12 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Whatever be the characteristics of what we call savage life, the contrary of these… constitute civilization.

      The idea of the wilderness or otherness linked to the savage has been an obsession with different cultures since ancient times. The definition has ranged from the fantastic descriptions of monsters and ignorant human beings to territories in which they were located. Deserts, jungles, high mountains, or only the last known lands during the Middle Ages were the stranger's places or the non-civilized person.

      For Western Civilization The “savage people” for the Western Civilization where the ones that lived in the wilderness, a world of “bestial freedom,” The institutions of humanity, the dominion of what it is found in the landscape, or the mastery of nature, and the creation of tools and methods represent human transcendence. The interest to have governing institutions, religion, law, family differentiate “savage” from “civilized” people. The city stands opposite of the wilderness of the “forest.”

      In the book “The Inheritors” by William Golding, the differences between “savagery” and “civilized.” It can be understood as Neanderthal thinking vs. Homosapiens thinking and view of the world. Think of as Neanderthal’s level, where there is no insight into their consciousness. Living a savage life is experiencing the world predominantly external, limited to what it is perceived through sense. There is an absence of contemplation and internal reflection by the savage human beings. Fearful of water, mostly driven by emotions. Finding its sources for survival in nature, but lacking processes or structure, such as a fire but no cultivation or agriculture, is a daily finding.

      Golding, W. (1955). The Inheritors. London. Faber & Faber.

  2. Oct 2020
    1. The mechanistic view of nature provided the scientist with a world reassuringly predictable because it was devised by a rational mind and made to obey a strict set of laws, it gave the engineer confidence that his own contrivances were part of the divine plan and hence acceptable expressions of piety.

      Contextualize:

      "Newtonian mechanics underlay the view that all physical phenomena would be understood in mechanical terms. This view, referred to as the mechanical world view, incorporated the hope that Newton’s laws would become the basis for explaining everything, not only the physics of motion, the physics of heat, electricity, magnetism, and light, and also chemistry, geology and biology, including the workings of the body, genetics, the working of the nervous system and the way the brain and the emotions function; everything was to be understood in mechanical terms." (Goldberg, 1984)

      The mechanistic view of nature fits with the ideals of the Early Modern period where humanity and nature can be understood as metaphysical elements. Consider nature as a machine is a signature concept of the Modern Western science. Mostly influenced by the work of scientists, philosophers and theologians as Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Keppler, and more. The mechanical view of nature, produced an idea of control, dominion over it. Humans are able to manipulate nature, to understand it, but also to predict what is going to happen in the process of manipulation.

      From viewing nature as sacred and source of survival, "Mother Earth" to shift to radical changes with an economical perception of nature. Nature can be conceived as exhaustive resource at it can't be understood by intrinsic values. Everything that exists around "man" can be analize and define by quantifibale properties and parameters as size, shape, speed, distance, mass. But also, in search of value and beauty, parameters of color, tone, taste, smell are going to be defined by human experience, "human consciousness."

      Goldberg, S. (1984). The Rise and Fall of the Mechanical World View. Birkhauser. Boston. pp. 85-86.

    1. Chimborazo. The exemplification of a universal and collective understanding

      Contextualize:

      Since the eighteenth century, nature's concept became a collective understanding of all domains given by experience, making them affordable for humans through science and technique. According to Heinsenberg (1955), conceiving the theories of Democritus state that the sensitive qualities of matter were mere appearance: aroma or color, temperature, or tenacity were not properties of matter. Instead, they were the result of reciprocal actions between matter and our senses. The atoms' arrangement and movement, and the effect of that provision on our senses, produces a materialistic view of nature and perceived matter. For this time, the process of observation and experimentation, and abstraction are necessary to understand nature or "material reality."

      In 1846, Alexander Humbolt placed a precedent that changed man's vision in the face of nature and in front of what he knew of the rest of things. With his book, Cosmos, Humbolt has helped set a physical way to understand the universe by contemplating nature, that has acted differently in various races and varying periods. The cultivation of mental faculties, the pursuit of knowledge, work of imagination have blended each other. The understanding of external qualities and imitative art was transformed by personal experiences that define how we perceive things and how external factors and our senses can mold the impressions of nature.

