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A Sense of Place

Smacholdt's picture

After Tuesday’s discussion, I read some more of Naess’s essays with the thought that he was writing with the idea that his environmental outlook was better than everyone else’s, or that he was trying to indoctrinate people into his way of thinking. However, while reading the essay about Tvergastein I found that he was simply expressing his own profound respect for nature and sharing his ideas about why this respect is important.

I thought that he made some interesting points about how we relate to our sense of place. He points out that we have lost our deep ties that we used to have to our homes because of the modern lifestyle that encourages us to move so much, and not settle in one single place for any length of time. Naess feels that the best way for us to develop this sense of “place” is, “through the tightening of the interrelation between self and the environment.” A sense of place is important to Naess because he seems to point out that if we can’t even develop an appreciation for the place that we live, how can we be expected to appreciate the rest of the environment. (i.e. places like Tvergastein where only stubby plants are able to grow.) He also points out that in many cities people take a gallon of boiling water for granted, while in Tvergastein this is something to be grateful for.

Naess further conveys his admiration for nature in the essay, Modesty and the Conquest of Mountains. He says that the mountain people possess, “a certain greatness, a cleanliness, a concentration on what is essential, a self-sufficiency, and consequently a disregard of luxury, of complicated means of all kinds.” Naess admires this simplicity of life and harmony with nature. He also seems to admire the respect that these people have for their place in the world. He points out that when we are dwarfed by a mountain, we realize how immense the mountain is, and how very small we as humans are in comparison.



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