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Without citing examples, it's interesting to me to see posts by some people on this forum, a few who have posted hundreds and even thousands of times(!), who obviously have never read/can't be bothered to read/don't want to be tainted by any of the permaculture literature.  Indeed, it's as if to say that if you've read something you're somehow not as "free" to have your own opinion as those who know nothing, or know something from only "experience," whatever that means.  Bizarre.

I'm not saying anyone should have to study the "esigner's Manual" like the Bible at Sunday School, or have taken a PDC before they're allowed to post.  I'm not saying you even have to agree with the literature in whole or part.  But it sure would enlighten the discussion if some people were to have at least read the key texts, save for those just popping in to ask some questions or solve a problem, bless their hearts.

I'd love for someone to flame me on this, because at least it might help me to understand this mentality, which just baffles me.  I assure you, I can take it.  In fact, I'll offer a prize to anyone with the best refutation!
 
Fred Morgan
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I will freely admit I have never read the text. For me, permaculture means merely set up something that can be permanent.

It is a concept that runs through all I do - both from an economic point of view as well as a philosophical.

I guess I could take some time to review all the text, but I have been visited by people who have who are actually pretty impressed that what I do, works and is sustainable - and heck, even makes money. Some of them actually teach courses on permaculture. I didn't even know what I was doing WAS permaculture until they told me - I just thought it made sense.

But honestly, purism rarely gets you very far, nor does it convert people to your cause. But if you would like, I would cheerfully compare what you are doing to what I am doing - and perhaps we will both learn something.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Ok,I have read all the texts but ultimatly it comes down to my personal relationship with my landscape.This can be explained but shouldnt be viewed as a template to FOLLOW but rather a collection of examples from wich to draw inspiration and I view the texts in a similar fashon.I am also quite accomplished and "permaculture" is what others use to describe what Im doing so I just go with it.
 
Matt Ferrall
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Agriculture is the "one size fits all "solution that people follow.As for what permaculture is?Well that remains rather undefined on this site.If you have been a frequent visitor perhaps you saw that Paul believes permiculture is not GMOs or herbicide use but beyond that its pretty wide open.Check out the "what is permaculture"thread to really get confused.If we make it a science for credibility,it will lose its radical edge so it sits somewhere inbetween "experience"and facts.
 
Chuck Freeman
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at this price maybe you could loan yours out to some of us poor folk


Available from these sellers.


6 new from $102.98 10 used from $104.49
Feedback | Help | Expanded View | Close
Go to "PERMACULTURE: A Designers' Manual" page
PERMACULTURE: A Designers' Manual (Hardcover)
by Bill Mollison, Reny Mia Slay
4.8 out of 5 stars (24)
16 used & new from $102.98

Available from these sellers.
Publisher: Tagari Publications
Published: October 1, 1997
--   $102.98 $104.49

Hardcover
Available from these sellers.
Publisher: see notes for publisher info
Published: 1988
Hardcover, 1988 --   $104.99 $104.99

 
Emerson White
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I do try and stay on top of reading, but I spend so much time reading journal articles that it's hard to get through more than a book a week, and permaculture is not my only interest.

Perhaps you could draw up a list of what you consider permaculture cannon and then arbitrarily pick a number of texts that someone has read to qualify as a well read permaculture enthusiast.
 
Burra Maluca
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I'm with you on this one Chuck!  'The Manual' remains an elusive 'black-box' to me.  I'd have to go into debt to buy one, and I could buy about fifty fruit trees for the same price.  And no, there is no-one around I could borrow it from, and no local libraries that would get it in for me. 

I think it's time it was made freely available as a downloadable pdf myself...
 
Emerson White
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I didn't see any errors, but I think you want to find a different thread, there must be a welcome thread somewhere.
 
