Dear (Insert Family Member Name),
For the Love of Life by Edward O. Wilson is a piece of writing that contemplates the beauty of life in conjunction with a discussion on what could be in the future. The author tackles the moral question of what civilization should do as technology evolves, making the case that even though it may become possible for society to head down a dark road full of new technology, it may be dangerous to do so. The author argues that the natural world that we occupy – the one that Shakespeare and others also occupied – is and was worth preserving.

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Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray describes the simplistic beauty of the world in a place like South Georgia. It notes how life is slower there, but even so, this slowness does not drain the area of its beauty. Rather, this is one of the very things that makes it beautiful in the first place.

One of the common themes between these two work is that it is critical to find beauty in that which we have rather than always looking to what we might have. Ray writes that South Georgia is “a land of routine, of cycle, of constancy” (Ray). These are decidedly neutral adjectives, and some might even say that the author is intentionally trying to create a picture of a bland place. Wilson, on the other hand, is arguing that, in essence, we are just occupying one small part of the time-space continuum in our current moment on earth. In essence, when looking at the possibilities of the future, there is simplicity to how we are living now. Both authors take great pains to note what is wrong with the current time, but their goal is just to provide context by which one can understand how to value the simple things. Both seek to have the reader ditch the beauty of possibility for the beauty of the here and now.

  • Ray, Janisse. Ecology of a cracker childhood. Milkweed Editions, 2000.
  • Wilson, Edward O. The future of life. Random House LLC, 2002.