Saturday, September 22, 2007

didactic reduction

Man, I wish I could be less didactic. I don't think I know more then most, it just sounds like I do. But anyway, I wrote this here:

It’s raining outside and I have the day off of work, so I felt like perusing this forum, otherwise I would probably not do so. I read Janisse Ray’s article awhile ago, so I only remember the gist of the piece. After reading this entire comment section it was clear to me that these comment sections always seem to start so sweetly, with people’s general reactions to the articles, and then degenerate into extremely long missives from those with way too much time on their hands. It is disheartening.

I like writing, though, and reading as well, but obviously the proof is in the pudding. You can say any stupid outrageous intelligent brilliant thing you want, and it just doesn’t matter until an action is taken on behalf of the words you write or the thoughts you think. I think most people inherently know this. So why so much baloney in these forums, comment sections, and listservs? What a waste of energy. And the only way to save the world is to save energy, right?

So my particular response to this article and others like it is one of irritation at the actual smallness of the subject, that we are discussing such ridiculously small problems that can be solved quite easily if anybody actually cared. I’m not saying that people don’t, I’m saying it seems like people don’t. Industrialized people, anyway.

In all actuality, you do not have to drive anywhere or use the internet or buy disposable razor blades from Target or shower every day (I do because I’m a landscaper..:)but we all choose to do one or more stupid things every day because we have been programmed since we were infants to feel like these consumerist actions are what makes us happy, they are what makes us human almost! Good gracious, how could we relax after work without a movie and some popcorn? How could we have a good Christmas without a ham and the newest video game system? Our consumption of junk and apathy towards the earth is what fuels our rampant wasting of many different types of energy. Too me, looking around at our culture, is shocking and amazing. But of course, I can only change myself, so I try to do that in small steps. I don’t succeed all the time, but so what?

Permaculture is one system that will allow human beings to live fully and deliciously on this planet. There are other systems, but there are no technological fixes left when the nonrenewable resources that fuel the machine become too expensive to mine, or runs out. In any case, the small fragment of humanity that makes up the industrialized nations will probably have live like the other three fourths of the world. That’s the real picture of the future, not this desperate clinging of the bourgeoisie to the last vestiges of the middle class suburban lifestyle of comfort and waste.

I’m a country boy living in the big city and I really appreciate both worlds, but the city isn’t sustainable in the long run in my view, at least in the urban centers. But I do not think that a retreat to the country to live a back-to-the-land lifestyle is sustainable either. Basically the city and the country mirror each other, and a million possible permutations exist across the world. I think that as an individual, it is up to me to find and build a community that is sustainable. That is all I can do and any more thought on the subject seems counterproductive and intellectually smug.

There was a particular idea that popped up in this forum, about how the BIG QUESTION was CAN IT SCALE, or something like that. I have gotten that question from any number of intelligent people as a response to my ideas about permaculture and sustainability. I want to say, YES! Of course it can scale. But nobody has tried it, so how the hell do we know for sure? What a ridiculous question, in some ways. Is a small garden less important because it can’t be recreated on giant scale? I honestly don’t even know where people’s heads are at when they ask this question...How has our present system of intensive monocropping been anything but bad? For us and for the earth? We’re fatter and the earth is sicker.

Saying you’re an environmentalist or selling a green or eco product means nothing anymore. The word “organic” has been co-opted and now costs farmers thousands of dollar just to be able to use it. All that counts is every little thing you do. One commentator said that a movement that asks you to consider every action you take wouldn’t attract many people, or something to that effect, but look at Buddhism. It’s pretty popular. And in an case, that is all we can do as humans, otherwise we’re just blindly passing though life into death, ruled by our passions, fears, and ignorance.


1 comment:

gianna said...

hey, brother dear! it's really late at night and I think I followed your post fairly well. I am starting to understand how important our environment is (much more than I have in the past), so I appreciate what you are saying. I may not understand or agree completely, but I think I'm getting there.

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