maandag 3 september 2012

We know nothing of untamed Nature

"We know nothing of untamed Nature, because our own landscape is entirely subject to our needs and desires. If it sometimes strikes us as untamed, it is either because in our forests, for instance its changes operate to a slower rhythm; or because as in the mountains the problems were of such complexity that Man has tackled them in detail rather than in one systematic assault. Such coherence as has resulted from these innumerable individual initiatives now seems to share the original primitive character of the mountain-world, whereas in fact it is due to an interlocking chain of decisions and enterprises, each of which seemed at the time to be independent of the others. Yet even the wildest of European landscapes has something of order and proportion about it. (Poussin was the incomparable interpreter of this.) Walk among our mountains and you will notice the contrast between forest and bare slope, the relation between the forest and the meadows below it: and the variety of expression which comes about as first one kind of vegetation, and then another, dominates the scene Travel in America, and you will realize that this sublime harmony, far from being the spontaneous expression of Nature herself, is the result of agreements long sought for between mankind and the site in question. What causes us to gape, in all simplicity, are the traces of our bygone enterprise. " - Claude Levi-Strauss.

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