Thursday, August 10, 2023

Quote of the Day (Marilynne Robinson, on Wilderness and Secrecy)

“Idaho, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico. These names are all notorious among those who know anything at all about nuclear weapons. Wilderness is where things can be hidden, from foreign enemies, perhaps, but certainly from domestic critics. This effect is enhanced by the fact that wilderness dwellers everywhere are typically rather poor and scattered, not much in the public mind, not significant as voters. Wilderness is where things can be done that would be intolerable in a populous landscape. The relative absence of human populations obscures the nature and effect of programs which have no other object than to be capable of the most profound injury to human populations. Of course, even wilderness can only absorb such insult to the systems of life to a degree, for a while. Nature is very active—aquifers so vast, rivers so tireless, wind so pervading.”—American novelist-essayist Marilynne Robinson, “Surrendering Wilderness,” excerpted in The Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 1998, reprinted in The Death of Adam (1998)

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