      Alexander Humbolt's writings and analysis of the New World condenses a collective effort to understand nature. The volcano Chimborazo was the scientific, literary, scientific, and artistic exemplification of universalism. There is a correlation of similar ecosystems at equal altitudes throughout the planet, i.e., there is a physical connection between plant types and species in connection with their location on Earth. The Chimborazo exposes that there is nothing isolated in nature and that everything is correlated, forming an organic whole, what Humbolt would call Cosmos. The theories that revolutionized scientific knowledge took place in a series of visits made in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Cuba, Mexico, and the United States. Samples of flora, fauna, and minerals were collected in all these territories and moved as valuable elements to Europe.

      Heinsenberg, W. (1955). The image of Nature in Modern Physics. Retrieved September 29, 2020, from https://mercaba.org/SANLUIS/Filosofia/autores/Contempor%C3%A1nea/Heisenberg/Heisenberg-%20La%20imagen%20de%20la%20naturaleza%20en%20la%20fisica%20actual.pdf

  3. Sep 2020
    1. PHILOSOPHICAL FRAMEWORKS. In his Timaeus, Plato en­dowed the whole world with life and likened it to an animal. The deity “framed one visible animal comprehending within itself all other animals of a kindred nature.” Its shape was round since it had no need for eyes, ears, or appendages. Its sou] was female, “in origin and excellence prior to and older than the body,” and made “to be ruler and mistress, of whom the body was to be the subject.” The soul permeated the corporeal body of the universe, enveloping it and “turning herself within herself.” The earth “which is our nurse” was· p]aced at the immovable center of the cosmos. For Plato, this female world soul was the source of motion in the universe, the bridge between the unchanging eternal forms and the changing, sensible, temporal lower world of nature. The Neoplato­nism of Plotinus (A.D. 204-270), which synthesized Christian phi­losophy with Platonism, divided the female soul into two compo­nents. The higher portion fashioned souls from the divine ideas; the lower portion, natura, generated the phenomenal world. The twelfth-century Christian Cathedral School of Chartres, which in­terpreted the Bible in conjunction with the Timaeus, personified Natura as a goddess and limited the power attributed to her in pa­gan philosophies by emphasizing her subservience to God. Nature was compared to a midwife who translated Ideas into material things; the Ideas were likened to a father, the matter to a mother, and the generated species to a child.

      Contextualize:

      Moreover, since, as I have said, she is the mean of things, in her fashion she contains all things and is proportionally [Intellect:Soul::Soul:Body] near to both. Therefore she is equally connected with everything, even with those things which are at a distance from one other, because they are not at a distance from her. For besides the fact that on the one side she conforms to the divine and on the other side to the transient, and even turns to each by desire, at the same time she is wholly and simultaneously everywhere. In addition, the World-soul possesses by divine power precisely as many seminal reasons of things as there are Ideas in the Divine Mind. By these seminal reasons she fashions the same number of species in matter. That is why every single species corresponds through its own seminal reason to its own Idea and oftentimes through this reason it can easily receive something from the Idea since indeed it was made through the reason from the Idea. This is why, if at any time the species degenerates from its proper form, it can be formed again with the reason as the proximate intermediary and, through the Idea as intermediary, can then be easily reformed. (Three Books on Life, 1984)

      History sets different patterns of how human beings began to relate to "Cosmos" and other beings. And among them, myth and science have dominated the response of the human being to serve, control, and care for nature.

      The belief and understanding of nature as "Mother Earth", a divine living organism can be related to the use of myth. Myth as a form of framework knowledge as ancient civilizations were projected and related in society, beliefs, and their position to nature. Myths were accounts of creation, what has occurred, or what it began to be at a given time and space. Sacrality (quality of the sacred) and breakthrough (violent and sudden apparition of something), make the world as it is.

      Myths were exemplary models that revealed significant rites and human activities to be balanced with nature and human existence itself. Mythos (word or discourse of origins) has a conceptual opposition with logos (which thinks the essence of things, and from that thought gets knowledge of things), what we now call science.

      Merchant explains that the production of science has reduced nature to a "mechanistic" matter. There is an exhaustive desire to understand and appropriate nature, and technology to destroy the limits that somehow the belief of myths shaped in the past. The transformation of values has changed over time by the development of sources that can lead humans to "better understand" nature.

