Literary Trails of the Mind Inspired by Nature: How Walking the Land Brings New Intellectual Wisdom to Humanity from Gazing at Stars to Butterfly Wings

By Rosalinda Ruiz Scarfuto.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 31, 2015 $US5.00

The imminent quest for knowledge, wisdom, and service is revealed continuously throughout literary heritage inspired by individuals who are willing to share their collected wisdom for the greater cause of humanity through the inspiration of Nature. Long lasting emotional imprints on our intellect and cognitive thinking patterns aroused by tragedy or comedy are attributed to our ancestors as well as our contemporaries. In seeking to understand complex tensions and challenges surrounding the individual, a retreat to a private space of calmness heals the mind (Freud). The jotting down or logging into memory (later transcribed by author or disciples) directly to paper with a pen or quill is a social act, as it is intended to be shared (if not, why write) (Kant). This thought processing operation is inspired by personal experiences within a social context and brings them to light with a scribble. The act of the pen between the forefinger and the thumb triggers a signal to the brain (Honke 2011) as much as reading with the forefinger by tracing the words; it becomes a tactile, visual, and an audio sensory input (if read aloud or internally) rather than perhaps visually and audibly impaired by blogs and tweets with rapid transmission to the public without the craft of reflection and prose or predominately forefinger input. The final transformation of the “slow diary” into art can find infinite formats: rhetoric, plays, scripts, novels, poems, dance, painting, music, etc. The public is merged with the private experience mainly due to the necessity to share with peers, neighbors, tribes, or nations as the human has been deemed to be a social being (although not always apparent). Where would humanity be without the diaries of Humboldt, Darwin, Anne Frank, Buddha, Black Elk, Homer, Sappho, Simone de Beauvoir, Thoreau, Virgil, Shakespeare, Murasaki, amongst others? This paper focuses on diaries inspired by walking and observing nature. This act has an individual pace and rhythm. The poet/writer absorbs Nature in a noninvasive manner without extraction of specimens or a need for “dis-covering,” as much as a need for reflection to uncover wisdom (listening) to contribute something fresh (Badiou) to humanity. Why should we abandon the ancient transmission of wisdom process derived from nature walks for children to follow in the footsteps of their nomadic and pastoral ancestors? This paper specifically utilizes a social ecological approach to highlight the personal, social and environmental factors that contributed to the intellectual development from childhood to adulthood of two historic writers in Spanish and English based on their contact with nature; namely Louisa May Alcott and Antonio Machado. In addition this article touches on the interdisciplinary education (humanities and sciences) that these writers experienced as children and how it created a lasting empathy with nature throughout their adulthood as noted in their literary and biographical texts.

Keywords: Communication, Linguistics, Creativity, Intellectual Development, Psychology, Education, Environment

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.49-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 31, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 659.597KB)).

Prof Rosalinda Ruiz Scarfuto

PhD Candidate, Art, Design and Media, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK