its about living (formerly excess supply hogs) (fwd)
Kevin Smyth (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thu, 15 Oct 1998 21:40:51 -0400 (EDT)
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> From: "E. Ann Clark, Associate Professor" <email@example.com>
> Organization: Plant Agriculture, Univ. of Guelph
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> Date: Thu, 15 Oct 1998 13:38:16 EST
> Subject: its about living (formerly excess supply hogs)
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Ann - Thank you for the thought provoking post. I have a few comments of
my own to add. > > John Ikerd and others: as usual, I feel
greatly enriched and > enlightened when I read your eloquent words.
> Thought I'd pursue your comment about "Sustainability is not
> about getting more stuff or "getting" anything, it is about
> "living"...in harmony with ourselves and with others...".
> I am re-reading Daniel Quinn's deliciously insidious and
> breathtakingly original novel *Ishmael*, and recently came across the
> part where he describes the role of civilizations/cultures as
> accumulating and transferring knowledge down through each subsequent
> generation. The cogent part here is that the difference between
> "leaver" and "taker" societies (this may not mean much if you haven't
> read the book) is that leaver cultures transmit knowledge of "how to
> live", while taker cultures transmit to their progeny knowledge of
> "how to make things". Even without having read the book, you can
> doubtless guess which one we are.
> I haven't read the book but I think I know what you mean here. I
believe that that the bigger part of the reason we can't get the hang of
"living harmoniously with others or with ourselves or with the
environment" is that we have almost completely lost sight of what Gary
Snyder calls "the Old Ways". Of course there is not just one single "old
way" but many. Buddhism is one very Old Way of learning how to live in
harmony. See WWW.Forestway.org for a great introduction. As I understand
it, Buddhism is about learning how to find your way out of the fog. We
live in Ignorance, we don't see things clearly, and we act accordingly.
When we see the true nature of things, beginning in our own hearts, we see
that we are all in the very same boat. Seeing this, we drop our selfish
ways and begin to live harmoniously. Doesn't that sound charmingly simple?
Of course it ain't, especially when it seems the whole world is swimming
in the opposite direction. .
> This seems a particularly profound, if simply
into > the fundamental problem we (takers) face - we don't teach our
> children how to do what you (and Ishamel) said we need to do - how
> to live harmoniously with others or with the environment (or if the
> truth be known, with ourselves). We don't teach it, because we don't
> know it. We don't know it because our parents didn't teach it to us,
> because they didn't know it... and so on. It is not part of our
> cultural heritage.
> As Ishmael says, because it is not part of our culture, each
> generation has to try to re-invent it, whether as flower children
> (are you youngsters out there old enough to know what that means?) or
> Gen-X'ers or whatever is next to come down the pipe.
Well, we don't have to re-invent it. We need to discover it, or uncover
it, like an old forgotten well that someone laid a flat rock over way back
when and which is dimly remembered in drought time some distant day.
> > Perhaps this palpable, if unacknowledged void in our own lives is
> part of the reason why at least some takers are attracted to leaver
> cultures, e.g. some of the indigenous people cultures of North
> It seems equally plausible to me that a culture that doesn't teach
> its children how to live among themselves, would be a particularly
> unlikely candidate for learning how to live sustainably
> (harmoniously) with the environment around them.
> I have a 14 year old son who goes to the local public school. It
drives me crazy to see him have to spend so much daggone time INDOORS. How
the heck we gonna learn anything about life if we're indoors all the time?
I believe this is one of the most damaging things about our educational
system: its all INDOORS! My wife and I farm for a living. We grow
vegetables for a CSA in S.E. Ohio. We're outside most of the time and the
effect of this on us, on our hearts and our minds and our bodies, is so
healthful and so pleasant and so enlightening I could scream when I read
the stastistics re. the use of Ritalin to treat "hyperactive" children. I
just read an article titled "Running on Ritalin" by Lawrence Diller,
published in the recent issue of Doubletake magazine. Diller is a
"behavioral pediatrician" outside San Francisco. Listen to this: "Since
1990 the number of children and adults diagnosed with Attention Deficit
Disorder has risen from about nine hundred thousand to almost five million
as we near the end of the decade...This sharp rise in ADD diagnosis is
directly tied to another startling stastic-a 700 percent increase in the
amount of Ritalin produced in the United States during the same time
period...these recent increases have been so dramatic that they have
raised alarm within the DEA and other international organizations such as
The United Nations' International Narcotics Control Board, based in
Vienna>." And this: "A hundred years ago ADD per se did not exist...among
the reasons why it wasn't identified as a serious problem was, no doubt,
the ironic fact that children were offered more alternatives than is the
case today. Then, if it was too hard for a child to sit still in school,
he or she could go back to helping on the farm, for example, or work in
the family's store, or help care for younger siblings."
> Perhaps the
difficulty facing proponents of sustainable agriculture
> is not surficial/trendy/PR at all, but rather, something much more
> "core" and integral to our very culture. Ann
You are absolutely right! Thanks for raising this very important subject.>
> Dr. E. Ann Clark
> Associate Professor
> Crop Science
> University of Guelph
> Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
> Phone: 519-824-4120 Ext. 2508
> FAX: 519 763-8933
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