The Dynamics and Duality of History, Place, and Perception or Interpretation

One thing that is already clear after this first venture, is that I am not exactly a very good ethicist, if that is the proper term. However, what does have something going for it is the idea of dynamics and duality I was getting into while trying to explore environmental ethics in relation to the Chesapeake Bay. It seems to be the case that this realm of ideology leads to a constant, unsolvable intersection of problem and solution. Individually, it seems as though something could be done to change the way that we treat the bay. Simultaneously, however, one can not help but think that widespread change would not happen due to human nature that will always lead back to exploitation. It seems, the more context we try to pursue the more complicated things get and the more they lack a solution.       I am now ensconced in the first actual venture of our Chesapeake Semester. While it is meant to foster an understanding of the history of the region, and as a result a new sense of place, it has done something else for me. It has induced me to feel more connected to my sense of duality and dynamics than to my sense of place. Looking back over our journey thus far, whether the subject is food related ethics and practices in the past and today, or interpreting historical events, figures, and ideas, the dynamics and duality is all the same. There are so many ways to conceptualize these things that one can get an idea about them but can never quite get the full picture because of the infinite and fluid scope of their essence and implications.  A series of pertinent examples may be prudent here. Firstly, during our time spent connecting to native history of the Chesapeake, we discussed the state of our food practices now, how we need to evaluate them, and how that could be inevitably a dead end because of human nature and entrenched systems. Secondly, a reading we were given by Dr. Seidel for our exploration of cultural clashes in the colonization of the Chesapeake, outlined the perception of Captain John Smith as a historical figure. In many ways the man could be viewed as an absolute villain, which he most definitely was. However, the more traditional focus on all of the positive things he did despite the obvious negative characteristics, which when exposed are quite impressive, cannot be discounted either. Thus, the aim of this article was to highlight the fact that it is very difficult to figure out which way to go with this dualistic and dynamic case study. Both sides have merit, Smith could be a hero or he could be a villain but either way we would be nowhere without him. Rounding things off, whether it be the experience of individuals or groups, or cultural practices and historical experiences- all of which we have explored here in Jamestown and Williamsburg- how do we grapple with the fact that we want to eradicate what is unfamiliar and unpleasant despite the fact that it is important but uncomfortable to confront such things. Whatever the case may be, I think this could be the beginning of something that is either prudent to stalk or a profoundly infinite quagmire. 


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