Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Pastoral, literary and environmental, defined.

The pastoral as a literary form and a strand in environmental thought is so polymorphic, that it can seem to capture everything. But something that is everything can seem to be nothing at all.  This is not a problem unique to the term “pastoral”.  The term “environment”, for example, which can be extended to include everything surrounding an organism, and at a pinch can also refer to an “internal environment”, runs the same risk unless it is quite precisely operationalized. To do so scientists identify those ecological factors most relevant in determining the functioning of an individual organism.

So how may the pastoral be operationalized?

The pastoral flags an occupation: shepherds and tenders of flocking animals and other peaceful creatures, a place: primarily rural or gently humanized landscapes, at times gardens and other oases of green; a mood: nostalgic, a sense of belonging, of being at home, a tone: harmony and balance, a spirituality: that oceanic feeling of connection with nature, a technological orientation: modest and appropriate, and offers these human gifts: well-being, redemption, forgiveness and recovery.    

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