American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Book Club:Man Against the Wilderness

The further into this book I go the more I wonder if I'm doing the right thing by taking time and space on this blog. This is certainly NOT a book about outdoor skills per se but more a philosophical treatise along the lines of Thoreau's "Walden."

This chapter begins to outline Rustrum's ultimate goal which is nothing short of saving the world. He begins by describing modern man as believing himself above the natural world:
Groomed, dressed, housed, and utilitarian, he chooses largely to remain aloof from the ecology that inextricably links him wtih all other organisms. The farther from his biological kinship he can remove himself, the more intellectual and civilized he has regarded himself throughout history, the more he believes himself to rise above all other biological phenomena.

Man, removed from the natural "systems," has little interest in preserving those "systems" if it requires much effort.

Rustrum suggests putting in place legislation to control the quality of goods produced and limiting production to only the highest-quality goods. Planned obsolesence combined with the throw-away attitude we have developed has created far more landfill and far less wilderness. It is difficult to take a hike in the woods without coming across someone else's garbage these days.

The eeriest thing Rustrum has so far written is, "As bacterial growth, creeping over the culture on which it grows, eventually by multiplicity alone destroys itself, so might humans by reckless propagation risk drastically reducing their number by some yet unknown decimating force." He's not the first to predict mankind's downfall and he surely won't be the last.

The more I read, the more I realize there is more to my relationship with nature and the more Rustrum forces me to consider. It does, however, enlighten me a bit as to others' reaction when I tell them how I've been out tromping through the woods of North Carolina, fishing in the Great Lakes, camping in the Midwest, or hiking through alligator infested swamps in Florida. Hmm...maybe some of what Rustrum is writing IS getting through to me.

Thanks for reading,



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