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Projecting our needs onto nature

Do we perceive ourselves as being protected by nature? Or does nature represent something that can all too easily be destroyed? Or something that is ever-changing and into which we dissolve? What beauty is there?

Robert Bly:

What does it mean to say: ‘The Goddess does not love us anymore?’ As more and more species become extinct, as the rainforests burn, and the groundwater is polluted, we feel unprotected. People in the nineteenth century experienced a tremendous sense of unprotection, from lawlessness, from fires or storms or plagues; and yet the net of nature seemed to hold them. Nature, in a way, was the Virgin Mary, who held people on her lap.

But we are people pushed off the lap. The younger generation, by and large, does not feel protected by nature anymore. Most of them are urban, and the urban life is to them part of a death culture.

Chloe Aridjis:

...the message they [clouds] offer: all structures are collapsible. Just look at their own existence, condemned to rootlessness and fragmentation. Each cloud faces death through loss of form, drifting towards its death, some faster than others, destined to self-destruct before it reaches the other end of the horizon. After living in the times I've lived in, you create your own concept of flux. Without sounding too simplistic, meteorology helped me understand–and maybe even cope with–recent history, before and after nineteen-eighty-nine. The fogs of time and all the obfuscation that surrounds them.

Fernando Pessoa:

Who will save me from existence? It isn't death I want, or life: it's the other thing that shines at the bottom of all longing like a possible diamond in a cave one cannot reach. It's the whole weight and pain of this real and impossible universe, of this sky, of this standard borne by some unknown army, of these colours that grow pale in the fictitious air, out of which there emerges in still, electric whiteness the imaginary crescent of the moon, silhouetted by distance and indifference.


Robert Bly, in Robert Bly and Marion Woodman. The Maiden King: The Reunion of Masculine and Feminine. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1998. p. 110.

Chloe Aridjis. Book of Clouds. New York: Black Cat, 2009. p. 62.

Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet. Edited by Maria Jose de Lancastre. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa. London: Serpent's Tail, 1991 (a collection of writings that were unorganized upon Pessoa's death in 1935). p. 73.


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