“Helen Keller and the Touch of Nature: An Introduction to Keller’s The World I live In (Selections),” [PDF], (coauthored with Brett Clark, Clark listed first), Organization and Environment, vol. 15, no. 3 (September 2002), pp. 278-84.
I found that of the senses, the eye is the most superficial, the ear the most arrogant, smell the most voluptuous, taste the most superstitious and fickle, touch the most pro-found and the most philosophical.
—Diderot (as cited in Herrmann, 1998, p. vii)
Mark Twain asserted that Helen Keller (1880-1968) was immortal—fellow to Caesar, Homer, and Shakespeare—and would “be as famous a thousand years from now as she is to-day” (Twain, 1924, Vol. 2, p. 297). Elementary school teachers have told the story of Keller’s childhood for more than a hundred years, whereas her activist and intellectual developments as an adult remain in the shadows. The environmental movement has yet to discover the importance of Keller’s contribution to an ecological understanding of the world. Nonetheless, her work provides a foundation for constructing a dynamic view of the relationship between nature and ourselves. By exploring the world, through Keller’s words, insights can be gained in regard to how humans experience nature. Perhaps, through this engagement, a more complete picture of Keller’s life and position in history can be formed.
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