Observation about nature

Hellо, I аm an іnternational student so my english is not рerfeсt at all:) While writing my essay please avoid using complicated words and too complex, fancy sentences. I want an essay which is not hard to understand but at the same time has strong statements in it. Thank you!


Due date for workshop: Tuesday, October 3rd. Due date to hand in for grade: Tuesday, October 10th. Approximately 5 pages, double-spaced. Times New Roman font, stapled, MLA format excepting citations, which will be informal (mentioned in the text in the way a newspaper article might do). 20 points.

 Write a paper that moves from description of something unfamiliar/uncomfortable ( “x”), to commentary about your own relationship (or lack thereof) to the observed X, to a critical question, to a new definition of something that your observation has led you to.*  Make one or more deliberate, surprising connections that clarify your claim or your train of thought. Feel free to refer to Abram, Johnson, Dillard, or Wilson (if relevant) anywhere you wish. For example, you may refer to the difficulties of observation that the authors face, and what they do in order to compensate. Or, you may discuss the authors’ claims and how they connect to their observations. You may offer commentary on first observations versus observation over time; you may refer to the Abram’s faith that a life of senses will lead us back into an engaged relationship with nature…. Etc. Remember that we are using these authors as models, but within such guidelines you as author make your own judgement calls and choices. This is not about filling in a form.

 *NOTE: David Abram does not define perception of ants, stars, or fireflies, but begins with that initial scene in the rice paddy, and moves on to explain its context, and then to the original hypothesis of his field research and finally, to the redefinition of magic in its ecological, shamanic function within oral cultures. And while Steven Johnson observes ants, he does not do so to define them, but rather moves on from ants to cities to computer science to suggest a startling definition of intelligence.

You may, like David Abram, make liberal use of “I” and of personal anecdote.  You may, like E.O. Wilson, and the latter parts of Steven Johnson’s piece, keep yourself almost entirely out of the picture.  You may need to do some research for facts or history.  Your reader should come away from your essay as you came away from “Trailhead:” the familiar will seem strange and the strange familiar, the mundane or overlooked having earned a new significance because of the careful, focused attention you have given it. We should be left pondering the challenges of observation, having discovered something new in your definition.

This paper has several goals.

Habits of mind:

  • To spend more time with the “evidence,” rather than rushing to conclusions or starting with a thesis.  Note: When Abram first hit the field, he knew that he would be working, somehow, with perception and wellness, but he did not know that his subject would be nature, or that he would have to master the terminology of ecology in order to make sense of what he was observing.  That realization came with time.
  • To learn to observe both more freely and in more rigorous and systemized ways.  Note: How on earth did scientists learn about the pheromone trails left by ants?
  • To make new idea from unexpected connections.  Note: Johnson takes us in to observe the ants and then makes a leap to cities, and then to computation, along the way redefining “intelligence.”  It might at first be difficult to follow his train of thought, but just such a process is what brought about the ideas that led to efficiency in your everyday, online search engines.  Pattern recognition software!  Chaos theory!  The theory of collective intelligence! 

Writing goals:

  • To make the strange familiar, the familiar strange (this is one thing good writing can accomplish)
  • To create descriptions which “point a camera,” highlight significant detail, or draw comparisons.
  • To pose critical questions.
  • To make claims that respond to critical questions

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