Al Loria
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bruc33ef wrote:
Without citing examples, it's interesting to me to see posts by some people on this forum, a few who have posted hundreds and even thousands of times(!), who obviously have never read/can't be bothered to read/don't want to be tainted by any of the permaculture literature.  Indeed, it's as if to say that if you've read something you're somehow not as "free" to have your own opinion as those who know nothing, or know something from only "experience," whatever that means.  Bizarre.

I'm not saying anyone should have to study the "esigner's Manual" like the Bible at Sunday School, or have taken a PDC before they're allowed to post.  I'm not saying you even have to agree with the literature in whole or part.  But it sure would enlighten the discussion if some people were to have at least read the key texts, save for those just popping in to ask some questions or solve a problem, bless their hearts.

I'd love for someone to flame me on this, because at least it might help me to understand this mentality, which just baffles me.  I assure you, I can take it.  In fact, I'll offer a prize to anyone with the best refutation!



I am going to jump in here with the least knowledge of permaculture in the group.  I only came here a month or so ago looking for info on getting my lawn back to health.  Then moved onto asking for help in correcting erosion on a steep slope we have.  In that time I have taken an interest in the permaculture side of things.  The only book I have read, so far, is Gaia's Garden.  An excellent book, by the way.

IMO, many will not read the designer manual, ever.  I probably would if the price were right, but I don't think that excludes people from making statements of opinion since permaculture seems to be open to such broad interpretation.  Many are adapting what they feel is their own vision of permaculture to their own unique set of circumstances.   And sharing that information, here, is a good way for others to learn.

I understand what you are asking, and I know following doctrinaire permaculture may not be what you are saying, but still, you can always take what you want from someone's opinion, and leave what you don't particularly care for.  That is the beauty of open discussion.

Possibly, it might be enlightening and beneficial to open a line of topic for only those who have taken a PDC or read the manuals in order to participate in that thread, so  as to keep it on point.  We all could then get insights, without having to pay the tariff, and maybe learn something too.

 
Robert Ray
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Ok  Bruce I'll jump in, first off we all are here hopefully supporting the idea of permaculture. With that, this isn't a graduated seperation of knowledge, this is a  mixed class k-12 are all in the same room

What experience, do you have as an active permaculturist?

How much property do you manage own?

Quantity of food produced?, since my vision of permaculture revolves around that.

What type of  off site external inputs do you currently use?

Some doctors have a diploma on the wall but I wouldn't go to them or take their advise, why should that idea not include someone who went to a PDC? or had the book?

Mt Goat and I have had some lively but divergent opinions on things, but I think it's more of a locale issue than a vision issue. He lives in a climatically nicer place. Would you make the decision which one of us is right?  We're both baffled at times and sometimes need competent educated direction.
Emerson and I don't agree all the time either, but discussion is how we learn. no matter how wrong they think I am or I know how wrong they are.

I think that being open and willing to listen to ideas is the best way to use this forum. Understanding that some of us are just learning how to drive.
 
                                  
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Introduction to Permaculture (all 15 chapters; excellent!)
www.barkingfrogspermaculture.org/PDC_ALL.pdf

Permaculture Two (you must register, free, before link appears):
http://gigapedia.com/items/275771/permaculture-two

Designer's Manual (register, free, for link):
http://gigle.ws/permaculture%20a%20designers%26amp;%23039%20manual.1063086.html

Gaia's Garden, 1st ed. (register, free, for link):
http://gigapedia.com/items/116885/gaia--039-s-garden--a-guide-to-home-scale-permaculture

One Straw Revolution (register, free, for link):
http://gigapedia.com/items/159205/the-one-straw-revolution--an-introduction-to-natural-farming

The Permaculture Way (register, free, for link):
http://gigapedia.com/items/150788/the-permaculture-way--practical-steps-to-create-a-self-sustaining-world

There is also lots of good, downloadable permaculture stuff at www.scribd.com
Use "permaculture" in the search bar.


See also Global Gardener series on YouTube.

Please add links. 