      Selections extracted from Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life: A Critical Edition and Translation with Introduction and Notes, by Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark (Binghamton, N.Y.: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1989).

    1. One of the hallmarks of Islamic gardens is the four-part garden laid out with axial walkways that intersect in the garden center. This highly structured geometrical scheme, called the chahar bagh, became a powerful metaphor for the organization and domestication of the landscape, itself a symbol of political territory. However, the cross-axial plan was not the only means of organizing the garden. In imperial, sub imperial, and ordinary house gardens, the space might be as simple as a paved courtyard with a fountain or sunken basin surrounded by potted plants. It might take the form of a single long rectangular bed with a central watercourse, as at the Generalife’s principal garden (Plate 2), or multiple beds aligned end to end in terraces on a sloping hillside as occurred in the

      Contextualize

      The use of geometry in the representation of political, social, and cultural status has been evidenced in different ancient cultures. In the case of the Middle East, the gardens were designed based on context, function and importance, and their relationship with buildings. They were not limited to one particular style, so Chahar bagh cannot be classified as an archetype of Islam culture. Most of the gardens were defined by several recognitions. The classic, formal, or casual style of the garden depends on your public or private condition.

      The reference axes, the use of symmetry, large avenues, hierarchical areas that can be seen in the Islam gardens are attached to power and politics, and how to organize a society.

      It is important to note that the cultural, social, and political features transmitted in the Islam gardens have also been translated into urban planning projects, such as the City of Chandigarh, designed in 1951 by Le Corbusier.

      Crabtree, J. (2015). Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh: an Indian city unlike any other. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from https://www.ft.com/content/2a194cb4-1a8d-11e5-a130-2e7db721f996

    1. This highly structured geometrical scheme, called the chahar bagh, became a powerful metaphor for the organization and domestication of the landscape, itself a symbol of political territory. However, the cross-axial plan was not the only means of organizing the garden.

      The use of geometry in representation of political, social and cultural status has been evidenced in different ancient cultures. In the case of the Middle East, the gardens were designed based on context, function and importance, and their relationship with buildings. They were not limited to one particular style, so chahar bagh cannot be classified as an archetype of Islam culture. Most of the gardens were defined by several recognitions. The classic, formal or casual style of the garden depends on your public or private condition.

      The reference axes, the use of simetria, large avenues, hierarchical areas that can be seen in the Islam gardens are attached to power and politics and how to organize a society.

      It is important to note that the cultural, social and political features transmitted in the Islam gardens have also been translated into urban planning projects, such as the City of Chandigarh, designed in 1951 by Le Corbusier.

      Crabtree, J. (2015). Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh: an Indian city unlike any other. Retrieved September 17, 2020 from https://www.ft.com/content/2a194cb4-1a8d-11e5-a130-2e7db721f996

    1. The  Chinese garden underwent a  significant period of development during the Six Dynasties. In addition to the continuation of the imperial park, the private garden (in the form of either a retreat in a sizable country estate or a scholar’s small garden attached to a residence) and the garden that was part of a Buddhist or a Daoist temple also greatly flourished in this period.  The scholar’s garden,  which developed from the  Eastern  Jin period onward, was particularly significant as its aesthetics influenced both the imperial and the temple gardens. The art of garden design and construction became increasingly sophisticated. And the functions of the garden went through some significant changes as well.  The  Six  Dynasties period was indeed important in the history of the  Chinese garden because it witnessed a number of developments that remained conventional throughout the subsequent imperial dynasties. Let us now turn to the most important developments in the garden during the Six Dynasties that bear special relevance to the topic of this chapter.

      Contextualize

      The Chinese view of nature and its aesthetics have been influenced by a culture of distinctive spiritual and philosophical currents such as Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The traditional Chinese landscape and the conceptions of the garden are a compilation of successive dynasties, social models, architecture, and techniques with also an understanding of the beauty of nature and the ability to symbolize it.

      The triad of human beings, earth, and heaven is part of nature. A continuous cosmos of universal, dynamic, self-creative, spontaneous, and unpredictable order, The Dao. The basic and most pure expression of a patterned and harmonious act of nature.

      In The Six Dynasties period, the motivations of garden creation were drawn by a spirit of evocation, the search, and capture of “essence” and “spirit resonance” of nature. Where the function of gardens pursues an aesthetic of contemplation and enjoyment, where people gather together in a representational scenario of nature.

