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Jack Turner's "The Abstract Wild"
Jack Turner, who authored The Abstract Wild, is a widely traveled individual whose purpose in writing is not to indulge into issuing judgemental opinion regarding environmental issues or theoretical whining. Throughout the book the author introduces complex arguments that discuss a vast range of wilderness related issues and ultimately defends the wild in all of its forms.
This book comprises of eight provocatively written essays, which share a common theme. The author primarily indulges into explaining why conservation efforts have instead of leading towards preservation of the environment have led to the very contrary. Briefly the subject of the essays is the ways in which wildness has been interceded, micromanaged and in effect taken nearly out of subsistence.
In the book the author brings the reader to think how wild actually wilderness is and how wild are the reader's related experiences. Jack Turner then himself answers both these questions. His feeling is that neither is very wild. Moreover, he states that readers are not in a position to correctly judge or relate to wilderness. This is basically because they do not spend enough time with the wild.
Moving on he feels that humans are in no position to preserve wilderness because the actual time they have spent with this very wilderness is rare. For everyone who believes that they are playing a role in preserving he questions, what in fact are these individuals working to preserve. To be able to enjoy or preserve wilderness Jack Turner advocates that there is a need to spend time with the wilderness.
From the summits of the Tetons, I see to the west a mosaic of farms scaring the round hills and valleys, as though someone had taken a razor to the face of a beautiful woman" (Turner). It is at such and many other points in The Abstract Wild that Jack Turner seems to be deeply involved in informing the reader what it actually means to be wild. Being wild is a concept that is more than often talked about but has hardly been precisely and exactly defined.
Generally the concept of being wild in itself is not regarded as important but it is rather the preserving of this wild that has involved the minds of most thinkers. To be very brief and precise Jack Turner in The Abstract Wild defines wild as being natural. Anything and everything which stands in its natural form and away from development is wild.
Where preservation efforts have reached a place it no longer remains wild since the natural course of occurrences have been disturbed. It is movement and progress along the natural cycle of life that makes a place wild. Out where nature is still in its real form there is an effect and atmosphere created. This is an aura and magic which the modern and developed society is handicapped off.
The Abstract Wild is opened by Jack Turner by narrating a story. This story is the backbone and true illustration of the concept put forward by Jack Turner. This tale talks of a time when he became involved in the exploration of the Maze in Utah. It was at this point that he had come across ancient pictographs. The purpose of Jack Turner behind his story telling is to demonstrate to his readers what a justly wild and unmediated experience his introduction to the Maze was.
Through this tale the writer makes the readers aware of the concept of aura, magic, and wildness that places which are true to the word wild contain. Jack Turner felt a spiritual bond and connection with the pictographs he came across in the Maze. This was because of the feelings of authority, exquisiteness, and wonder that they led to inside him when he first saw them.
Furthermore he later on regarded his behavior of taking pictures of the pictographs and consistently recounting his experience to people as spoiling of the unmediated experience. According to his theory his actions led to extensive attention and exposure to the wild as well as his experience with the Maze. This publicity is what he talks against. According to him any form of limelight on such localities and experiences leads to a loss in the former and the latter.
Thus the point he is trying to make involves a positive effort to keep the wild and its related experiences sacred. He also talks of his second visit to the pictographs. This time what he felt inside was very different when compared to his first visit. The reason he presents behind this disparity in experience is because of the exposure he gave to the magical connection between him and the ancient mural sieved.
This throwing of the spotlight on the wild and his related experience sieved out the special emotions he had once felt being created within him. It is here that Jack Turner has made his point which deals with the effect of publicity on wilderness. From this story one conclusion regarding his theory can be drawn. Had he not been involved in revealing his bond and connection either through pictures or through conversations he would have encountered the equally intense or similar emotions inside him on his second visit.
In the authors mind publicity is not an vice but rather a culprit. According to him when humans become involved in the exhibition of wild places through photographing, painting, advertising or conversing the element of it being wild begins to disappear. Any such or related activity leads to disturbance of the natural flow of things. This means that the cycle pf nature is disturbed and in absence o natural element the wild no longer remains wild.
Jack Turner is against the process of drawing maps and converting wild places into national parks. He feels that national parks and demarcation of certain places as wilderness areas are in itself representation of the fact that these attractions have nothing to do with the wild. He feels that they are unable to offer the primeval, spiritualist connections, which is a part of the very character of the wild. Thus the creation of major attractions like the Yellow Stone Park and the Grand Canyon are both matters he does not support.
When maps are drawn and publicity is constant the influx of visitors is high. This means that nature is bounded to be disturbed and effected in ways it cannot overcome. If one goes by Jack Turners theory then any placed either managed by humans or developed to be more friendly towards humans and general use fails to be wild. He advocated that the result of all such activity is that the magic, the aura, and the wildness that these places hold gradually but definitely becomes rare and finally completely fades away.
For him nature magazines, photographs, and films are nothing to celebrate. All these he feels in different ways contribute to the removal of the wild element. Thus keeping his theory in consideration the wild should be left alone and not be explored in anyway other than through physical visitation. Once these visits are made the experience should remain scared and not for public consumption.
Many elements of the wild need to be tamed before any effort can be actually made towards either coverage for the media or for public access. Once such efforts get underway the wild gradually is changed up to the extent required for it become a property of mass appeal. At such a point the wild is restrained and disciplined, both being very contrary to the wild. Publishing about the wild either through the print media or through the electronic media will lead to an end of the aura and magic that these places hold.
Through the book Jack Turner has put forward this critical link he has devised in relation to the wild. One element of this chain connects with conservation efforts. it. There are certain individuals in this preservation team whose role Jack Turner does not approve off. These are namely natural resource managers, conservation biologists, environmental economists, park rangers, zoo directors, environmental activists and others. The author feels that even though they proceed in the name of the conservation they are not doing much for the cause.
Preservation he feels requires ethics, but individuals are unaware of where they should look for these ethics. The writer argues that a new conservation ethic is required. This contemporary code he says will take the focus away from preserving the different elements of the nature. Concentration will be placed on preserving the process in which the natural course of things proceed. Thus things will be left on their own course pretty much. Furthermore he claims that it is extremely important to realize and understand that wilderness truly rests in it being self-ordered, independent, self-sufficient and wild.
Conservation efforts as per his theory should be limited. The extent to which they are pursued should be outlined according to the traits characteristic to the wild. Any measure which is dictated…[continue]
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