Roberto pokachinni

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since Jan 21, 2014
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Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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Recent posts by Roberto pokachinni

I think the thing that most people want to know is details about your transition to the land, and how you began and initiated all your projects.  Give details that you think are unique about your own observations and experiences.  Talk about your failures and how you learned from them, as well as celebrating your successes while detailing the process that got you there.  The devil is in the details, but the more you explain no matter about what it is, the less likely that someone else will be making mistakes.  Create a base of knowledge that others can readily access, and don't overburden them with too much wind up and wind down if you are in video format, get to the point that you want to express.  Enjoy it. 
5 hours ago
This spring I was surprised by the very few voles that were present.  Normally I see them as I work in the garden, darting or hopping or otherwise moving very quickly out of my way and into their huge network of tunnels in my permanent raised beds.  This spring, and as summer progressed, I hardly saw any.  I had a sneaking suspicion that I had gained a very efficient predator, and I figured that it was a small one, like a weasel that could get under the snow and hit them in the winter domain. 

Today as I was turning my massive compost heap, I was visited by the likely culprit, a tiny extremely fast moving weasel.  He spent about ten minutes darting around me, stopping occasionally to have a long look at me in a head tilting manner that seemed to say that he was curious about me. I kept stopping and talking to him, and then he would dive into a tunnel in my equally massive hay stack that is right beside where I was working and then pop up out of another hole and then run so fast in my peripheral vision that I thought it was a bird in flight.  He had no fear of me, probably because I'm the only one around that he has seen, I don't act aggressively around him, and he's so dang fast.  Pretty freakin cool.  And very welcome. 
5 hours ago
The vole epidemic was solved this past winter by the arrival of a mysterious predator.  Today as I was turning my massive compost heap, I was visited by the likely culprit, a tiny extremely fast moving weasel.  He spent about ten minutes darting around me, stopping occasionally to have a long look at me in a head tilting manner that seemed to say that he was curious about me. I kept stopping and talking to him, and then he would dive into a tunnel in my equally massive hay stack that is right beside where I was working and then pop up out of another hole and then run so fast in my peripheral vision that I thought it was a bird in flight.  Pretty freakin cool.  And very welcome. 
5 hours ago

You're right, I have no grasp of "existing egalitarian cultures".   Which countries are currently practicing this form of government?  if not countries which societies?

I'm not being facetious here.  I seriously want to learn.

Nation states tend not to develop egalitarian societies.  The closest in the modern situation is probably Sweden, but I may be wrong.  Perhaps Bhutan is a better example?  The cultures (which I hesitate to call primitive) that I am referring to are in the jungles of Amazonia, or South East Asia.  There are some in the area known as Oceana in the South Pacific, and others in the Indian Ocean, and still others in remote and especially northern areas of what is known as Russia or Siberia.  If you go to your library and ask your librarian to direct you to the cultural anthropology section you will find some of what you need there or the librarian will be able to help you through inter library loan.

I highly suggest the work of Wade Davis.  He is an ethno-botanist as well as an ethnographer.  His book One River (which is all about the Amazonian tribes and the history of contact) is probably the best experience based anthropology/auto biography that I have read.  The only caveat to his work is that his research was primarily entho-botany with a further focus on hallucinogenic plants and the cultural uses of them.  If that's not your cup of tea (pardon the pun), then skip those parts as you delve into other aspects of the cultures which are detailed quite nicely for the lay person in this fascinating read.     
5 hours ago

I'd always understood that the common belief was that prehistoric man probably practiced a Dominance Hierarchy, where the alpha male knew that everyone else was inferior to him, and that everyone else knew that there were those that we superior to them and those that were inferior, but non were exactly "equal" them. 

  The older views of how we all lived have been eclipsed by later findings and interpretations, from what I understood in my Anthropology classes, and later studies.  There is no evidence that these cave paintings existed in a male dominated society.  None.  Considering the near absence of weapons and hunters amongst literally thousands of animals would lead me (and all more recent interpretations) to believe that these were not hunting images.  We may have broke away from the rest of the primates through male dominance but, again, there is not much proof of that, except that we butchered, cooked, and ate other primates, and all that happened several hundred thousand to a million (or a whole lot more) years before these paintings were made, which is actually pretty recent in human history. 

There is plenty of evidence that the vast majority of primitive (stone age tool user) cultures that existed at the time of us Europeans contacting them with our metal and so called advanced societies and such, were egalitarian in nature, even with male chiefdoms, they still had matriarchal lineages and basic egalitarian structures.  By studying the work of anthropologists who visited these peoples, even the warlike ones, we find that the cultures had leaders but these were based on skill and wisdom and leadership qualities, not on dominance and power struggles.  It is widely believed that all cultures had an even stronger fraternal/maternal basis at one period of time, but that warfare and male dominance developed through land disputes as our population expanded beyond the capacity for long term hunting in smaller tribal boundary areas.  That is, from my understanding, the commonly held modern belief.  Also, many people believe that periodic warfare was used by many egalitarian societies in order to capture new blood/genetics to marry into the tribe, but their culture in general was not war based on a day to day basis, or even an annual one, despite this element that was observed in some cultures.

