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Rethinking Anthropocentric

Smacholdt's picture

The one key term that I kept coming back to when re-reading the beginning of my web-paper was “anthropocentric.” I freely admit in my first paragraph that I am the lens that I use to observe the campus on my walk. I use the words “I” and “my” fourteen times in the first paragraph alone.

In order to re-focus my thoughts, I chose three entirely new words through which to view this experience. These words are: “interaction”, “resilience”, and “community.”

All parts of nature are a community- living and non-living, old and new. The interactions of these distinct, yet interconnected parts were an interesting aspect of a cool, September walk. Some buildings were covered in ivy vines, while others were built up against half an acre of trees. The interaction of humans and their environment was also interesting. Delicately laid turf squares withered where tall trees deprived them of light. Weeds burst through cracks in the sidewalk, and moss covered shaded benches. And the sun shone over everything, not effected in the least by the presence or absence of human beings. The interaction of the sun and growing things was obvious. Grass and other plants that received sun thrived, while plants that were deprived of it generally died. However, the idea of resilience is greatly important because of the way in which dead things are able to re-grow. Perennial flowers come back again and again without the assistance of humans. Plants pollinate through the air, attached to the fur, hair, and skin of animals, or through digestive tracks. Everything on Bryn Mawr’s campus that sunny morning was connected. It wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t.


I used r.graham.barrett’s definitions of interaction and resilience. Interaction: Mutual or reciprocal action or influence. (For example, things in the environment acting on each other.) Resilience: An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. (Like plants not receiving enough sunlight.) Also, the word “community” was an idea that many people touched on, either directly, or indirectly. In this case, I think that the OED definition, “A body of individuals” is a good statement of what the word embodies; many distinct wholes making up a greater body. Each individual works better in conjunction with others. “Community” is a much more broader term than “anthropomorphism,” and I think that a broad scope is needed when discussing a topic as sprawling as “nature.”