Question to Ponder:  How do you talk about something -- pro or con or indifferent -- without at least knowing what the hell you're talking about?
 
Luke Townsley
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I agree that anyone who is really into this forum should make it a point to read some of the literature. And yes, I totally get the frustration of people on this forum who have studied it dealing with active posters who aren't quite talking about the same thing.

True, the manual is quite expensive, but so are trees and plants. What would you think if your Preacher didn't read the Bible, your Banker didn't do accounts, your President didn't know the constitution... Oh, nevermind...

The alternative education route would be the sepp holzer route of spending tons of time observing nature and dreaming about making systems that work, but there are very, very few people who have the opportunity, background, time, or inclination for that. Reading is a lot more accessible.

For me, I thought I understood permaculture fairly well from watching all the online videos, reading some articles on the internet and hanging around this forum. That was before I had read any books on the subject.

So far, the only permaculture book I have read is Gaia's garden, which I loved, but it significantly changed and clarified my understanding of what permaculture is. I have ordered the Rebel Farmer and plan to read the Manual perhaps later this year and expect to be challenged and a much better gardener because of it.
 
Robert Ray
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I have read the "Rebel Farmer" found that I learned more on You Tube about Sepps's process than from the book.
As far as talking with someone who doesn't know about a subject Bruce.... here is where you become the teacher.
  Heard something a while ago, "A teacher and a leader aren't supposed to be a stagnant reservoir of knowledge but a raging river carving the way with that knowledge."
 
Burra Maluca
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Woohoo!  I love it when I grump about something and then it turns out I was completely wrong... 

Downloading now, then I just have to figure out how to open it 
 
paul wheaton
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For those of you that are of the opinion that folks on the forums should know a little about permaculture before participating, I want you to first go and read this thread and then come back and read the rest of what I have to say. 

My forums and I get to make the rules.  Nobody else.  I think it is fair to express that one might prefer things to be one way or another.  And that really should be in the "tinkering with this site" forum. 

These forums are open to anybody who has embraced organic techniques and is interested in moving forward to beyond organic.  I agree, that what would be really cool is forums that are 100 times more active than these forums and all of the people are far more advanced than I am on the topics I am interested in.  It would also be really cool if I win the lottery. 

There are lots of people that have never heard of permaculture before, but found these forums through google, read a couple of things and want to visit with us about similar things.  I wish to make it clear to everybody that those people are welcome here.  I hope that we can, collectively, help them learn about permaculture. 

I was thinking about deleting this thread, or moving it, or closing it, but instead I think I'm just going to change the title.


 
Burra Maluca
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I now have the Designer's Manual - thankyou Bruc33ef!

Also Gaia's Garden, which I already have a hardcopy of but I lend it out so often that I'm getting nervous it's not going to come back one day.  I'm much happier handing out pdfs...

The Introduction to Permaculture turned out to be just a 3 page intro, not the full 15 chapters.

And now I've reached my daily download limit, so The Permaculture Way is going to have to wait until tomorrow. 
 
                                  
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Intro link fixed.  Thanks for the heads up.

 
gary gregory
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I like to think of it as reaching out in all directions; seeking, sharing and comparing knowledge and kind of being supportive.
  Paul must be the slightly larger one, I'm the bald one.
 
Brenda Groth
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of the 6 books that you mentioned i have read and studied 3 completely, and have gotten bits and pieces of the other 3, and would love to completely read them as i have them available and have the time..time which is the difficult thing to find as i do spend a good deal of it with my hands in the actual dirt.

in the K -12 thing i'm probably just above K..as far as some of you would figure..but I also have about 200 to 300 books on gardening subjects in my personal library of hardcover books that hav been read through many times over the years, so all of my head knowledge may not be permaculture per se but i have an extensive knowledge of booklearning as well as 59 years almost of experience in this world of learning.

whether my opinions and advice are of value to you who have done more actual permaculture study than i or not is of little value to me..i am here to be a blessing and to learn..not to be judge by anyone.

there..i've said my piece..but thanks for asking
 
Fred Morgan
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bruc33ef wrote:

Question to Ponder:  How do you talk about something -- pro or con or indifferent -- without at least knowing what the hell you're talking about?