This is not to say that war like cultures did not exist, but that they were more of an exception than the rule.  I grew up in an area where war was a part of the culture, but even there, it might be decades or centuries between any serious skirmish, while trade alliances and intermarriages were more common.  All of these cultures were matrilineal in descent patterns, and it often said in that region, that behind every male in the male dominated chiefdom council stood a woman guiding his decisions. 

As you point out, it is impossible to know what happened 20,000 years ago, and what those cultures were like, but I would think that the best guesses come from our observations of existing cultures who use the same tools. 
6 hours ago

As for the Lascaux Cave Paintings we nothing nothing about the society that created them, assuming it was Egalitarian seems a bit presumptuous, in fact I'd be willing to bet that the person or people that created those paintings had no such claims/aspirations about their society.

  Whether you would be willing to bet something does not make your assumption a fact either.  Considering that you don't seem to have a grasp of existing egalitarian cultures, I'd be willing to bet strongly against any assumptions/presumptions that you are making about the culture of these artists.  By studying the art, all experts have come to the understanding that these ancient peoples created extremely complex works, that were planned out, and took many days, up on scaffolding to fabricate.  To do this with no aspirations, as you have decided they must have, is completely ridiculous, in my opinion.
6 hours ago
Hi Peter:  My first paragraph addresses art.  I underlined the part (culture) that is addressed in my second paragraph: 

Can you point to a single example of a great work of art, or culture, that came from a society that did NOT have both wealthy and poor people?  A society where everyone has equal wealth and everything was provided for the individual?

  I don't know the specifics of the particular societies of long ago that created them, but the stone age work that is displayed in the caves of South West Europe, and those in Australia would both, in my mind, and the mind of many in the art world, be great works of art.  So much so, that in my cultural homeland, they have created a Unesco world heritage site at Lascaux, in France. By studying the artwork one can find that they were using many advanced techniques, including (but not limited to) combining minerals and oils to make long lasting pigments, utilizing shading and the shape of the stone walls to create depth and perspective, having animals arise out of cracks in the wall, planning to have the art span around the full curve of a ceiling, overlaying creatures over top of one another, repeating a series of geometric symbols found over thousands of Km and spanning thousands of years, et cetera.  By animal oil and wick lamp light, these realistic images of animals come even more to life, and the symbols show abstract thought patterns displayed over time and space that show the potential to be the precursors to written language which did not develop for thousands of years afterwards.  Also, most, if not all, of these paintings and etchings predate large scale agriculture and urban societies by thousands of years (some caves are over 40,000 years old).  In Australia some of the paintings are as old, and we have the great benefit of an existing cultural heritage that still understands the images.

I consider all cultures great, if they are functioning healthily in a regenerative way within their local environment.

The art of the Australian Aborigines is touched on in this brief video, the main gist is that the art is a way of documenting history, but it takes the right interpretation (like with the hieroglyphics) to make proper sense of it: 
6 hours ago
Peter VanDerWal

Some people have their chosen occupation as the defining factor on who they are and even to them that's all they are.  Our society in North America seems to revel in this notion.  The question of what do you do for a living? or what do you do? are common ways to engage when meeting someone.  Perhaps it's tied into the protestant work ethic that the Puritans brought over?  At any rate, we are not our jobs, at least not when we are not working, and thus should we not, perhaps, also be defined by the other things we do?  Despite being a welder on the railway for work, I am also a permacultural horticulturalist, a mountain climber, a cyclist, a trail builder, a swimmer, a natural builder, a teacher, an active volunteer in many community groups, et cetera.   I think that some people are so tied into the work they do at their 'Job' that it owns them, and it does define them, but for many that is not the case.  For 8 years I worked with mentally challenged adults, but I did not feel any more than I do now that this occupation defined who I was or what my friends thought of me.  My friends know me for all of these other things that I do, as they stay with me while a job can be more transient.

The point that I'm getting to is that tribal cultures have a great deal of leisure time in which to engage in social community building and other things that they enjoy in life, and so when I read this quote from Peter VanDerWal, I have to comment:

Look at tribes that live in the rainforests, where they don't need any heat, were food is abundant and grows all around them.  Do they build brick and mortar houses?  No, they build huts with the minimum amount of effort necessary to keep the rain off them.  They don't organize themselves to build farms (they don't need to), they don't build roads, they don't build almost anything.
They don't do anything other than the minimum amount of work needed for day to day life.

