Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Barry Lopez on the Importance of the Nonhuman

The culture becomes solipsistic [when it loses touch with the natural world]. It produces too much self-referential material and loses a sense of itself in the world because it creates too much of the world in which it lives. The reason you go into unmanaged landscapes is in part to get out of a world in which all the references are to human scale or somehow devised from a sense of human values ... It encourages you to think in a pattern that's nonhuman. The proportion, line, color, and activity in wild landscapes are not arranged according to human schedules or systems of aesthetics. It's important to expose yourself to this. Otherwise you have no check on your philosophy except what you make up.

---From 1987's At the Field's End: Interviews With 22 Pacific Northwest Writers,by Nicholas O'Connell, p. 5.

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