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T - Technology

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  • Stephen Inniss
    Hello again everyone, For the past two months I ve been absent from this forum. Not a planned vacation like Bob Monie s or Michiyo s (are you back yet?), but
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2004
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      Hello again everyone,

      For the past two months I've been absent from this forum. Not a planned
      "vacation" like Bob Monie's or Michiyo's (are you back yet?), but simply
      the press of events elsewhere: real life trumping virtual life, as it
      should.

      Welcome to the newer members! For anyone who hasn't a copy of Mr.
      Fukuoka's works handy, "One Straw Revolution" is available on the
      website (since "hard" copies can be difficult to find). If you know
      Fukuokan agriculture only by reputation, that would be a good place to
      start. You will also find some good material provided by Jamie
      ("souscayrous"), and what looks like a handy compilation of all our
      discussions to date provided by Jason ("animaphile"). A look through
      those records may be worthwhile for anyone who can speed-read past the
      trivialities and disputation that spring up wherever human beings start
      chattering together. There are some grains of wisdom mixed with the chaff.

      I notice one of the recent threads is about technology in general, and
      even whether the internet is an appropriate medium for discussion of Mr.
      Fukuoka's ideas (especially given Mr. Fukuoka's own reported and
      probably well justified distrust of the internet). Some thoughts &
      opinions on this:

      I doubt that any particular technology is of itself the "kiss of death"
      for natural farming, or for a "sustainable" way of life. If we or our
      surroundings come to grief, the fault lies not in mere techniques or
      knowledge but in our hearts. Greed, ignorance, and pride will be the
      downfall of our present techno-civilization, if indeed it does fall, not
      the technologies themselves. Pointing to some particular (for instance,
      money, corporations, plastics, or the internet) as the source of evil is
      missing the point. It's a bit like those well meaning people who would
      ban wine because some people are alcoholics, or destroy all playing
      cards because some people ruin their lives with gambling. While it's
      true that some technologies cock the odds in favour of certain kinds of
      errors, the most important thing they do is that act as a magnifier. The
      more powerful we are, the more serious the consequences of folly or
      malice. Or, to put it another way, turning the wrong direction when you
      are on foot and moving at walking pace is usually not fatal, but doing
      the same thing with a half ton vehicle whe moving at 100 kph often is.
      That, I think, is where one of the virtues of Fukuokan farming lies.
      Fewer, gentler, and more thoughtful interventions means that mistakes
      are fewer and less violent. It might also be why Mr. Fukuoka seems
      to be impatient with people who ask whether this or that technique is
      the right thing to do. It's not about the techniques, it is about the
      approach to using them.

      Even paleolithic technology can't be *proven* to be fully sustainable
      (as in: human presence makes no permanent changes or deletions). However
      and wherever we live, though, the kind of watchfulness and
      thoughtfulness concerning our spirits and and our surroundings that Mr.
      Fukuoka advocates will be essential.

      We can run as far as we like down the path of retro-tech, but we will
      not escape ourselves.

      Stephen
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