I disagree.  We, in our culture, do not value things the same way that they do, so we only give value to work that earns money.  This is one of the reasons that cleaning the toilet and scrubbing the floors, done by unpaid housewives for the most part, is often not considered work, but it certainly is.  We, in our culture, also do not place high value on listening, or on building relationships, or on caring for our population in a deep, personal, and meaningful way.  We would rather pay professionals to do the latter, and our relational situations are more often than not wrought with dysfunction.  These people put effort as a matter of cultural norm, not trying to toil at it to get it done, and as such are reward through their efforts with a culture of moral and ethical integrity.  If you visit with such tribal people you would see that their social bonds are much stronger than ours, that they care deeply about one another in ways that our society of fragmented nuclear families and isolated individuals doesn't even dream to aspire to.

Why would they work if they didn't have to? Why do you believe that humans 'want' to work if they don't have to?

Because they place value in it.  No matter if they are working on something that you might consider a job, or they are putting effort into something that you don't feel is work, they are engaging in things that they put value in.  What is money, if not something that we have created to symbolize and exchange for things we value? (or in our case, it is often what we think we value because we bought the advertisers spiel.)  You would also see upon visiting such cultures that they use tools daily, and these tools are works of art, not because they wasted a bunch of time being lazy,, sitting around carving patterns and figures into their tools!  Not at all.  Because they value their few possessions and take pride in quality of workmanship for efficiency of use, and also place a high value on making things beautiful.  That's why.  All of these things take time and energy and effort... Work, in other words, but they do not have jobs like you or I do, so it is useless, or impossible to compare our lifestyles to theirs.  We have to understand what is valuable to them, and what is valuable to us, and then make comparisons.  Otherwise these cultures do not and in fact can not equate; not at all.  The live in a totally different paradigm.   

without training and encouragement, without NEED, most humans will choose to play rather than work.

If a society values play more than work, and it can get away with doing so while still having it's needs met fully, then all the power to them.  I'm not sure what the contention is that you have with such a life, Peter?

Rather than trying to emulate that state of indigenous bliss, are you suggesting that we must work our butts off for the majority of our waking day to make money in exchange for the supposed necessities that our society imposes on us, necessities that are most often planned to be disposable, creating a waste stream that we largely ignore, in houses that are much too large and are often nearly impossible to deal with ecologically?  I'd rather take the permaculture approach to look at natural systems, including indigenous cultures, to figure out ways that I can incorporate more of their lifestyle into my own so that I have more time and space to do the things that I would like to define me more than my job(s).

Rather than capitalism which seems to be often co-opted by the greedy and the power hungry, or communism, be it under the terms of Marx or under some nation state autocrat's centralized whim, I would consider heading quite far towards the localized communitarian principals that are still living as examples in these pristine cultures, while still retaining our technological/scientific processes albeit in a much more permacultural/life enhancing way.  Most of what is outlined in this thread's original post are, in my way of thinking, embraced by tribal cultures as a matter of course, and these are actually very desirable things that, if embraced without the overwhelming burden of our fears of the communist threat, would boost our own society's potential toward living a healthy and more productive life at home and at work. 

A tribal child engages in most if not all tasks with his parents and other adults, and as such has a stronger understanding of what work is than the average adult person in western Culture who is often grinding away at a single task, in a tedious manner in order to make money.  Inherent in doing things with there elders, a tribal child understands many things about the real world that most adults in our world would fail to grasp without training.   This include such things that we consider to be the realm of the well studied, like the fluid dynamics of physics through his or her ability to use a boat up and down a river, or the work of counseling which is an inherent part of their broad social language.  Also included is the (to us) difficult tasks of making fire without matches, to thatching a roof so that it can withstand heavy jungle rains, to transplanting layered cuttings on the forest trails when gathering edible plants... these types of things that these children do, that are inherent in their cultural knowledge base, are skills that we feel the need to gain education for if we are so inclined to want to do them expertly.  They do it with their time and energy, as part of the day to day activities that are not even considered at all as any kind of toil, but because you do not see them as putting much effort into it, you do not value their work.

We in the dominant culture tend to take the very few things that we think we know about a distant culture and create a mythological world based primarily, and quite unfortunately, on our own cultural parameters and fail to grasp the many divergences that are inherent in such extremely different systems of thinking and doing.  I think that this is the case in your assessment of their work.     

A deeper look into cultural anthropology might change your mind.
10 hours ago
Interesting thread. 

Personally, I'm not a big fan of scary words, even though I sometimes use them and will likely throw them around a bunch too in my post.  When the words communism and capitalism come up, for instance, people think in black and white terms, and this is not at all helpful, and seems in fact to cause more confusion and lack of understanding than anything productive.

