Saturday, August 25, 2012


The Norton Reader
4th Edition
page 218

Suppose you are walking down the street of a North America city*.  All around you is a highly artificial society but you don't think of it as artificial: You are so accustomed to it that you think of it as natural.  But suppose your imagination plays a little trick on you, a kind that if often does play and you suddenly feel like a complete outsider, someone's who just flown in from Mars on a flying saucer.

Instantly you see how conventionalized everything is; the clothes, the shop windows, the movement of the cars in traffic, the cropped hair and shaved faces of the men, the red lips and blue eye lids that women put on because they want to conventionalize their faces or "look nice" as they say which means the same thing.  All this convention is pressing toward uniformiry or likeness.

THERE is clearly a strong force making toward conformity in society so strong that it seems to have something to do with the stability of society itself.  In ordinary life even the most splendid things we can think of,  goodness and truth and beauty, all mean essentially what we are accustomed to.

I was skimming through the pages of the book mentioned above, when I found this critical essay on literature, perhaps the best I have ever read.  While reading, I could not help to extrapolate, thinking, picturing many gardens I have observed in person critically and/or virtually, the latter a majority. 

The dreadful scenery that surrounds me, a soundtrack with irritating noise possibilities in an urban context moved along as a photo play, your humble servant feeling just  like the mentioned character from Mars.

That is the way I have felt this island since I was 15. The difference is that finally, at 61, I have been finding explanations thanks to gardening and horticulture, flora/fauna, habitats and nature.

Convention is what makes possible those beautiful lawns, golf courses, palm trees, hedges and over used plants,  mutilated trees, dead trees standing, pollution of all kinds
aimless, useless gardens requiring lots of irrigation, men/hours without many people wondering, thinking or even noticing what is wrong.

Now it is time to go.  The terrible thing is that while I am writing about gardening, aesthetics and foolish conventions in the practice, the problem cover other manifestations of life, ours and theirs (flora/fauna) in any continent extrapolating and all.

From the editor
*or the city where you live.

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