3.2 Self-realisation
One of the fundamental tenets of Deep Ecology is the notion of self-realization. Relying heavily upon the works of Muir, Thoreau, Leopold, and the Romantic and American Transcendental traditions,
Deep Ecologists assert that–in order truly and appropriately to perceive and understand the world, our place in it, and our duties to it–we must first dismiss the assumed but inaccurate bifurcation between self and nature. We must grasp the depth of the relational reality of all things, including the non-human world. In addition to the general character and self-image building mentioned above, wilderness preservation becomes crucial for Deep Ecologists because designated nature sites are, for them, necessary components in this process of self-realization–a sort of asylum of reorientation where this relational self ideal can take form.
We must, therefore, maintain areas of "wildness" in order to achieve a complete and appropriate view of self. Designated conservation areas are crucial, according to this argument, for individual development and continued self-existence.