The writer who best captures this late romantic sense of a domesticated sublime is undoubtedly John Muir, whose descriptions of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada reflect none of the anxiety or terror one finds in earlier writers.
It is not the things we label as wilderness that are the problem—for nonhuman nature and large tracts of the natural world do deserve protection—but rather what we ourselves mean when we use the label. North Point,pp. It is true that the sceneries of grandeur found in the national parks of the United States are quite inspiring.
We are responsible for both, even though we can claim credit for neither.
The frontier is purely new and American with European similarities. Oxford English Dictionary, s. Odyssey Press,pp. We have slowly until now adapted to the wilderness around us. The striking power of the wild is that wonder in the face of it requires no act of will, but forces itself upon us—as an expression of the nonhuman world experienced through the lens of our cultural history—as proof that ours is not the only presence in the universe.
Yosemite was deeded by the U. If wildness can stop being just out there and start being also in here, if it can start being as humane as it is natural, then perhaps we can get on with the unending task of struggling to live rightly in the world—not just in the garden, not just in the wilderness, but in the home that encompasses them both.
No pain here, no dull empty hours, no fear of the past, no fear of the future. To assert the unnaturalness of so natural a place will no doubt seem absurd or even perverse to many readers, so let me hasten to add that the nonhuman world we encounter in wilderness is far from being merely our own invention.
The irony, of course, was that in the process wilderness came to reflect the very civilization its devotees sought to escape. Press,pp. By viewing wilderness as something set apart from and outside of our everyday lives, we continue to trap ourselves in an artificial world that only allows us to see nature with a stark sense of detachment.
At its worst, as environmentalists are beginning to realize, exporting American notions of wilderness in this way can become an unthinking and self-defeating form of cultural imperialism. For one, it makes wilderness the locus for an epic struggle between malign civilization and benign nature, compared with which all other social, political, and moral concerns seem trivial.
The romantic legacy means that wilderness is more a state of mind than a fact of nature, and the state of mind that today most defines wilderness is wonder. Without our quite realizing it, wilderness tends to privilege some parts of nature at the expense of others.
Cronon creates a strong argument that has the ability to change how one may view our wilderness. He says we need to learn to honour the wild and question our use by asking ourselves if we can reuse and sustain without diminishing in the process.
Those who have no difficulty seeing God as the expression of our human dreams and desires nonetheless have trouble recognizing that in a secular age Nature can offer precisely the same sort of mirror. The very men who most benefited from urban-industrial capitalism were among those who believed they must escape its debilitating effects.
Henry Holt,pp. To many of us, these types of places are still reachable. That is why its influence is so pervasive and, potentially, so insidious. It is where we—all of us, in our different places and ways—make our homes.
For the early romantic writers and artists who first began to celebrate it, the sublime was far from being a pleasurable experience. Each of us who has spent time there can conjure images and sensations that seem all the more hauntingly real for having engraved themselves so indelibly on our memories.
Therefore, wilderness will never be natural unless we return to historical life. Even John Muir, in arguing against those who sought to dam his beloved Hetch Hetchy valley in the Sierra Nevada, argued for alternative dam sites in the gentler valleys of the foothills—a preference that had nothing to do with nature and everything with the cultural traditions of the sublime.
Atheneum,pp. Most of all, it means practicing remembrance and gratitude, for thanksgiving is the simplest and most basic of ways for us to recollect the nature, the culture, and the history that have come together to make the world as we know it.
On the other hand, I also think it no less crucial for us to recognize and honor nonhuman nature as a world we did not create, a world with its own independent, nonhuman reasons for being as it is.
One by one, various corners of the American map came to be designated as sites whose wild beauty was so spectacular that a growing number of citizens had to visit and see them for themselves. His stimulating reference to our history is a direct reflection of how we tend to believe what society considers a norm.
To the extent that we celebrate wilderness as the measure with which we judge civilization, we reproduce the dualism that sets humanity and nature at opposite poles.
If wilderness can do this—if it can help us perceive and respect a nature we had forgotten to recognize as natural—then it will become part of the solution to our environmental dilemmas rather than part of the problem. In the United States, this was embodied most strikingly in the national myth of the frontier.
The wastelands that had once seemed worthless had for some people come to seem almost beyond price. The curious result was that frontier nostalgia became an important vehicle for expressing a peculiarly bourgeois form of antimodernism.
The historian Frederick Jackson Turner wrote in the classic academic statement of this myth, but it had been part of American cultural traditions for well over a century.
That wilderness is not some natural place for the wealthy to escape to, and rather a place of our history that we should embrace.“The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” by William Cronon (William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W.
W. Norton & Co.,; The time has come to rethink wilderness. "Forum: The Trouble with Wilderness." Environmental History 1 (): In his article “The Trouble with Wilderness or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,” Cronon argues that because of the culturally constructed nature of wilderness, the wilderness as we imagine it has no relation to nature.
Aug 22, · For many Americans wilderness presents itself as the best antidote to our human selves, a refuge we must somehow recover if we hope to save the planet.
As Henry David Thoreau once famously declared, “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” But is it? (Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the. Summary The Trouble With Wilderness. because of the way we define "wilderness," there are no such places left on dominicgaudious.net is one of the central ideas of William Cronan's, "The Trouble with Wilderness."No matter how many hours you drive or the distance you fly, you will not find a.
The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature by William Cronon. Print-formatted version: PDF In William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, New York: W. W. Norton & Co.,The time has come to rethink wilderness.
Analysis William Cronan's “the Trouble with Wilderness” The rapid industrialization of the Earth has been one of the greatest changes the earth has undergone, surpassing in magnitude the numerous ice ages or massive extinctions/5(1).Download