“"Here, I should like to give only one example of how technology creates new conceptions of what is real, and in the process undermines older conceptions. I refer to the seemingly harmless practice of assinging marks or grades to the answers students give on examinations. This procedure seems so natural to most of us that we are hardly aware of it significance. We may even find it difficult to imagine that the number or letter is a tool, or if you will, a technology; still less that, when we use such a technology to judges someone's behavior, we have done something peculiar. In point of fact, the first instance of grading students' papers occurred at Cambridge, University in 1792 at the suggestions of a tutor named William Farish. ... If a number can be given to the quality of a thought, then a number can be given to the qualities of mercy, love, hate, beauty, creativity, intelligence, even sanity itself. ... To say that ... this man's essay on the rise of capitalism is an A- and that man's a C+ would have sounded like gibberish to Galileo or Shakespeare or Thomas Jefferson. ... And to a man with a grade sheet, everything looks like a number."
May 5, 2010 at 13:58:40
“I don't want to belabor the point, but there was nothing "natural" or "wild(erness)" about the participants experience. IMHO, the fundamental ideas behind this article and the studies on which it is founded, demonstrates how little sophistication has been given to the concept of nature and wilderness in the mainstream media. What is natural about a nature walk? It is entirely man made and man managed. Even our national parks are man managed, curbed to fit the profit and tourist motives of human beings. There are few, if any, places in the world which are still truly wild - places where NATURE does the dictating, without culling hunts, predator controls, and trail maintenance. The psychological effects of places truly wild (or as close to it as possible) are incredibly transformative in ways this misguided characterization will never understand. However, since most of us never have that experience, I guess we'll never know. To all the "nature" lovers, I ask, how can you love that which you've never experienced?