Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fancy Clothing is One of the Greatest Obstacles to a Knowledge of Nature

Fancy clothing is one of the greatest obstacles to a knowledge of nature: in this regard, the farm boy has an immense advantage. It is a misfortune not to have gone barefoot in one's youth. A man cannot be a naturalist in patent-leather shoes. The perfecting of the manufacture of elaborate and fragile fabrics correlates well with our growing habit of living indoors. Our clothing is made chiefly for fair weather; when it becomes worn we use it for stormy weather, although it may be in no respect stormy weather clothing. If our clothes are not made for the weather, then we have failed to adapt ourselves to our environment, and we are in worse state than the beasts of the field. Much of our clothing serves neither art nor utility. Nothing can be more prohibitive of an interest in nature than a millinery "hat," even though it be distinguished for its floriculture, landscape gardening, and natural history.
L. H. Bailey, The Outlook to Nature, 1905

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