As I made my way through the introduction and first chapter of “The Ecological Thought” by Timothy Morton my heart was racing. Each page felt like a new enchantment revealing itself to me. The text felt like it held secrets I have never been privy too. It is the water I have craved in an often-parched life. I was so thirsty I read the whole book in one afternoon.
In the introduction Morton states, “Like the shadow of an idea not yet fully thought, a shadow from the future (another wonderful phrase of Shelley’s), the ecological thought creeps over other ideas until nowhere is left untouched by its dark presence” (Morton 2), and much like ivy, this sentence and all that proceeded it, wound around me, at times suffocating and at other moments comforting.
I have made so many assumptions about nature and its “true” essence. Morton forces me to examine those assumptions, without apology, and begins to break down the dangers of those cultural assumptions. There are some theories Morton discussed that aren’t clear to me yet, but they beg to be understood. When he speaks of strange strangers I feel a shadow of understanding forming, and each new reading brings me closer to realizing what Morton is trying to convey.
Much like Bertrand Russell’s “In Praise of Idleness” Morton is asking us to slow down, to “break down the distinction between Sunday afternoon and every other day, and in the direction of putting a bit of Sunday afternoon into Monday morning, rather than making Sunday a workday.”
Everything about this book has me viewing my surroundings in a different light. Reading the news has taken on an entire different lens. Taking my weekly drive up Ogden Canyon has a different meaning and feeling of connection than my past experiences. This entire book has caused such a cosmic shift in my thinking that I find it difficult to think about anything else. It is consuming me and I enjoy every second of letting my mind play with the concepts Morton has presented. I cannot think of one book that has had this major of an impact on my whole of thinking. It even trumps WG Sebald “Rings of Saturn.” The only problem I’m finding with this text is that it has turned into a quest to read more, which is not going to be conducive to my other courses/grades.