First of all, thanks for the links. I am sure I will enjoy reading some of them.

A question for you to ponder: How can anyone take you or anyone else as knowing what they are doing, if they don't share what their experience is? What are you doing? How long have you been doing? Are you actually able to sustain yourself with it - or is it merely experimental?

Now, for me. We own nearly 800 acres in the tropics. We have about 45 full-time workers. We have on staff a horticulturalist and a forestry engineer. Our primary business is sustainable forestry - including having our own furniture factory. We own nearly 300 sheep, which are used to keep the grass, etc. down between the trees and also to offset the cost of labor. I also own and run a forum on gardening in Costa Rica. We are profitable, and debt free.

Oh, I am 51 years old and have been gardening all my life - and it often in the past was the only way we could afford vegetables. Most of my life I have been an organic gardener.

I am not a purist - but I do believe permaculture is a necessary part of moving forward. I do believe that you can't stop life and switch over all of a sudden, but you should bring in piece by piece until you achieve the best you can.

Feel free to disagree with me - after all, my opinion costs you nothing, and might be worth that much. 
 
                                  
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I've pondered your question and here is my response:  The truth value of a statement is independent of the source.  It doesn't matter who says what; the issue is whether it is true or not.  You can't know anyone's experience, you only get to know what they say their experience is.  (Wittgenstein's beetle in a box problem.) 

It doesn't matter how many acres you have or just say you have... or what I have.  The only thing that matters is whether our statements about the issues check out or not.  My point was basically that in order to talk about permaculture it's a good idea to have read some of the core texts.  It gives people a common 'experience', a set of concepts, some language, a frame of reference and a set of analytical tools to help in discussing issues, solving problems, etc., so they can do something better with their experience.  And I very much  stand by it.
 
Fred Morgan
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bruc33ef wrote:
I've pondered your question and here is my response:  The truth value of a statement is independent of the source.  It doesn't matter who says what; the issue is whether it is true or not.  You can't know anyone's experience, you only get to know what they say their experience is.  (Wittgenstein's beetle in a box problem.) 

It doesn't matter how many acres you have or just say you have... or what I have.  The only thing that matters is whether your statements check out or not.  My point was basically that in order to talk about permaculture it's a good idea to have read some of the core texts.  It gives people a common 'experience', a set of concepts, some language, a frame of reference and a set of analytical tools to help in discussing issues, solving problems, etc., so they can do something better with their experience.  And I very much  stand by it.



I doubt there is anything you could write that I wouldn't understand. After all, permaculture didn't create a new language did they? They surely borrowed from existing disciplines.

It is important to know if someone has actually done what they say - and I am very easy to find. Just search on reforestation and my name, I am sure it will come up.

To use something I am very familiar with - computer programming. A person can graduate with a Masters in Computer Science and still not be able to program - happens all the time.  You may able to talk all about permaculture, and yet never be able to implement it, due to other factors.
 
Robert Ray
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We all start at a null point.
This forum just happens to be the starting point for some and  a resource for others already  practicing permaculture and differing degrees of expertise
It is a non exclusionary place to bounce ideas about, sometimes with friendly antagonism and other times as a eureka moment.
Here is where I take issue with personal experience as an important component. And that truth value does have an experience tag to it.
You can not discuss years of tropical experience and its success with some one who has no idea about life in the tropics. West coast rain forest, high plain New Mexico desert, good idea to listen to someone who has lived it rather than read it in some cases.
Just because I have taken a class, read the text and done the labs should make me competent to operate, wouldn't you really like to have someone who has done a few first?
Personal experience, successes and life experience along with observations are the truths that have written the text. Permaculture didn't start in a book. It came about by experiencing.

