Natural environments often generate experiences that combine great emotional and moral power- "charged" experiences. Their characteristics are explored through writings that capture them convincingly. They appear to have a perceptual character. Perception of the scene is invested with a sense of something beyond it, and much bigger. It may be God, or immensity in time or space, or the essence of a nation. This encounter is often connected with moral authority. A recurring theme is the sense that environment and the things in it-including the observer-are a self-similar pattern. People are not passive recipients of these experiences. They seek them out. Evoking, the environment in words can often evoke the charged experience too-at least in part. The material suggests tasks for psychologists-most simply, finding systematic ways to describe these experiences. That may help other environmental disciplines, which face difficulty characterising the dimension of response. Theoretically, the material raises questions about the representations generated by perceptual processes. The observation that powerful moral imperatives seem to be given in the act of perceiving is also suggestive for the psychology of morality. Culture certainly plays a part in charged responses, but landscapes have the power to be invested with an emotional and moral charge where other stimuli may not.
|Number of pages||11|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|