The Abstract Wild Essay Research Paper

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The Abstract Wild Essay, Research Paper Jack Turner?s The Abstract Wild is a complex argument that discusses many issues and ultimately defends the wild in all of its forms. He opens the novel with a narrative story about a time when he explored the Maze in Utah and stumbled across ancient pictographs. Turner tells this story to describe what a truly wild and unmediated experience is. The ideas of the aura, magic, and wildness that places contain is introduced in this story. Turner had a spiritual connection with the pictographs because of the power, beauty, and awe that they created within him upon their first mysterious contact. Turner ruined this unmediated experience by taking photographs of the pictographs and talking about them to several people. His second visit to the

pictographs was extremely different- he had removed the wild connection with the ancient mural and himself by publicizing and talking about them. This is Turner?s main point within the first chapter. He believes that when we take a wild place and photograph it, talk about it, advertise it, make maps of it, and place it in a national park that we ruin the magic, the aura, and the wildness of that place. Nature magazines, photographs, and films all contribute to the removal of our wild experience with nature. It is the difference between visiting the Grand Canyon after you have seen it on TV and read about it in magazines, or never having heard of the place and stumbling across it on your own during a hike. Unfortunately, almost every wild experience between nature and the public

has been ruined by the media. Through Turner?s story he begins to explain the idea of the wild and its importance and necessity of human interaction with the wild. The second chapter contains two major ideas. The first is Turner?s defense and explanation of the appropriateness of anger. Turner thinks that society wrongly taught the people to repress and fear their emotions. Turner finds primal emotions to be necessary to our survival, as well as the survival of the wild. He explains that anger occurs when we defend something we love or something we feel is sacred. He reminds us to cherish our anger and use it to fuel rebellion. Turner criticizes the cowardice of modern environmentalists in the following passage: "The courage and resistance shown by the Navajos at Big

Mountain, by Polish workers, by blacks in South Africa, and, most extraordinarily, by Chinese students in Tiananmen Square makes much of the environmental protest in America seem shallow and ineffective in comparison(21)." Maybe if we knew and loved wild nature we could properly defend and preserve it. Maybe if we felt an intimate connection with wild nature we would react to the damming of a river or the rape of an ancient forest as we would to someone raping our children. The second major idea is Turner?s argument of how modern man is far removed from wild nature. He describes how different nature is today compared with the mid-nineteenth century nature of Thoreau and Muir. Government laws and organizations have severely degraded the wild nature. They seek to preserve and

remove problems within the wilderness; however, they only remove the wild from nature. Zoos and national parks are poor substitutes for authentic wild nature. Government laws and organizations, such as national parks and the Forest Service, use anthropocentric ideas to manage the wilderness. They use surveillance and control every aspect of ecosystems, and thus removing the process of wild nature from these ecosystems by making them dependent on human maintenance. National Forests were created for humans for recreation and resource utilization. They are literally a business, and only seek to preserve nature based on anthropocentric needs rather than geocentric needs. Turner claims that true wild nature does not exist within national forests because they are constantly being