 
James Koss
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I must admit that I am somewhat confused as well.

Plenty of people have a lifetime of experience in gardens, yet do very bad things - that bluntly negate concepts shared in Permaculture texts!

Permaculture is an invention, well documented by well documented people. It gathers in itself many old ideas, yet it gives an entire system which simply did not exist before. Especially reading the PC Manual, as it is, is just an amazing 600 pages sorted in a very specific way, backed by very specific experience of others, referenced and documented.

Where I come from, and online as well, it seems many people refer to Permaculture as a more flexible idea than it really is. "Sustainability" and Permaculture are different things after all.

This is not about the purity of the concept. The use of the Permaculture term should be limited to relevant sources, and otherwise should be left as part of the sustainability concept or otherwise; But definitely not Permaculture.

It saddens me to visit places without even ground mulching, by people who shout "Permaculture", and when asked didn't even read the appropriate texts - and their own experience through courses, and what not, is evidently not enough in their case :=( They should shout "sustainable" instead!
 
                              
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lhtown wrote:

The alternative education route would be the Sepp Holzer route of spending tons of time observing nature and dreaming about making systems that work, but there are very, very few people who have the opportunity, background, time, or inclination for that. Reading is a lot more accessible.



just making an observation that for most of the traditional peoples history(I mean like native people living out in the bush in a subsistance lifestyle, truly living off/with the land, and not ignoring the few modern throwbacks who do it), observation and making note of relationships and what works well was how they learned to use things to survive.

SO I ask you--what cultures were/are more sustainable, those who learned by observation and getting their hands burned on a hot stick, or those who read a book?

Sure there's lots of great information in a book(and I'm NOT advocating going Fahrenheit 451 here), but I think one could draw at least a loose connection between the invention of the printing press and...what we got now.

And who survives when thrown into the deep woods with a bikini and a buck knife--the one with experience or the one who read a book about it?
 
Fred Morgan
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Just so everyone knows, I do read a lot.

Doing what I am doing in the tropics is a very good example. I have all the literature regarding plantations one could wish, including a forestry engineer but we don't do it the way they teach in the schools (shudder!) because I have combined observation with listening to old-timers in the area (many who are can't even read) and then our own tests.

Most plantations here that have gone by the book have failed - we have done very, very well. Book knowledge is a great place to start - but you will still probably fail if you don't know how to adjust to local conditions, which includes the culture you find yourself in.

But I will take some time to skim through the texts when I find the time. Just got back from a 5 hour horse back ride reviewing a new farm to buy...
 
                              
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I got this out of a book

The flavors of the peach and the apricot are not lost from generation to generation. Neither are they transmitted by book-learning.
--Ezra Pound

 
                                  
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wyldthang wrote:
I got this out of a book
The flavors of the peach and the apricot are not lost from generation to generation. Neither are they transmitted by book-learning.
--Ezra Pound


I hope all that flavor will actually help you grow some peaches, or know what to plant with them or how or why or to know how to benefit the soil.  You go ahead and defend until you're blue your right to ignore the writings of those much more experienced and knowledgeable than you.  Sorry you won't have what so many are willing to give you.  Enjoy your peaches and skip the readings.  It would be a distinct waste of time for you.  Good luck.
 
                              
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bruc33ef wrote:
I hope all that flavor will actually help you grow some peaches, or know what to plant with them or how or why or to know how to benefit the soil.  You go ahead and defend until you're blue your right to ignore the writings of those much more experienced and knowledgeable than you.  Sorry you won't have what so many are willing to give you.  Enjoy your peaches and skip the readings.  It would be a distinct waste of time for you.  Good luck.



