Sunday, April 02, 2000, 8:24:26 AM, you wrote:
DH> If I can experience it, I can measure it and make a statement about
DH> it. I can fit it into the frame work of my life and relate it to all
DH> the the other things that fit into that also...
DH> Conversely, I can't "expand my conception of reality beyond those
DH> phenomena which can be measured", because;
DH> 1).- I can measure all I can experience (in fact, I am measuring it
DH> with my presence); and
DH> 2).- I can't expand my conception of reality beyond that which I can
RV> Hi Douglas. To extend this philosophical exchange a bit more
RV> (though I don't intend a very long exchange about it on this
I don't think you sent it to sanet. But I am going to (since you
though you did). I received 2 copies but you must have sent the sanet
one bcc since the headers of neither show sanet.
RV> I'd like to explain more about conceiving realities which we may
RV> perceive qualitatively but can't measure.
We don't agree about what's a measurement.
RV> In a way, I think this is what separates the ecological farmer from
RV> the industrial farmer. The ecological farmer knows their produce
RV> tastes better (qualitative); the industrial farmer is after more
RV> harvest (quantitative). The ecological farmer appreciates the web of
RV> life in the soil and on the land that sustains their farm, and feels
RV> part of it (qualitative); the industrial farmer is interested in the
RV> bottom line (quantitative).
OK. But I personally put more quantity (value) on the quality side
RV> Can we measure love? Well-being? Happiness? Health? Peace?
Yes, of course. It can be a little subjective (i.e., vary some between
persons), but there's no one who fails to understand these things.
What I object to is the secrecy that results from the proprietary
products that were being discussed. I believe in biology and in the
value of working with whole, integral biological organisms and in
recognizing that agriculture, and eating are both biologically based
events, just as we lead biologically based lives, in general.
There are MYRIAD ways of measuring Well-being, Happiness, Health, and
Peace. Even love is measurable, but the results are what really count,
and love must be returned, to mean much. (How much can you love a
movie star or pop singer you nevr deal with personally, for instance).
In that sense, it's measured by those involved - they know what
they've got in circulation. It's kind of like the organic grower /
consumer relationship, before all the intermediaries and "authorities"
got into the act.
RV> Would you deny their reality?
Your suppositions regarding my position are consistently off base and
frankly I hate to be baited, so save the rhetoric.
We are not talking about the same ways of measuring things. I discern
new ways of measurement if needed. And if I can describe that, it may
be repeatable by someone else. The dualism is someone else's problem,
not mine. There's no denial on my end. Nor is there any need to get
balled up spitting hairs. Take my word for it: "If I can experience it,
I can measure it and make a statement about it". You don't believe
that? Not my problem!
RV> There is, of course, a worldview which says: "if it can't be measured,
RV> it isn't real".
They don't measure things as I do. Why make me responsible for their
limitations? I say the opposite if it's real and it's important, I
can measure it, and if I can't, Robert can (or whoever's got the
chromatography, electron microscope or whatever we need).
Why tell me about worldviews that don't apply to me?
RV> So they measure health by cholesterol levels. They measure food
RV> quality by the number and amount of vitamins. They measure soil
RV> fertility by the amount of NPK (or even the number of
RV> microorganisms) in the soil.
Well, some sort of criteria is needed (or at least advisable). And not
everyone is as limited and shortsighted as you suggest. A criteria is
needed and it has to jive with the results. That's what sustainable
means. This is fruitless discussion and those that fail to see my
point only serve to further relegate sustainable ag to a myopic,
cliquish backwater where all that emanates is complaints and
Better, truer and more encompassing criteria is being developed on
many fronts and the people doing it are doing exactly what's needed
most. Anyone against that has my sympathy, but very little of it.
RV> There's even a worse extension of this worldview, which reduces all
RV> these measurements in monetary terms (put a cost on human life,
RV> disease, pollution, risk, etc., then do a cost benefit analysis...)
RV> Like King Midas, everything they touch becomes a commodity.
This is why it takes the participation of many persons. The problem is
the blind men and the elephant problem. The need to manage
macroeconomic issues is not going to go away. What's needed is a shift
*in focus* to an economic model that's biologically based. Ever hear
that one before? It's Douglas' Law!
Since this is a biological world and we are biological critters who
need to eat first and foremost (or no GNP, baby) and that means a
broad and strong ag program that's nutritionally relevant is called
Anyone here got a quarrel with that? Do me a favor and don't even
So there are DIFFERENT ways to measure reality, but NOT measuring it
RV> This is what I meant when I reacted to the idea of believing only what
RV> one can measure. There are many aspects of reality we can't measure,
RV> and often they are even more important than those we can.
Dear Robert: Please speak for yourself. I can measure anything
important enough to be a discernible quality. (I can't measure quarks
though, and don't know or care much about them - although that may
change some day).
Hablando se entiende la gente.
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