Blog Gaelic Musings Nature Philosophy


I was really interested to read this article by Robert Macfarlane in the Guardian (a link to it is below). I have thought about this concept before and I’m all for the establishment of “bio-rights” as I regard them as complementary to human rights, and in fact our human rights would just be a subsection within them.

I have just a few comments of constructive criticism about his piece. Although I do enjoy the writing style of Robert Macfarlane considering his surname I would also have expected him to have a less Anglophone focus in his overview of nature literature from the UK. Yes, there has certainly been a lot of truly inspiring nature writing in the English language and I count Ralph Waldo Emerson and David Thoreau in my list of favourites but when discussing the influence of indigenous beliefs and philosophies such as animism it seems a glaring omission to neglect our own indigenous languages such as Gaelic in which so much of the wealth of our heritage (dualchas) lies. Ossian, the warrior-poet of Scottish Gaelic lore was the son of a deer. Human and animal/nature boundaries are fluid in this worldview. Although a literal interpretation of this might have caused a theological dilemma for centuries, the stories are symbolic and have at their root the exact considerations that this article proposes. We are all part of nature. To really comprehend this though takes a leap in imagination and beyond linguistic boundaries. This is why I am learning and will continue to learn about our indigenous languages.

See a full list of my blog posts here.

By DrewMcN

Drew McNaughton is a poet and musician with a passion for nature and languages.

What are your thoughts?