“The land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness.”

 

Peace like a river
(thanks to Nancy Roberts Beck for bringing this image to my attention)

 

“Hell,” Jean-Paul Sartre famously wrote, “is other people.”

 

Overwhelmingly, I disagree.  I’m not the world’s most socially-oriented person — I love quiet, solitary time for reading and writing and thinking — but I like people.  A lot.

 

Sometimes, though, interacting with people can be, at best, a chore.  And sometimes, especially when they’re posting on the Internet, and even more especially when they’re disposed to be hateful and nasty and hostile, they can indeed be hellish.

 

At such moments, images like that above — serene, unpopulated, and beautiful — beckon with especial power.  And, in my worldview, they seem to intimate the existence of a place, a sphere, a world, that is far better than the fallen one in which we find ourselves.

 

 

  • DanielPeterson

    Thanks for providing a clear example of what I was referring to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Raymond-Swenson/100000312491451 Raymond Swenson

    The serenity of the combination of forest and water is much of the attraction of western Washington, where I spent last weekend at a professional conference and at the home of a fellow missionary I had not seen for decades. On the other hand, the Seattle metroplex is so crowded that the serenity is overwhelmed by the anxiety of the commute. Traffic congestion is the distillation of the negatives of crowds, with none of their redeeming aspects.

    At the conference, over lunch, one of my colleagues told us how he had assigned his land use planning class an exercise, to consider what major aspects of the infrastructure of Puget Sound would not exist if current environmental and land use laws had existed when they were built. The answer was essentially none of them could have overcome the modern hurdles to major roads and bridges and canals, the systems that make life in a large urban concentration reasonable. The laws that prevented development of the Marin headlands north of the Golden Gate would have blocked the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge if they had been in effect in 1939. The environmental laws created in the decade of the 1970s value nature so highly that humans and their communities get comparatively little weight in making decisions about the use of land and natural resources. The watchcry of environmental advocacy groups is “no compromise”.


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