Susan Anderson's blog
Our group used a skit to demonstrate ideas about how we, as a society, can change the environment. We collaborated on two ideas, one of which you saw in class. Here is a script of our second skit.
I (Susan) am the leader of a protest against deforrestation. Behind me are several of our classmates, representing other protesters from the same organization. Sara is a woman who is chopping down trees on her property. Rochelle is Mother Nature, who is ambling about coughing because Mother nature is sick.
Susan: Hello ma'am. We are from the Americans for the Preservation of Forrests Association. We would like to protest your chopping down of this forrest.
Sara(in a Southern accent): This is my property I can do whatever I want to it!
Susan: But you see, you are affecting more people than just yourself by destroying this tree.
Sara: No one lives within a mile of me! I am affecting no one.
Susan: Ah, but you see, by killing more things than you need to, you are making Mother Nature sick (gestures to Rochelle). Mother Nature is already sick as it is, but if you continue to chop down trees you will make her even more sick. If she gets too sick, then she will destroy us all with extreme weather.
Sara: Ah, piss off. I'm going inside my house and getting nice and warm. (Sara goes into her house, the group of protestors goes away dejectedly). Oh, it's so nice in this house!
When I set out for my site sit today, some part of me is happy that this is my last one. It is Sunday morning and everything is grey, everything is cold, and everything is wet. I did not start out happy sitting under the bench near the labyrinth. The only thing that cheered me up is, "At least I don't have to do this any more. It's getting too cold for this." But then, of course, I realized what it really means that this is my last site sit. No more medatative hours just watching the world do its thing. No more little squirrels hopping about. No more labyrinth watching. So maybe while it's cold I will keep away from any site sitting, but when the world warms again for spring maybe I'll come out of hibernation and enjoy the peace that is a site sit.
While reading The Lives of Animals, I thought to myself, "Well this is a let down. I thought this was going to be more of a novel. It's just a lot of little essays crammed into a book with a sham of a narrative to bookend them." However, having accepted this about the "novel", I began to see the genius of the author framing his argument in this way.
I see the son as neutral. He is in the middle of the extremes of his mother and his wife. Sure, he argues against them, but he does so as much with his mother as with his wife. This is why he is the narrarator. He should be likened to us, the persuadable. Then Coetzee spews many arguments at us, from many different sources. The constant debate makes the overall book very neutral. We should identify with whichever of the arguments makes the most sense to us.
Most of the arguments are based on reason, except for Elizabeth Costello's. So, while the narrative is a forum for all ideas (past the first lecture) to be debated, it also establishes that the emotional argument should be considered when we are making up our minds about what we think about the lives of animals.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving break, I found myself thinking about mud.
On our geological biological tour, we did not exactly follow the directions to the letter. The instructions were to spend time talking about the class, then proceed with either the geological or biological tour, and after that one was finished, go on to the next part. Our group started by talking about the class, which was interesting. It was like seeing a parallel universe Ecological Imaginings. Small things like the places we have class and the majors within the groups are different, but we are really getting the same things out of the class, a better understanding of our ecology.
After that portion of our time together, we decided to walk across campus (from Erdman where we started to Mill Creek) and whenever we saw something that was incorporated into our respective tours, stop and talk about it. I liked this. In a way it was very ecological. We didn't separate geology and botany into distinct group, but addressed them as they came in the natural flow of our sauntering.
"When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art." - Paul Cezanne
I thought this was an interesting quote by Cezanne on nature that came up in Art History the other day. Putting this in context, many artists, when painting landscape, would copy elements from paintings in the Louvre and put it into their work. Cezanne thought that to create art you have to look at the original object. I wonder if Cezanne would disapprove of Morton?
Money is really just an idea. More and more, it is becoming conceptualized rather than a physical asset as electronic banking is coming into play. So, what does it represent?
Money represents power. It represents your ability to gain assets, and it serves to show off these traits. It can be inherited, power given down from generation to generation. The same is true for the idea of survival of the fittest. Animals and plants inherit the ability to survive, to feed themselves, to compete from their parents. They show it off with mating rituals and the sheer act of flourishing.
Maybe we are not as different from other life forms as we make it out. We just have the added advantage of better cognitive skills.
Maybe, like we laugh at a cat staring predatorily into it's reflection in the mirror, other "higher" life forms are laughing at us for our the inability of our brains to see how the world really works. If they came along, I think we would still like the right to live.
Today's talk got me thinking about The Lion King. In that movie, Mufasa explains to his son Simba the Circle of Life. They sing a song about it and there is a whole monologue about it, but really we, as young children, are paying more attention to the story and the flashy animation.
This concept of energy flow is actually quite shocking to me. Another living thing must die so that I can live. I think that we, as humans, have made the consumption process less violent, so that we do not have to think about the death that has occured so we may have one meal. When I see a piece of chicken, I see food, not the face of an animal that died to feed me.
Maybe if we were confronted more often about this natural part of life we would expand our theories about who and what has rights. Or maybe we would become more desensitized to violence. Who knows?
I came back to my room and could still see the imprints of our bodies on the grass. Though the traces were faint, we still left something behind.
Today, as on every Sunday, I sat at my spot, the labryinth. It was cold, but it was calm and peaceful as usual. Afterwards, I went to the town of Bryn Mawr and found even more peace there. While at my site sit, everything was static. It seemed that the world froze everything to a standstill. Even the squirrels were still today, and I enjoyed this moment of pause before I carried on with the rest of my day. As I crossed under the train station and through intersections, I experienced the same peace of mind I found in my spot echoed in the town of Bryn Mawr. Except, there was movement. The cars drove past, people bought things, and the traffic lights changed. Even though it was a normal day, it all seemed like an ideal, harmonious day in a small American town. I guess you can be pastoral about any landscape, human or natural.