THE LANDSLIDE PART ONE: GARDENING FOR GLADNESS WITH HENRY DAVID THOREAU. RECOMMENDED FROM MAY THROUGH AUGUST
WHAT IS THE PILL? (QUESTION OF THE COURSE) MEDICINE SUMMER SESSION: GARDEN FOR GLADNESS AND BE A GLADHANDED GARDENER
NOW PLAYING ON VOLCANOVISION: THE GREEN EARTH TRILOGY WAKE UP AND SPELL THE COFFEE (JOHNNY C) SPIRIT OF XOCHI--THE VENICE OF THE AMERICAS HOW TO LOVE THE EARTH
TIME INVESTMENT FOR THIS CLASS The time investment for this course is scalable, but for the trimester, the minimum average is about 2 hours a week, including reading or listening to the chapter,(1/2 hour) responding to it,(1/2hour) and gardening.(one hour) We recommend the essay on walking to explain why if at all possible, for the sake of mental and physical well being. the chapter by chapter meditations of Walden should be listened to while walking or at least doing some kind of quiet physical thing outdoors.
GARDEN FOR GLADNESS: THE GOOD VIBES OF A GARDEN
Gardening generally speaking is good for your mental health. It helps you get outside and get in touch with the earth, the climate, the weather, and the seasons. It increases the beauty of the earth, and beauty floods the spirit with happiness. Gardening also helps people who suffer from anxiety or depression or violence issues to become more tranquil and nurturing. Not everyone has the time or space for a garden, but if you want to participate in the lived experience of Leon's, try to get at least one house plant, as Leon himself did. The guide we follow is Thoreau; he spent two years in the woods but we cut it down to four months, so the course can be completed during the summer trimester. Of course, anyone who has the money,time, space and energy can do the whole two year experiment.
WHY WALDEN? The main textbook is WALDEN by Thoreau, How can this book help depression? Simply put, because reality is not neutral. Reality is good, even though it is flawed and contact with nature heals human beings. Thoreau was searching for happiness when he went to the woods, and even asks at one point: WHAT IS THE PILL? In answer, He discovered that morning air itself was healing. Walden is not the DSMV but it is a holistic discussion of happiness that has little to do with luxury or money or constant stimulation. That is, it proposes happiness as something quietly accesible anywhere, to anyone. is an effective cure for many sadnesses if read with patience. This book is a meditation, gardening manual, cabin construction blueprint, political and social commentary and nature poetry all in one volume.and during the month of April, please read ECONOMY to prepare. Like Tolkien and Pasolini, Thoreau is a big critic of the modern consumeristic society, even though he lived a century earlier. Thoreau's motivation for gardening was pretty much his own psychological and physical well being. He wanted to get in touch with God by doing a sort of "spiritual adventure in nature" or as he said "we have settled on earth and forgotten heaven". It's ecumenical since he doesn't really come down on the side of any one specific religion, but weaves a lot of different ones into his book. .Its also economical which is the first chapter of the book, and the basis of everything
THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE STORY:
LEON'S BEST FRIEND WAS A PLANT, A CHINESE EVERGREEN. HE WAS FROM "THE OLD COUNTRY" WHERE HISTORIES ARE ANCIENT AND PEOPLE HAD AGRICULTURE IN THEIR BLOOD.
TAKING CARE OF PLANTS IS GOOD FOR THE EARTH BUT IT'S ALSO GOOD FOR US. AS WE GARDEN, WE LEARN THAT OUR VITALITY COMES FROM BOTH PSYCHE AND BODY. PART OF IS NURTURING THE EARTH, AS SCIENCE IS FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGING.
FURTHERMORE, WE LEARN TO LOVE BY LOVING THE EARTH AND ITS CREATURES. PLANTS ARE BEAUTIFUL WAYS TO LEARN TO LOVE. THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL AND THEY CANNOT HIT YOU. IF NEGLECTED, THEY SIMPLY DIE. IT'S NO ACCIDENT THAT LEON'S INSTINCT TO NURTURE MATILDA SHOWED FORTH WHEN CALLED UPON. BY REGULAR ATTENTION TO A GARDEN OR EVEN ONE PLANT, YOU CAN LEARN TO LOVE LIKE LEON.
FINALLY, WE LEARN BETTER IN GENERAL IF SURROUNDED BY THE BEAUTY OF LIFE. FOR INTELLECTUAL ARGUMENTS TO BACK THIS UP, ONE FAMOUS PROPONENT OF THIS THEORY WAS THE INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBLE FOR CENTRAL PARK, F.L. OLMSTEAD. HE ALSO HELPED TO DESIGN WELLESLEY, A FAMOUS COLLEGE NEAR BOSTON, MASS.
FOR THOSE WHO LOVE OLDMSTEAD BUT THIRST EVEN DEEPER, FOR THE EXISTENTIAL MEANING BEHIND STRAWBERRIES, EDMUND HUSSERL'S PHENOMENOLOGY MIGHT HELP. There is a also a lot of information in the Vitality course, coming up in the spring. Again, for those who want to nerd out on philosophy, that is.