Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yuriko Saito

Thus far in the semester, I think I'd like to rank Yuriko Saito's Appreciating Nature on its Own Terms as my second favorite passage, just behind Emerson.  In fact, I can find many similarities between the two passages.  Both attempt to rid the mind of past reservations (not past knowledge, but past opinions rather) and immerse oneself in your surroundings. The important part of Saito's teachings is to appreciate nature on its own terms.  Similar to ordering soup from Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, if one tries to "order" an aesthetic experience on their terms, it will not be provided.  However, we can appreciate that nature has its own story outside of ours.  Nature does things its own way, and if we can play by its rules, we can come out with a very meaningful experience.
Empathy is an important part of aesthetic experience.  We must have the ability to put ourselves in the place of nature in order the listen to its story because if we cannot hear its story, we cannot appreciate it.  Without empathy, nature's story may fall on deaf ears.  We may hear the story, but not understand.  I believe Saito is on the right track with her passage here.  Every piece of nature is different and it is up to us to discern why.  When we gain the ability to do so, our appreciation grows exponentially.

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