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Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard

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Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard

We work our nine-to-five jobs in its institutions, we eat its food, we drive its cars (not least to reach the wilderness), we benefit from the intricate and all too invisible networks with which it shelters us, all the while pretending that these things are not an essential part of who we are. The curious result was that frontier nostalgia became an important vehicle for expressing a peculiarly bourgeois form of antimodernism. To gain such remarkable influence, the concept of wilderness had to become loaded with some of the deepest core values of the culture that created and idealized it it had to become sacred.

He admits that preserving a quality wilderness experience for the human visitor, letting her or him flex paleolithic muscles or seek visions, remains a tremendously important secondary purpose. To think ourselves capable of causing the end of nature is an act of great hubris, for it means forgetting the wildness that dwells everywhere within and around us. This was why the early christian saints and mystics had often emulated christs desert retreat as they sought to experience for themselves the visions and spiritual testing he had endured.

If civilization was to be redeemed, it would be by men like the virginian who could retain their frontier virtues even as they made the transition to post-frontier life. Indeed, one of the most striking proofs of the cultural invention of wilderness is its thoroughgoing erasure of the history from which it sprang. Defending the earth a dialogue between murray bookchin & dave foreman (boston, massachusetts south end press, 1991) john davis, ed.

In offering wilderness as the ultimate hunter-gatherer alternative to civilization, foreman reproduces an extreme but still easily recognizable version of the myth of frontier primitivism. Niagara falls was the first to undergo this transformation, but it was soon followed by the catskills, the adirondacks, yosemite, yellowstone, and others. Why, for instance, is the wilderness experience so often conceived as a form of recreation best enjoyed by those whose class privileges give them the time and resources to leave their jobs behind and get away from it all? Why does the protection of wilderness so often seem to pit urban recreationists against rural people who actually earn their living from the land (excepting those who sell goods and services to the tourists themselves)? Why in the debates about pristine natural areas are primitive peoples idealized, even sentimentalized, until the moment they do something unprimitive, modern, and unnatural, and thereby fall from environmental grace? What are the consequences of a wilderness ideology that devalues productive labor and the very concrete knowledge that comes from working the land with ones own hands? ( ) all of these questions imply conflicts among different groups of people, conflicts that are obscured behind the deceptive clarity of human vs.

The wastelands that had once seemed worthless had for some people come to seem almost beyond price. See michael barbour, ecological fragmentation in the fifties in cronon, uncommon ground, pp. It is just here that our cultural traditions of wilderness remain so important.

Seen as the sacred sublime, it is the home of a god who transcends history by standing as the one who remains untouched and unchanged by times arrow. Yet all three men are participating in the same cultural tradition and contributing to the same myththe mountain as cathedral. The place where we are is the place where nature is not. Our challenge is to stop thinking of such things according to set of bipolar moral scales in which the human and the nonhuman, the unnatural and the natural, the fallen and the unfallen, serve as our conceptual map for understanding and valuing the world. Any way of looking at nature that helps us rememberas wilderness also tends to dothat the interests of people are not necessarily identical to those of every other creature or of the earth itself is likely to foster responsible behavior.


The Best Way to Write an Autobiographical Essay - wikiHow


How to Write an Autobiographical Essay. An autobiographical essay is just an essay about something you experienced. Even so, writing an autobiographical essay can be challenging.

Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard

Autobiography - Wikipedia
An autobiography (from the Greek, αὐτός-autos self + βίος-bios life + γράφειν-graphein to write) is a self-written account of the life of oneself. The word "autobiography" was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid, but condemned it as "pedantic".
Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard Max oelsehlaeger, the idea of wilderness from prehistory to the age of ecology (new haven, For a very interesting critique of this literature (first published in the anarchist newspaper fifth estate), see george bradford. 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 foothillsa preference that had nothing to do with nature and everything with the cultural traditions of the sublime. It is no accident that the movement to set aside national parks and wilderness areas began to gain real momentum at precisely the time that laments about the passing frontier reached their peak. The Purdue University Online Writing Lab serves writers from around the world and the Purdue University Writing Lab helps writers on Purdue's campus. And i think perhaps most especially of the blown-out, bankrupt farm in the sand country of central wisconsin where aldo leopold and his family tried one of the first american experiments in ecological restoration, turning ravaged and infertile soil into carefully tended ground where the human and the nonhuman could exist side by side in relative harmony.
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    When he writes of his fellow earth firsters that we believe we must return to being animal, to glorying in our sweat, hormones, tears, and blood and that we struggle against the modern compulsion to become dull, passionless androids, he is following in the footsteps of owen wister. Lest you suspect that this view of the sublime was limited to timid europeans who lacked the american know-how for feeling at home in the wilderness, remember henry david thoreaus 1846 climb of mount katahdin, in maine. As late as the eighteenth century, the most common usage of the word wilderness in the english language referred to landscapes that generally carried adjectives far different from the ones they attract today. The flight from history that is very nearly the core of wilderness represents the false hope of an escape from responsibility, the illusion that we can somehow wipe clean the slate of our past and return to the tabula rasa that supposedly existed before we began to leave our marks on the world. By the first decade of the twentieth century, in the single most famous episode in american conservation history, a national debate had exploded over whether the city of san francisco should be permitted to augment its water supply by damming the tuolumne river in hetch hetchy valley, well within the boundaries of yosemite national park.

    By seeing the otherness in that which is most unfamiliar, we can learn to see it too in that which at first seemed merely ordinary. Even comparable extinction rates have occurred before, though we surely would not want to emulate the cretaceous-tertiary boundary extinctions as a model for responsible manipulation of the biosphere! Dave foreman, confessions of an eco-warrior (new york harmony books, 1991, p. Moreover, we have unassailable evidence that many of the environmental changes we now face also occurred quite apart from human intervention at one time or another in the earths past. How can we take the positive values we associate with wilderness and bring them closer to home? I think the answer to this question will come by broadening our sense of the otherness that wilderness seeks to define and protect. Only people whose relation to the land was already alienated could hold up wilderness as a model for human life in nature, for the romantic ideology of wilderness leaves precisely nowhere for human beings actually to make their living from the land.

    Gary snyder, quoted in new york times, week in review, 18 september 1994, p. It is just here that our cultural traditions of wilderness remain so important. In his essay, reinventing common nature yosemite and mount rushmorea meandering tale of a double nature, kenneth olwig notes that early american travelers experienced yosemite as much through the aesthetic tropes of the pastoral as through those of the sublime. In contrast, elite urban tourists and wealthy sportsmen projected their leisure-time frontier fantasies onto the american landscape and so created wilderness in their own image. In its flight from history, in its siren song of escape, in its reproduction of the dangerous dualism that sets human beings outside of naturein all of these ways, wilderness poses a serious threat to responsible environmentalism at the end of the twentieth century. His words took the physical mountain on which he stood and transmuted it into an icon of the sublime a symbol of gods presence on earth. Although at first blush an apparently more scientific concept than wilderness, biological diversity in fact invokes many of the same sacred values, which is why organizations like the nature conservancy have been so quick to employ it as an alternative to the seemingly fuzzier and more problematic concept of wilderness. Arizona ned ludd books, 1987) bill devall, simple in means, rich in ends practicing deep ecology (salt lake city, utah gibbs smith, 1988) steve chase, ed. Wilderness fulfills the old romantic project of secularizing judeo-christian values so as to make a new cathedral not in some petty human building but in gods own creation, nature itself. John muir, the yosemite (1912), reprinted in john muir eight wilderness discovery books, p.

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    These blessed mountains are so compactly filled with gods beauty, no petty personal hope or experience has room to be. That is why, when i think of the times i myself have come closest to experiencing what i might call the sacred in nature, i often find myself remembering wild places much closer to home. Those who have celebrated the frontier have almost always looked backward as they did so, mourning an older, simpler, truer world that is about to disappear, forever. Perhaps the most suggestive example of the way that wilderness thinking can underpin other environmental concerns has emerged in the recent debate about global change. Just as problematically, our frontier traditions have encouraged americans to define true wilderness as requiring very large tracts of roadless landwhat dave foreman calls the big outside Buy now Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard

