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I wrote this ages ago and didn't post it cuz it was omg so random and unfinished, but whatever.

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Jul. 31st, 2010 | 01:15 am

(I wrote this post a long time ago, or a longish time ago, and I'd hate to just erase it - so, I'm going to post it. A lot of these thoughts are already expired, curdled milk. Don't imbibe them or you will be poisoned and afflicted with a terrible illness. In other words, don't take anything I say here to heart because I've already changed my stupid flighty mind. 

I want to post something else and I have nothing new or all that relevant to add to this one.

So yeah: here it is. Whatever.)

It occurred to me a while ago that if it weren't for my nature writing course and my introductory theory course, my experience at UIC might have been a total wash. I did take a course where ecocriticism was featured,  and that might have been cool if the professor wasn't such a pompous douchebag.

It also occurred to me that in three of my major papers (the ones that I most enjoyed writing, as well), my main focus was on man's relation to the environment, and the ways in which writing/ideology/thought (literary, philosophical, rhetorical) complicates, enhances, or in some way alters that relation. I wrote a lot about gender and sexuality, too, but that seems less important, less original, and ultimately less essential than these other papers (not that any undergraduate paper is really 'important' or 'essential' but you know what I mean).

Then I realized that of all the things that matter to me, literature, ethics, philosophy, and nature immediately jump out.

So I googled. I googled and googled and read and read, and it turns out that I should probably just enroll in a graduate program devoted to literature and environment/literature and science, then move on from there to whatever -- most likely to a prestigious managerial position at wal-mart, since the demand for ecocritics/literature and environment specialists is... low, but whatever. Once I've accumulated the funds this is what I want to do.

For now.

Ecocritical concerns match my concerns. How do we construct a sense of place? What is home, or how should we think about home? How should we relate to our environment? What are the ethical implications of the ways we relate already, and how can the relation be altered either through political action or ideological deployments (such as lit or other texts)? What is the meaning of nature? How can we organize social practices such that the environment becomes a focal point? What have writers said about x issue? How do authors like Ed Abbey differ or line up with the likes of Annie Dillard, or Thoreau, or Emerson? What are we trying to accomplish when we engage nature through literature? What do we actually accomplish? How does the portrayal of nature in texts of any sort affect our perception of it, and therefore our actions within it?

These are some of the questions that ecocritical discourses attempt to answer. They're questions I'd like to think more about.

Ok so topic change!

I'm reading Annie Dillard's For the Time Being. She's just gone from talking about how there are 86 billion people who have already lived and died on the planet, to talking about the Bal Shem Tov and his love for books, and then Emperor Qin's hatred for them. Then she talked about clouds for a while, and the problem of evil. I've loved every second of it.

Read this kabbalaist rabbi's explanation of the creation of the world and origin of evil (presented to us by Dillard):

"Luria's Kabbalist creation story, however baroque, accounts boldly for both moral evil and natural calamity. The creator meant his light to emanate, ultimately, to man. Grace would flow downward through ten holy vessels, like water cascading. Cataclysm -- some say creation itself -- disrupted this orderly progression. The holy light burst the vessels. The vessels splintered and scattered. Sparks of holiness fell to the depths, and the opaque shards of the broken vessels (qelippot) imprisoned them. This is our bleak world. We see only the demonic shell of things. It is literally sensible to deny that God exists. In fact, God is hidden, exiled, in the sparks of divine light the shells entrap. So evil can exist, can continue to live: The spark of goodness within things, the Gnostic-like spark that even the most evil tendency encloses, lends evil its being.

'The sparks scatter everywhere,' Martin Buber said. 'They cling to material things as in sealed-up wells, they crouch in substances as in caves that have been bricked up, they inhale darkness and breathe out fear; they flutter about in the movements of the world searching where they can lodge to be set free.'"

Does this mean, essentially, that god effed up? How would God not have foreseen that his holy light would splinter the vessels? Silly god.

Note to self: read more theology.

Also, Desert Solitaire is a great book. Read it. It will change your life possibly. Every book changes my life, I think, so I don't know how much anyone can take that comment to heart when they hear it from me.

Ok end.

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Comments {3}

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date: Feb. 16th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)

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