the rising and setting of the sun, each turning of the globe. Every new generation ‘goes back’ to forms of earlier generations, from which the individual comes forward in his singular ontogeny. We cannot run the life cycle backwards, but we cannot avoid the inherent and essential demands of an ancient, repetitive pattern….” –from Coming Home To The Pleistocene

“White European/Americans cannot become Hopis or Kalahari Bushmen or Magdalenian bison hunters, but elements in those cultures can be recovered or re-created because they fit the heritage and predeliction of the human genome everywhere…” –from Coming Home To The Pleistocene

“The substitution of pictures for places was the step toward making places that match pictures. Now we are taking pictures of places whose patterns happen to suggest those gardens built in imitation of paintings which were originally done as visual expressions of literary evocation of ‘classical’ scenes–Scenery is from a Greek word meaning stage prop.” –from The Others

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