Friday, February 23, 2007

On Lecture and Novak

First of all I just want to echo what Stephen said about the discussion of the Orient and their views toward nature. This was something that came to my mind during lecture on Wednesday.
When we were talking about the idea of idealizing the Orient for their apparent closeness to nature, the point was made that communism did more for environemntal issues than Zen Budhism ever did. But a distinction between Communism and Buddhism is necessary. Buddhism is idealized as a way to view nature because it creates a closeness with and appreication for the processes in our own lives and in nature. But it is very much an individual lifestyle choice, one that not everyone makes. Therefore, communism is more effective overall in solving environmetal problems, because it forces people to do certain things. Buddhism can and should still be considered an enlightened way to view nature, and even a solution, and the two should not be compared as one way or the other.

Second, I want to discuss an idea that I think we may have touched on in class (and maybe it was explicitly said and I missed it) that I thought of while reading the third chapter of Barbara Novak's book "Nature and Culture" about the meaning of the word sublime and how it is reflected in the art of the 18th and 19th centuries. The change in definition over this period of time, from "majestic, terrible, larger than life, to be feared" to the feeling of overpowering peace in the workings of humand and nature, sounds like a reflection of the change in the way people viewed the concept of God, which then manifested in the way nature was viewed, which then manifested in the way artist's portrayed nature for people to enjoy. Wow...pop culture runs deep....

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