DUDE, did I say I ignore the writings of people who been there done that? I'm merely defending the right to a little personal responsibility to think a little about one's own microclimate and not dismiss one's own experience in experimenting "trying" to grow stuff on their unique little plot. Edison FAILED a 1000 times trying to make a lightbulb--failure is just as educational, as long as one is taking good notes of course.

Thanks for the links btw.

 
Robert Ray
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"It is possible to stuff the mind with a million facts and still be uneducated."    Alec Bourne
 
Emerson White
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Some things must be experienced to be known, none of those things are technologies, and no humans could survive with out technologies. We are simply too frail. If you look back in history, or across cultures today, none of them survive except by transmitted knowledge.
 
Robert Ray
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"In her experience all her friends relied, Heaven was her help and nature was her guide."    George Crabbe
 
                              
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Emerson White wrote:
Some things must be experienced to be known, none of those things are technologies, and no humans could survive with out technologies. We are simply too frail. If you look back in history, or across cultures today, none of them survive except by transmitted knowledge.


So did they get the prime knowledge from the Klingons? because someone had to figure it out first....(please note, I'm trying to make a j-o-k-e)

we survived pretty good for eons with a stick and a rock--you won't get very far trying to defend yourself from a charging bear by pointing your iphone at it and shaking it to use the gunfire app.  Maybe you can make the bear gag on the iphone if you make him eat it...
 
Robert Ray
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"The best educated human being is one who understands most about the life which he is placed."[i][/i]  Helen Keller
 
Emerson White
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wyldthang wrote:
So did they get the prime knowledge from the Klingons? because someone had to figure it out first....(please note, I'm trying to make a j-o-k-e)

we survived pretty good for eons with a stick and a rock--you won't get very far trying to defend yourself from a charging bear by pointing your iphone at it and shaking it to use the gunfire app.  Maybe you can make the bear gag on the iphone if you make him eat it...


You have taken a misstep with the syllogism. Technologies can be invented, but they can also be passed on. Modern humans need technologies, presumably ancient pre-humans did not. Appropriate technologies is the key, an iPhone is not an effective means of stopping a bear, but it is an effective means of calling for a construction crew and organizing the building of a bear proof house. Even stick and rock technology is staggeringly complex, I suspect that given sticks and rocks you wouldn't be able to defend yourself against a bear any better than the rest of us, heck in stick and rock days the people who knew how to use sticks and rocks (we are not among their number) still gathered into groups of 10-20 (sometimes 50) to take on a bear.
 
                              
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Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
sermons in stone, and good in every thing.
--William Shakespeare

“There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.” --Edward Abbey (sorry Californians, I just love this one!)

No man who worships education has got the best out of education... Without a gentle contempt for education no man's education is complete.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
Robert Frost (hee)

“That which today calls itself science gives us more and more information, and indigestible glut of information, and less and less understanding.” Edward ABbey

It should be possible to explain the laws of physics to a barmaid.
Albert Einstein

Education is a crutch with which the foolish attack the wise to prove that they are not idiots. Karl Kraus (just...couldn't....help....it)

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers, rather than fill it with the accumulation of others.
Tryon Edwards

Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?" Priest: "No, not if you did not know." Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?"
Annie Dillard

No one wants a good education. Everyone wants a good degree.
Lee Rudolph

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats

and I'm spent
 
Emerson White
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Read this please
 
                              
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Emerson White wrote:
Read this please


but that's no fun!
 
Emerson White
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Oh no, we have to act like adults 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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An interesting book on text vs. no-text is "The Alphabet vs. The Goddess" by Leonard Shlain.

It's a text, of course (apologies to Umberto Eco), but it does a decent job of sketching out the big picture of how consciousness and behavior seem to be shaped by the habit of interpreting the world in terms of a linear series of tiny (also extremely simple and familiar) characters.

I don't agree with all of his conclusions, or even his central premises (the analysis is based in notions of gender and civilization that might offend progressive readers), but it makes a good case for the value of thinkers, and even whole traditions, who think outside the type case.
 
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