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Walden_II_for_103A - I Mind and Matter I Mind and Matter...

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Unformatted text preview: I. Mind and Matter I. Mind and Matter Puritanism: For the purposes of this class, we’ll discuss Puritanism as a set of religious and cultural assumptions associated with those English settlers who founded the Massachusetts Bay colony in the 1630s. Key Puritan beliefs include: 1) the total depravity of humanity due to Original Sin; and 2) unconditional election, meaning each individual is predestined to be saved or damned and cannot “do” anything to change their fate—this belief resulted in the constant self­monitoring of believers for symptoms of grace or depravity. We can see some of this extreme self­consciousness and self­appraisal in Thoreau. Spiritual autobiography Dualism: the view that the world consists of two fundamental entities, spirit and matter. Anthropocentric: human­centered Ecocentric or biocentric: earth­centered “As I came home through the woods with my string of fish, trailing my pole, it being now quite dark, I caught a glimpse of a woodchuck stealing across my path, and felt a strange thrill of savage delight, and was strongly tempted to seize and devour him raw; not that I was hungry then, except for that wildness which he represented…I found in myself, and still find, an instinct toward a higher, or, as it is named, spiritual life, as do most men, and another toward a primitive rank and savage one, and I reverence them both. I love the wild not less than the good.” (189) “Higher Laws,” in Walden II. Temperance and Self­Culture II. Temperance and Self­Culture Temperance Societies: Societies encouraging temperance or restraint in all habits, particularly the consumption of liquor Teetolism: abstinence from all forms of liquor Second Great Awakening: major evangelical religious revival that swept the Northeast from roughly 1800 through the 1830s Perfectionism: popular theory growing out of Second Great Awakening that humans could speed the coming of the millennium by tirelessly improving themselves “The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt if they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality. Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning and evening. It is a little stardust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.” (194) The Transcendentalist Movement: In the US, this movement was a quasi­religious, philosophical one with many goals. Its essential goal was for its members to transcend the world of matter and live by spiritual laws that (paradoxically) might be discerned in Nature. III. Brute Neighbors: Toward an Ecological III. Brute Neighbors: Toward an Ecological Vision Ecology: the study of the complex inter­ relations among earth’s species. From the Greek word oikos, meaning “household.” “They [baby partridge] are not callow like the young of most birds, but more perfectly developed and precocious even than chickens. The remarkably adult yet innocent expression of their open and serene eyes is very memorable. All intelligence seems reflected in them. They suggest not merely the purity of infancy, but a wisdom clarified by experience. Such an eye was not born when the bird was, but is coeval with the sky it reflects. The woods do not yield such another gem. The traveler does not often look into such a limpid well.” (204) from “Brute Neighbors,” in Walden personification: the literary technique of ascribing human­like qualities to non­ human beings or objects. (Often accomplished through metaphor). epic simile: extended metaphorical comparison that gives a ceremonial aspect to classical epic poetry—or earnest American prose! ...
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