      Zhou (1999) talks about the Chinese thinking of "nature and principle of man and things" and how the conception of a unitary cosmos and the understanding of selves and parts acting by patterns is the strongest driving force that shaped the Chinese tradition in terms of ethics, politics, religion but also architecture and landscape form. What shaped the Chinese landscape was the integration of the object's understanding in terms of opposition, integration, harmony, and relationships.

      Zhou, Weiquan (1999). Chinese classical landscape history. Beijing. Qing-Hua University Publishing.

    1. The  Chinese garden underwent a  significant period of development during the Six Dynasties. In addition to the continuation of the imperial park, the private garden (in the form of either a retreat in a sizable country estate or a scholar’s small garden attached to a residence) and the garden that was part of a Buddhist or a Daoist temple also greatly flourished in this period.  The scholar’s garden,  which developed from the  Eastern  Jin period onward, was particularly significant as its aesthetics influenced both the imperial and the temple gardens. The art of garden design and construction became increasingly sophisticated. And the functions of the garden went through some significant changes as well.  The  Six  Dynasties period was indeed important in the history of the  Chinese garden because it witnessed a number of developments that remained conventional throughout the subsequent imperial dynasties. Let us now turn to the most important developments in the garden during the Six Dynasties that bear special relevance to the topic of this chapter.

      Context

      The Chinese view of nature and its aesthetics have been influenced by a culture of distinctive spiritual and philosophical currents such as Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The traditional Chinese landscape and the conceptions of the garden are a compilation of successive dynasties, social models, architecture, and techniques with also an understanding of the beauty of nature and the ability to symbolize it.

      The triad of human beings, earth, and heaven is part of nature. A continuous cosmos of universal, dynamic, self-creative, spontaneous, and unpredictable order, The Dao. The basic and most pure expression of a patterned and harmonious act of nature.

      In The Six Dynasties period, the motivations of garden creation were drawn by a spirit of evocation, the search, and capture of “essence” and “spirit resonance” of nature. Where the function of gardens pursues an aesthetic of contemplation and enjoyment, where people gather together in a representational scenario of nature.

      Zhou (1999) talks about the Chinese thinking of "nature and principle of man and things" and how, The conception of a unitary cosmos and the understanding of selves and parts acting by patterns is the strongest driving force that shaped The Chinese tradition in terms of ethics, politics, religion but also architecture and landscape form. What shaped the Chinese landscape was the integration of the object's understanding in terms of opposition, integration, harmony, and relationships.

      Zhoug, Weiquan (1999). Chinese classical landscape history. Beijing. Qing-Hua University Publishing.

    1. The Genesis stories provide two ethical alternatives, dominion and stewardship-both of which are anthropocentric. They do not explicitly acknowledge anthropocentric ethics, such as ecocentrism in which humanity is only one of a number of equal parts-an ecocentric ethic, nor is biocentrism a possibility, in which value is grounded in life itself, rather than being centered in humanity. But another form from of ethics is the partnership ethic I propose that posits nature and humanity as equal, interacting, mutually responsive partners. This ethic combines human actions and nature's actions in a dynamic relationship with each other. Here nature is not created specifically for human use, nor are women and animals seen as helpmates for "man." Rather, human life and biotic life exist in mutual support, reciprocity, and partnership with each other. Gardens could exemplify places in which the practice of gardening is a caretaking of the soul and the life it generates.

      There are two narratives about the origin, fall and reinvention of the Eden Garden, called Recovery Narratives. These two narratives have strongly influenced the relationship between human beings and nature. I think it's important to mention that both the Christian Narrative and the Environmentalist narrative seek to recover the lost, paradise, the Garden of Eden. However, the conceptions of what the garden (enclosure) is, and what you want to recover (relative to its extent) differs from one narrative to another. The Gilgamesh story we read the previous week may be related to the change of conception of ''recovering the lost.''

      Rooted in Genesis l, the Christian Narrative is the most influential rooted in Western culture. Is a traditional biblical narrative of the Fall from the Garden of the Eden, the guilt is charged to women and men is the agent to transform and savior with intention to redeem and recovered the garden by recreating the Eden in Earth with the possibility to exercise power and control over everything around them. Is the narrative that supports exploitation of nature to benefit human being and their cause, gender inequity.

