Wilderness: Theory and Practice

Wilderness is one of the fundamental concepts of environmental philosophy.

It is commonly recognized as being a place without human presence; yet is also a feeling of fear and awe, and a particular state of heightened consciousness, as the “–ness” (re: happiness & sadness) implies.

Wilderness: Theory and Practice is designed to help you understand “wilderness”; you’ll learn how it is a key idea in environmental philosophy & Western history;

& more profoundly, you’ll learn how you can tap and harness the “wilderness” feeling, and state of mind, to achieve existential, creative and professional goals.

above bear lake emigrant copy 2

“Wilderness” contains immense powers, and by becoming intimately familiar with them, you can gain the ability to release & use them—beneficially. We’ll read about, and play with new words & ideas to express how, wilderness is a “space” where 1) “structure” does not (appear to) exist and 2), as one brings “structure” to it, one also adapts to and assumes its character: a transformative process.

from Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket: A Romance by Edgar Allan Poe; illustration by A. D.  McCormick
from Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket: A Romance by Edgar Allan Poe; illustration by A. D. McCormick 1898

Wilderness is always a space of transformation—& b/c it appears at the edges of our presence, it is always accessible. We just have to re-cognize* it, inside and outside of us; then we can be at “home” with(in) it.

Isla Wollaston, Cape Horn archipelago, Patagonian Chile
Isla Wollaston, Cape Horn archipelago, Patagonian Chile

This 4-part course is designed to promote and celebrate such re-cognition by providing you understanding of how, and why, “wilderness” was invented by Western culture. You will explore the primary sources & vocabulary of the idea & reality of wilderness, so you can understand and articulate your feelings of, & yearning for, it.

*re-cognize means to “know again”

COURSE OF STUDY:

We will read texts by the authors listed below at home, & meet and discuss the texts for 2 hours. The goal of this philosophy course is to improve the clarity and quality of our every moment. In this era of global climate change, our study of “wilderness” will awaken our adaptative capacities, and give us courage and hope.

—Wilderness as Western Construct, catalyzed by the 1st and 2nd Ages of Discovery:

selections from Hakluyt, Bradford, Morton, Darwin, Poe

—Wilderness as a feeling, and type of consciousness

Selections from Upanishads, Bible, Kant, Poe, Nietzsche, Abbey

—Wilderness and the Sacred

selections from Burke, Snyder, Heidegger & rereading of Upanishads, Bible

—Wilderness as home

selections from Jefferson, Thoreau, Leopold, Lame Deer/Erdoes, Heidinger

LOGISTICS:

We’ll be meeting around a large table at Packard’s in Northampton on Thursday nights from 7-9 pm. This is an adult class, designed to be a directed discussion group, enjoyed in a European salon fashion.

These our our 4 class dates: Thursday May 7, 14, 21 and 28

No special equipment or gear is needed. At home, you’ll read the texts and jot responses to prompts; then, you’ll bring your own questions and interpretations to the table. Each class will begin with a 20 minute lecture that sets the context and interpretive focus for the ensuing free play.

Texts will be provided, either by links or pdfs; you’ll be welcome to buy & bring your own versions.

REGISTRATION & TUITION:

To register, please send a note in the comment box below or to info@biocitizen.org; you can also call 413-320.0052 and talk to Kurt Heidinger, who will be teaching the course. If you are ready to register, you can pay the tuition of $100 either by check (send to Biocitizen, 1 Stage Rd., Westhampton, MA 01027) or here by paypal.




 

Once tuition is paid, you will contacted and sent the course plan & materials.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 6.15.42 PM

About the author

Subscribe to Biocitizen Banter

Biocitizen Blogs

RSS Westhampton, MA

  • The River and the Machine: A Biocultural History of Holyoke Dam February 11, 2021
    WHAT IS BIOCITIZEN? The word “biocitizen” is a contraction of “biotic citizen,” a term and idea conceived by Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) who is widely celebrated for conceiving the “land ethic.” A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. A […]
  • Biocitizen MA Welcomes Charlie Schine, FEP teacher! December 31, 2020
    Charlie is a recent graduate from Wesleyan University who is just beginning to get his footing in the big wide world and figure out where he’s going. Although he majored in music, his studies always seemed to circle around environmentalism and the more-than-human world, a cross pollination which began the summer after his freshman year […]

RSS Los Angeles, CA

  • CLAWS BLOG: Wind Wolves Preserve – Camping | Hiking | Stewardship December 1, 2021
    Wind Wolves Preserve Camping | Hiking | Native Plant Stewardship FRIDAY Our second CLAWS trip of the fall kicked off at our normal meeting point Bette Davis Park. Folks were excited to get things going, so after an opening circle, with introductions, a gear check, and the plan for the evening we officially started our […]
  • Fear, Growth, and Success! A story of overcoming challenges with Biocitizen LA October 24, 2021
    Lead Teacher Azucena shares her journey reclaiming her narrative through her  field notes recap emails By: Azucena Quinones When I first began working at Biocitizen I was super excited for all of the amazing experiences I would have, from camping, exploring new trails, to working with amazing kids. I knew there would be challenges that […]

RSS New York, NY

  • Biocitizen welcomes Samantha Sanson, Field Environmental Philosophy Teacher May 10, 2022
    Biocitizen NY is pleased to welcome Samantha as a Field Environmental Philosophy teacher! She’ll be co-leading Our Place Summerschool with Yubitza Bermudez! Sam grew up hiking, snowboarding, and biking through the mountains in her home state of Colorado. Along the way, she grew to appreciate natural spaces and developed a desire to protect them. Sam […]
  • Biocitizen NY Summer 2022 Internship – Apply Now! January 12, 2022
    Biocitizen NY Summer 2022 Internship Program What is Biocitizen? Biocitizen is the only educational institution in the world devoted to teaching Field Environmental Philosophy (FEP). Our Brooklyn-based Our Place Summer School is designed to bring children into direct contact with the creatures, geologies, hydrologies, and infrastructures of the Canarsee Biome and the Hudson River Estuary. […]

RSS Concon, Chile

  • ¿POR QUÉ AMO EL CAJON DEL MAIPO? March 22, 2022
    Lugar son historias en las que vivimos. Y algunos lugares nos gustan más que otros. ¿Por qué? Ricardo Rozzi  nos cuenta una historia sobre un lugar que ama. —secundo de […]
  • Me encanta Palmar Ocoa del Parque nacional La Campana March 12, 2022
    Lugar son historias en las que vivimos. Y algunos lugares nos gustan más que otros. ¿Por qué? Yubitza Bermúdez nos cuenta una historia sobre un lugar que ama. —primero de […]