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    Indeed, one could almost measure wilderness by the extent to which our recognition of its otherness requires a conscious, willed act on our part. Gary snyder, quoted in new york times, week in review, 18 september 1994, p. Wilderness is the natural, unfallen antithesis of an unnatural civilization that has lost its soul. Among the most important studies are samuel monk, the sublime a study of critical theories in xviii-century england (new york modern language association, 1935) basil willey, the eighteenth-century background studies on the idea of nature in the thought of the period (london, england chattus and windus, 1949) marjorie hope nicolson, mountain gloom and mountain glory the development of the aesthetics of the infinite (ithaca, new york cornell univ Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard Buy now

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    Thus the decades following the civil war saw more and more of the nations wealthiest citizens seeking out wilderness for themselves. I think, for instance, of a small pond near my house where water bubbles up from limestone springs to feed a series of pools that rarely freeze in winter and so play home to waterfowl that stay here for the protective warmth even on the coldest of winter days, gliding silently through streaming mists as the snow falls from gray february skies. Henry david thoreau, walking, the works of thoreau, ed. By seeing the otherness in that which is most unfamiliar, we can learn to see it too in that which at first seemed merely ordinary. 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 Buy Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard at a discount

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    Although wilderness may today seem to be just one environmental concern among many, it in fact serves as the foundation for a long list of other such concerns that on their face seem quite remote from it. Why, for instance, is the wilderness experience so often conceived as a form of recreation best enjoyed by those whose class privileges give them the time and resources to leave their jobs behind and get away from it all? Why does the protection of wilderness so often seem to pit urban recreationists against rural people who actually earn their living from the land (excepting those who sell goods and services to the tourists themselves)? Why in the debates about pristine natural areas are primitive peoples idealized, even sentimentalized, until the moment they do something unprimitive, modern, and unnatural, and thereby fall from environmental grace? What are the consequences of a wilderness ideology that devalues productive labor and the very concrete knowledge that comes from working the land with ones own hands? ( ) all of these questions imply conflicts among different groups of people, conflicts that are obscured behind the deceptive clarity of human vs Buy Online Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard

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    As turner described the process, easterners and european immigrants, in moving to the wild unsettled lands of the frontier, shed the trappings of civilization, rediscovered their primitive racial energies, reinvented direct democratic institutions, and by reinfused themselves with a vigor, an independence, and a creativity that the source of american democracy and national character. 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. When adam and eve were driven from that garden, the world they entered was a wilderness that only their labor and pain could redeem Buy Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard Online at a discount

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    The wilderness was still sacred, but the religious sentiments it evoked were more those of a pleasant parish church than those of a grand cathedral or a harsh desert retreat. We had no concept of wilderness because everything was wilderness and we were a part of it. Among the things that most marked the new national parks as reflecting a post-frontier consciousness was the relative absence of human violence within their boundaries. No matter what the angle from which we regard it, wilderness offers us the illusion that we can escape the cares and troubles of the world in which our past has ensnared us. In just this way, wilderness came to embody the national frontier myth, standing for the wild freedom of americas past and seeming to represent a highly attractive natural alternative to the ugly artificiality of modern civilization Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard For Sale

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    Among the things that most marked the new national parks as reflecting a post-frontier consciousness was the relative absence of human violence within their boundaries. The classic work on the puritan city on a hill in colonial new england is perry miller, errand into the wilderness (cambridge, massachusetts harvard univ. The terms of the endangered species act in the united states have often meant that those hoping to defend pristine wilderness have had to rely on a single endangered species like the spotted owl to gain legal standing for their casethereby making the full power of the sacred land inhere in a single numinous organism whose habitat then becomes the object of intense debate about appropriate management and use For Sale Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard

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    The mythic frontier individualist was almost always masculine in gender here, in the wilderness, a man could be a real man, the rugged individual he was meant to be before civilization sapped his energy and threatened his masculinity. Among the things that most marked the new national parks as reflecting a post-frontier consciousness was the relative absence of human violence within their boundaries. Defending the earth a dialogue between murray bookchin & dave foreman (boston, massachusetts south end press, 1991) john davis, ed. Ecodefense a field guide to monkey wrenching, 2nd ed. He is more lone than you can imagine.

    This will seem a heretical claim to many environmentalists, since the idea of wilderness has for decades been a fundamental tenetindeed, a passionof the environmental movement, especially in the united states Sale Writing an autobiographical essay Harvard

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