Views of the Columbia River

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Part 1. The Views of the Columbia River The Columbia River has served nature in an infinite number of ways since its creation. Richard White in The Organic Machine analyzes numerous viewpoints that different actors have had of the Columbia River and its uses. As White sees it, people developed certain ideologies when viewing the river and used those ideologies to construct behavior towards it. There were three main viewpoints that he discussed; the Kipling View, the Emersonian view, and the Kantian view. Looking first at the Kipling view, one can take the scope of an admired watcher. Kipling saw the river as natural and beautiful. People with this view showed a great appreciation for nature in general with a special concentration on the Columbia River as White illustrates. Factories were constructed that were found to kill and process fish much better than people, and were placed on the Columbia River (White, 30). However, this was a separation of nature, since all the fish that were killed by the factories were from the Columbia River. This new way of life that arose from the factories dramatically changed the natural processes of the river. Next there was the Emersonian view, where human beings were placed on a pedestal. An idea that people of the Emersonian viewpoint shared was that “nature mattered because natural facts were expressions of enduring of the spiritual facts” (White, 32). Emersonians were avid believers in creationism. They also were of the mindset that humans could do no wrong when it came to nature. “When humans acted on nature, they did not defile it, they purified it.”(White, 35) Capitalism and further industrialization were big parts of the Emersonian view. They believed in progress and the environment would bend to the will of humans. They wanted the machine to put nature to work and ultimately reduced human labor. Kantian reason
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