On 16 Apr 2009, at 20:07, Christophe Mckeon wrote:
> there were some comments which along the lines of, just let  
> 'evolution'
> happen, don't get in the way. it is difficult to argue with such a
> position. when somebody says we must all die, while bowing down to the
> alter of this so called 'evolution' which is essentially just a  
> culture
> of plunder gone rampant, and an incredible hubris vis a vis our
> rudimentary technologies. i just consider that one of the many
> sociopathologies of civilization, or perhaps a coping strategy of
> particular individuals who are educated enough to understand the data
> science is feeding us, but not knowing which way to turn for  
> solutions,
> intellectualize and abstract away the very real dread which most sane
> human beings feel when felt with the prospect of annihilation. human
> beings lived for hundreds of thousands of years before the culture of
> plunder took over and now threatens all of our lives.

I wish you well with your endeavours as I'm sure on a personal level  
that permaculture is rewarding (at least based on my experiences of  
growing my own vegetables and brewing my own alcohol) so please don't  
take this as an "I disagree with you so you're an idiot" comment  
because it isn't, but I think you've fallen for the same golden-age  
myth that's haunted all human civilisations since at least the  
invention of writing.

Human beings lived for hundreds of thousands of years before their  
numbers were sufficient for our basic instincts to start making a  
significant impact on a global scale, but if you look at the ecology  
of particular regions you'll see that long before settlement and  
domestication we were already a primary mover of our environment.  
Thanks to our prolific use of tools we happen to share an edge that  
you usually only see in short-lived, fast-breeding generalists such as  
rodents which ensures that we can exploit an incredibly broad range of  
ecological opportunities as well as being able to define new ecology  
such as the current petrochemical-driven agrimonoculture.

Incidentally I agree with you that that is unsustainable, and perhaps  
permaculture or any of a broad range of alternative farming  
technologies will out-compete it. However I see no moral imperative to  
preferring one over the other as evolutionary pressures are by  
definition circumstantial and amoral.

Were the green lobby to abandon the intense moral zealotry that so  
often dominates their arguments and instead focus on that old  
Christian concept of "do as you would be done by" - leading by example  
and using the tools of free market economics to make their point - I  
believe there would be a much better chance of alternative  
agricultural practices becoming dominant. There also needs to be an  
abandonment of the social agenda prevalent in the Western world that  
sees farming subsidies as an important role of national and  
supranational trade blocs as it creates many of the market distortions  
which have created current circumstances.

On your other point, I'm a natural pessimist and tend to believe that  
if something can go wrong it will go wrong therefore in most  
circumstances the best course of action is to do nothing. If that's a  
socipathology, then it's one I share with the medical profession (i.e.  
first do no harm).


Ellie

Eleanor McHugh
Games With Brains
http://slides.games-with-brains.net
----
raise ArgumentError unless @reality.responds_to? :reason