Read e-book online Dear Colleague: Common and Uncommon Observations PDF

By Yi-Fu Tuan

"Maybe the main influential student you will have by no means heard of" used to be how a function article within the Chronicle of upper schooling lately defined Yi-Fu Tuan, a extensively traveled Chinese-American geographer whose letters to his acquaintances and co-workers, distilling observations, principles, and stories, have carried Tuan's insights, and his recognition, some distance past his selected box. Culling the main attribute techniques and compelling moments from those prized letters, expensive Colleague in the end offers readers close to and much the chance to proportion what Tuan's correspondents have already experienced-and to find the pleasures of the underlined passages in a ebook of existence right away edifying, unique, and exemplary. Reflecting on own encounters and impersonal forces, Tuan conducts us alongside a course that leads from nature to human nature, via society and tradition, geography and heritage, morality and faith, existence and dying. via turns playful and aphoristic, those letters carry revelations either funny and harrowing. no matter if browsed for his or her substantial incidental pleasures or perused extensive from starting to finish, they find the money for their reader the infrequent inside wisdom of one other individual and his global, and a fair rarer glimpse of the connections among sensation and mind that lie on the very center of the humanistic company. supplying the insights of a popular student, revealing the tensions-and contradictions-that exist among lifestyles and idea, remarking on principles from different thinkers, and increasing on perennial issues of morality and that means, faith and formality, excitement and discomfort, expensive Colleague maps Tuan's personal humanity in a lucid, dependent, and noteworthy means. Yi-Fu Tuan is professor emeritus within the division of Geography on the collage of Wisconsin. he's largely thought of the founding father of human geography, and is the writer of many books together with Cosmos and fireside (1996) and house and position (new variation, 2001), released by way of the college of Minnesota Press. he's additionally the writer of books on desolate tract landforms, China, the historical past of principles, and an autobiography, Who Am I? (1999).

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Example text

And if this model is not as strongly stressed in other societies, it may be because it is taken for granted. Հ Culture is basically conservative. Once it jells it wants to stay that way. Consider the word emergency. Sounds threatening, doesn’t it? Yet it is close kin to emergence. But why should something that emerges—a gentle image, to my mind—cause an emergency? Panic? A friend informs me that the word emergency took on a negative tone in the seventeenth century when it no longer meant simply “something that emerges” but something that emerges unexpectedly and hence is a cause for alarm.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is discarding the old clock because it is inaccurate: if an earthling makes an appointment with an extraterrestrial for a conference 3 million years hence, the earthling may be late by as much as ten seconds—a social disgrace. The new atomic clock (adopted in 1993) is still imperfect—it may be off by one second in the year A . D . 3,001,993—but it is an improvement. Of course, we Third Worlders can always say that we got the whole ball rolling with our initial idea for the sundial or the water clock.

Someone will step up to offer help. It is inevitable—just one of those annoying, insincere things that drivers in a truly civilized society do! Հ I had lunch at a Chinese fast-food restaurant on University Avenue in Madison. When a young couple with a baby finished eating, the man put the paper dishes and plastic forks into the trash bin and the trays on top, as people do at fast-food restaurants. The woman strapped her child into the stroller. The man opened the door for them. And then, to my surprise, he returned to the table and adjusted the chairs to their original positions.

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