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Beyond Civilized and Primitive: an essay on permanence & culture

 
pollinator
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This essay is a very good read, in my opinion. One quick (maybe not representative) excerpt:

Agriculture, whether or not it's a good idea, is in no danger. The movement to switch the whole planet to synthetic fertilizers on dead soil (ironically called "the Green Revolution") had not even started yet when another movement started to switch back: organic farming. Present organic farmers are still using oil to run tractors and haul supplies in, but in terms of getting the soil to produce a crop, organic farming is agriculture without oil, and it's the fastest growing segment of the food economy. It is being held back by cultural intertia, by the political power of industrial agribusiness, and by cheap oil. It is not being held back by any lack of land suitable for conversion to organic methods. No one says, "We bought this old farm, but since the soil is dead, we're just going to leave it as a wasteland, and go hunt elk." People find a way to bring the soil back.



That comes up in the context of a grand sweep from our murky speculations about pre-history to some plausible notions of what the future might be, with a generally open question of what we might learn from the ways of life we know about. It has recently been improved by gently removing, in the author's words, "several rambling paragraphs of fringe science and non-western metaphysics."

Enjoy!

Edit:

Gaah!  Oops.  Here's the link, better late than never I hope:

http://ranprieur.com/essays/beyondciv.html
 
steward
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link, please.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Thanks! I just added it.
 
                    
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This is long but great. 

"In a blow to both primitivism and "progress", it turns out that most of these people were not living in the timeless ways of their ancestors -- the "Indians" of American myth were post-crash societies!" 

Dang. 

I also enjoyed his link about the practice of jubilee.

wooo!  I finally figured out how to make a text link!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Oh, thanks for pointing that out! I'll have to remember that for the future.

And yes, the practice of jubilee is a very radical idea. Ran's comment that slaves in classical times were treated better than Wal*Mart employees was not hyperbole.
 
tel jetson
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I like that a lot.  who is this Ran Prieur character?
 
Popeye has his spinach. I have this tiny ad:
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
http://woodheat.net
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