On the Wildness of Children

carolblack

Originally posted on CarolBlack.org:

“In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” Thoreau says it in “Walking,” and Jack Turner, in his exquisite collection of essays, The Abstract Wild,  questions how many of us have any idea what it means.   People often misread the quote, Turner points out, as “In wilderness is the preservation of the world;” but Thoreau did not say that preserving wilderness preserves the world; he said that wildness preserves.

What does this mean?  Turner has tracked down a reference in Thoreau’s “Fact-book” to the word “wild” as “the past participle of to will,  self-willed.”  The wild, then, is the self-willed, that which…

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