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January 25, 2007

Prompt #1: Why the Woods?

Henry David Thoreau took a trip to the woods to live as a natural human - not as one assimilated into a complex culture and society built from collective thought.

A human alone in the woods is an animal just like any other, they are a product of this earth. Human beings arrived on this planet as just another organism. Humans were just another part of nature and just as "deliberate". Their powerful brain: their interaction and their rise above instinct allowed them to create their own world. Eventually a consensus was reached and customs and rules became more extensive than those of nature. A line was drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behavior, a line becoming more restrictive throughout history.

Thoreau understood that the human essence is not found in what their minds have built, but in that which built them, where they came from - nature. Alone in the woods Thoreau could observe the grand scheme. The village was a faction, a deviant, from the natural world. The village was a representative of what humans have created. The woods were representative of earth’s much more ancient wisdom and a temple to the force that created the human race.

The power of the human brain is seen not only in our evolving doctrine of justice and values, or in our rapidly approaching domination of technology. The human brain is equally amazing because it allows people like Thoreau to re-examine our place on this planet and what that place means to our species.

Here's a link to the wikipedia page about the Gaia hypothesis. I had to read something about it in a political ideologies class because it related to environmentalism. Anyways, it was in the back of my head as I was writing this response. I'm sure Thoreau would've loved it.