      The environmentalist narrative follows what it is written in Genesis ll, God creates the man from dust, then The Eden Garden is made, followed by 4 rivers and trees for food, woman becomes partner of man. The landscape of this narrative is more abundant, fertile, rich. Human beings, animals and nature coexists in harmony and abundance. The Eden landscape is river based, spring-fed, everything to maintain abundance. The decline of the Eden is slow, and the way how male and female intend to recover it has an ecological vision. Nature is a victim of exploitation but also the main benefactor of the recovery of Eden.

      In summary Genesis l as ethical model is defined by human dominion, and Genesis ll as ethical model it's about stewardship.

      In this case Gilgamesh's story is a good example for relating the objective of the Christian Narrative as an ethical model. Or the human dominion over nature. Where the main benefactor is the human being, and the exploitation of the earth and what is obtained from it is merely for the satisfaction of ''humanity'' and ''civilization.'' Eden on earth is depicted in the ''walled kingdom of Gilgamesh'' and the ''clearing and appropriation of the forest'' which possesses the benefits given by nature, water, food, shelter, light, wealth.

      Andrew, George. The Epic of Gilgamesh, Penguin Group. 1999

  4. Aug 2020
    1. In such a manner, then, the three universal institutions instantiate the three temporal ecstasies which, properly speaking, define humanity’s abode on the earth. Religion, matrimony, and burial of the dead embody the linear openness of time. Religion is born of the idea of providence. It implies an awareness of the future. Burial of the dead is grounded in reverence for the past, for the ancestral, in short for what we call tradition. Tradition comes to us from the domain of the dead. Both religion and burial, in turn, serve to consolidate the contract of matrimony, which mantains the genealogical line in the present.

      Contextualize: This passage is about the beginnings of Humanism and the forest as a subject or element that caused the appearance of what we know as civilization. The scene takes place in the West, in a landscape abundant with forests in all directions, in which the people who inhabited it were lonely, without parents, or responsibilities, nothing. They lived a life without rules or restrictions, what the author describes as "bestial freedom." They visualized the space in a horizontal sense, because the density of the forests did not let them see more. The forest respresented the unknown.

      As everything in nature is part of a cycle, forests dry up and between darkness, light passes through and creating the idea that there is something else than the forest, that's when the giants become aware of the sky and visualize the space vertically. Thus was born the first act of human enlightenment: forest clearing and the appropiation of it for the creation of the three human institutions: religion, matrimony and buried of the dead. The forest becomes the obstacle and threat to the progress of the human being.

    2. In such a manner, then, the three universal institutions instantiate the three temporal ecstasies which, properly speaking, define humanity’s abode on the earth. Religion, matrimony, and burial of the dead embody the linear openness of time. Religion is born of the idea of providence. It implies an awareness of the future. Burial of the dead is grounded in reverence for the past, for the ancestral, in short for what we call tradition. Tradition comes to us from the domain of the dead. Both religion and burial, in turn, serve to consolidate the contract of matrimony, which mantains the genealogical line in the present.

      Relate: Many times the question of why we human beings always feel so external, distant from nature comes to my head. And in this case the reading has made me reflect that this break or separation has existed since the beginning of civilization.

      It is interesting and surprising how from a simple act like looking at the sky, it can generate such a strong gap between man and nature. As if the relationship between the two disappeared as if they were antonymous words. I think that reading gives a fairly clear idea of ​​how western civilization viewed or understood nature before and after acts of humanism and how important the landscape in which they were situated was to generate this process of human enlightenment. It is a forest in itself spatially and visually horizontal, but at the same time it generates an idea of ​​endless. I wonder what would have happened if the landscape instead of being full of forests, green and extensive, had been arid, dry, without trees. Would the human being continue to feel threatened by nature? Would humanism, religion, marriage and the burial of the dead have been?

      The landscape is totally linked to human progress, and its disposition and characteristics define the limits of the human being in space. As for example, Vico's Giants conceptions of the space: Shadows=obstacle of knowledge, profane, dangerous, enchanted=what were forests for West civilization.

      Light=knowledge,civilization, progress,divinity, religion=humans becoming aware of the sky.