Words cannot replicate reality/wild (x). Similarly, GIS and computers cannot replicate the real world.
What is visible is most clear to us (xi). Admits he does not have as much knowledge about the world or philosophy as some do.
Everyone makes places their own (1), whether it’s the city or a park.
Can land or space really be owned by a person or government (12)? What right does any one person have to own land?
Using a flashlight keeps him separate from the world. He prefers not to use it to be closer to earth (15). By choice we separate ourselves from the world.
A closer look at Arches National Park.
“I’m a humanist; I’d rather kill a man than a snake” (20).
We give animals human characteristics. Abbey argues it’s okay to give them emotion. He accepts that we are all brothers, although many like to deny it (24-25).
Takes inventory of flowers. He supports wild flowers and is against “created” greenhouses (28).
Abbey feels alive in the country; openness and freedom (31).
Admits he does not like ants, this is a caveat to his philosophy. Human after all? (32).
“We must concede that science is nothing new, that research, empirical logic, the courage to experiment are as old as humanity” (35).
The environment he describes is very strange; the forces of geology, biology, and human thought coalesce into a foreign place (36).
Needs more predators to hunt prey, but the predators is precisely what we have been exterminating (38).
“out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours” (45). Being in Arches may enlighten one towards God/spirituality, or convince one otherwise.
Time is something that is very hard for humans to comprehend, especially geologic time. A rock may wait thousands of years to fall. The desert brings humans face to face with the concept of time.
For the first time, due to tourism, change is not geologic (55).
Would you want Abbey’s job? (48).
Zion National Park. Abbey describes this new highway to be constructed in the park. I visited the park in 2002 and once reading about the highway I thought, “Oh no, how terrible!’. Then I remembered when the book was written and that I visited more that 30 years after this road was built. It is interesting to see that opinion on the importance or our love of nature hasn’t changed, but neither has our willingness to actually do anything about current issues.
Should people not go to the parks if we are spoiling them? There are 330 million people in America, can everyone experience nature and preserve it at the same time?
“unless a great many citizens rear up on their hind legs and make vigorous political gestures demanding implementation of the Act” (58). It is in our hands!
A little background on the Wilderness Preservation Act of 1964.
The idea of wilderness is something we must decide. We don’t know what the founding fathers meant, it is our interpretation (59).
We expect accessibility to parks (62).
“Industrial tourism is a threat to the national parks”. “Unless a way is found to stabilize the nation’s population, the parks cannot be saved” (64). I totally agree. If the world is trying to develop, and its population increases, how can sustaining the environment be a goal? Who wants to volunteer to stop having children and consuming mass resources in order to save a park or some trees?
Abbey places the importance of environment over people; children and elderly.
Desert does have some resources; coal, oil, zinc, silver. Not totally worthless from an economic standpoint (76).
Abbey opens mind more in order to contemplate the world, giving him a closer bond with nature (121).
Should Indians be exploited for the tourism industry? (135).
Conversation with a man from Ohio: there is beauty in all things. The desert in itself is unique and should be appreciated for its qualities.
I find the topic of water very interesting. People in the region are glad to have it, but not too much. There is a balance of water in the desert that is a way of life. I was so surprised to learn that the desert does not have a shortage of water, but just the right amount. Governments and business thinks otherwise; instead of living within the means of the environment huge amounts of water is diverted and dammed (159).
“We need the possibility of escape” (162). Abbey makes the argument that even if people never leave pavement, they need the wilderness as a means of retaining sanity.
Story of Mooneye. Any thoughts? I don’t get the purpose of this one.
We all put up with our everyday routine. Entering the wilderness for Abbey grants him his freedom and gives him the ability to think for himself (193).
If a man can live in the desert with all his needs taken care of, as Abbey says, why then don’t more people do so? (200).We distance ourselves from the wild rather than embracing what it has to offer.
“…Nature’s polluted, there’s man in every secret corner of her doing damned, wicked deeds” (206). What a conundrum! We ourselves are nature, but we are also the ones who pollute it by our very existence.
When exploring alone as Abbey does often, survival is not guaranteed (251). For most of us today, we do not flirt with survival on a daily basis, it is expected. How does this change our relationship with nature? Are we any less connected?
“[Death is] a ruthless, brutal process—but clean and beautiful” (269). Death is not only natural, but inevitable. This is yet another truth that most people chose to ignore. We rationalize that our lives have some inherent quality that gives us some greater purpose than the other components of earth and the universe. We live in a man-centered, anthropocentric world (305).
Human’s relationship to the sea is the journey we take. When climbing mountains we strive to reach the summit, where immediately after we must come back down. The desert is something very different. It is almost a place created for the contemplation of man. This portion of the book is fuzzy to me (the pages aren’t literally fuzzy, I just don’t understand it) so what was Abbey trying to convey?
“we cease to care, becoming more concerned with the naming than the things named; the former becomes more real than the latter” (322). Abbey calls people “lost” because we are so focused on our created world that we fail to see the real world.
“Grateful for our departure?” (334). Abbey highlights our insignificance, or rather our lack of significance. We may have an enormous impact on the earth currently, but the world has a way of moving on very quickly. The desert cares not of humans, present or not, live or dead, and the desert will exist long after we are gone.