Neoarystoteliczna wizja natury ludzkiej w ekopoezji i eseistyce Gary’ego Snydera
Neoarystoteliczna wizja natury ludzkiej w ekopoezji i eseistyce Gary’ego Snydera

Academic Journal of Modern Philology vol. 3 (2014)

Piotr Zazula
Akademia Polonijna, Częstochowa

Neoarystoteliczna wizja natury ludzkiej w ekopoezji i eseistyce Gary’ego Snydera

Abstract

A Neo-Aristotelian Vision of Human Nature in the Writings of Gary Snyder
Close-reading selected poems and essays by Gary Snyder, the  article examines an  apparent epistemological contradiction in Snyder’s environmentalist message. As a  rule Snyder consistently relies on essentialist discourse, with his frequent references to human nature, the  collective unconscious, mankind’s generic identity and man’s inner voice. In the  poem The Call of the  Wild, however, he questions man’s ability to retrieve a  “natural” generic core through, say, meditation or vision quests. This apparent contradiction is resolved when one views Snyder’s work through the  lens of Neo-Aristotelian thought as exemplified by Terry Eagleton’s concept of human nature. To Eagleton, like to Aristotle, human nature is not a static biological given, but rather a mental predisposition. Thus it is more of a task, or challenge, than a set of characteristics. Such ideas resonate with Snyder’s concept of the ever-changing human nature. However, Eagleton and Snyder pass company as fellow Neo-Aristotelians when it comes to the  socio-political applications of their ideas. To the  British critic, socialism is the  answer, allegedly providing the optimal conditions for a harmonious blend of one’s private and public self. To Snyder, state-supported socialism is but another oppressive political system, very much in the mentally-restrictive tradition of what he calls “the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West.”

Keywords: Gary Snyder, ecopoetry, environmentalism, the wilderness, human nature, Neo-Aristotelian philosophy, Terry Eagleton.

Full text: Neoarystoteliczna wizja natury ludzkiej w ekopoezji i eseistyce Gary’ego Snydera

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