Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Implications

One "modern naturalist" friend has already questioned the wisdom of resurrecting the "Romantic naturalist" label.

I must confess the phrase conjures none of the images for me that it apparently does for her. Visions of ladies in long white dresses come to her mind; she hears something too dainty, delicate, and feminine to represent what we truly do these days, and thus finds the term unacceptable. She is looking for a strong dynamic verb to describe these explorations and adventures that soothe but never satisfy our curiousity.

Despite my early training, I have never been comfortable calling myself a "scientist." I don't ally myself often with that world view, though I happily subscribe to the knowledge (facts) it brings us. I interpret the facts differently, and I'm looking for connection and relationship where scientists tend to use distance to achieve understanding and control. Does that make me a "naturalist"? Does the phrase "Romantic naturalist" automatically consign us to some sluggish side slough out of the rushing main stream, and if so, is that a bad thing?

As this is exactly the kind of discussion this blog is intended to address, let's do it! What are the implications? Is there a better approach?