Nature and Society

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Caitlin Adair
Dr. Cook
English 015
12 September 2011
Nature and Society
In the article Earth, Nature and Culture, Yi-Fu Tuan commits a whole section to the relationship between nature and society. Tuan states that, “Human restlessness finds release in geographical mobility.” Tuan states that when telling the human story, it begins with nature. The article says that as humans we have very conflicting feelings towards nature. On one hand we realize that we need nature to survive. It provides us with food and shelter and most of our basic needs. On the other hand, nature has ways of destroying us. It can send disasters to completely throw off the human race. For example, nature can provide soil rich in nutrients that allows humans to plant and grow our own food to survive, but it can also send a drought causing the soil to dry out and our crops to die. According to Tuan, culture is how humans compensate for our conflicting feelings.

I both agree and disagree with this statement. I agree that culture is partly our way of dealing with these conflicting feelings. For example, a very important part of most human’s cultures is their religion. Most humans need a higher power to believe in. This gives them someone to blame for the disasters. Humans need some type of an outlet to rely on. For example, if there is a natural disaster, humans have an outlet by saying, “it’s ok, God must have wanted this or he wouldn’t have let it happen.

The Chinese culture is a very religious one. They are different from most because they do not immediately jump to blame everything on one God. If a natural disaster happened in China that could not be explained, the emperor took all responsibility, saying the disaster was a consequence of his own personal actions, a consequence of something he did wrong. The emperor would place a penance on himself in order to restore a balance to his people’s culture and to nature.

I also disagree with this statement. While I...
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