That said, let me explore it a bit with the definition that Uncle Google gives me. 

Capitalism: An economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

Communism: A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and needs.

While capitalism might be a economic and political system, it should be noted that it is also a theory, and, while it has been applied successfully, it is not without serious flaws if it's taken to the extreme (which happens, a lot, and is why some people have problems with it).  Communism is pretty much a theory only however, since in general, in practice, the supposed class war that Marx insisted upon seems to end up with a different set of bosses that rise from the middle class and military.  I think that it is important to note that the democratization of the work place is a foundational aspect of communist theory, while the ownership of the business sector by the state is communism in practice.   That is an important distinction, in my mind.  

As such, when viewing with these definitions, my thinking is that the AJP platform as outlined by Ryan Hobbs tends to be more like the definition (but not practice) of communism, especially since it seems to be in direct opposition to capitalism (which tends to be how we view communism in the black/white dichotomy); the whole the workers rise against the bosses thing. 

The primary problem in the platform, the way I see it,  is in the appropriation of business.  It creates a shit storm that is unlikely to settle out very nice and clean.  The problem is also the 'big red menace' scare tactics that have been driven into all of us in the west (particularly all of us who lived with the shadow of the Eastern Bloc until it's fall) that make any socially oriented government or policy be painted with the same bright scary red brush, so even if it was going to go smoothly, the people (especially the bosses and their buddies) would be too scared to walk that road.  Oh no, they have social ideas, they must be communists!  We can't have that. 

Shamefully, all the rest of the platform has the possibility of flying if it's presented right via the socially oriented/minded, but the whole thing will be thrown out with the bathwater because of the serious communist type infraction of democratizing the work place.   I'm not an American, and so maybe I should keep my yap shut, but the way I see it, the breakdown of business out of the owner's hands and into the worker's hands will never happen as a result of a political decision in the USA. ...not without a coup de t'etat, support of the military, marshal law, and the resulting upheavals (of which we have many examples in our global past) that would likely be a part of it.  The breakdown of business into the workers hands can only happen via the creation of such businesses independent of political coercive force, and as stated in other people's posts there are examples existing in the U.S. and elsewhere in the free world of capital gain companies which are owned by the workers, or are cooperatively owned by the people who are directly effected by them.

The problems with businesses can be many and complex, and I am all for the potential of democratizing such things as much as possible.  The failure of trade unionism (despite many great gains for all workers in the free world)  in many regards is due to the same problems associated with the capitalist businesses in general, in that they tend to be somewhat self serving, and use the workers for ulterior motives/personal gain.  That is essentially what also has happened in most communist models, and the peasants are still peasants.  That is not to say that this model would not be able to break that cycle if it was enacted properly.  It's more saying that since the displaced big business guys are also very connected to the military and the existing political and economic capitalist structure, any move to do this politically will be disastrous.

The social political structures that are inherent in the problems that the American Justice Party seem to want to address are the result, in my way of thinking, not of capitalism, but of a way of thinking and a way of forming policy that enables a certain type of capitalism and a certain type of social structure that inherently rewards elitists hierarchies or in the least a brutal form of individualism taken to mean 'every man for himself'.       

Before I explore that,  I'm going to swing somewhere else since another scary word has been tossed around:   FASCISM:  a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

When it comes to the word fascism things tend to be a bit more straightforward by definition (and for every definition of it, that comes up, there are none that are not scary to me), but since this word is pretty much directly associated with the axis powers of WW2, and their associated issues, I tend to use the term Totalitarianism to describe the fascist condition as it relates to many things.  The form that communism took in the Soviet Union, for instance, tended to be more totalitarian than it was a model of true communism as Marx intended or (I should say ) he thought was the natural succession of social order after the capitalist state.   

Totalitarianism:   A system of government that is centralized and dictatorial and requires complete subservience to the state.

Totalitarianism is often viewed as a direct opposite of democracy, but even the fascist (totalitarian) leader B. Mussolini was elected democratically, and democracy as it pans out, is at it's worst the result of a majority gaining the power over the minority(s), and often has similar resulting social problems associated with elitist hierarchies.      

All government policy that tends to not have as it's primary function the betterment of the total population's state of being and way of life, tends toward totalitarianism and also elitist hierarchal power structures or (as I will explore briefly in a moment) nihilism, and as I said in the last paragraph, this often includes democracies.  Canada and the U.S., and Britain and France, and most or probably all other democratic so called free countries all have many policies which I would consider to be totalitarian in nature.

The other loose rabid dog in the room that most people tend to ignore until it is way too late is Nihilism: The rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless. 

The problem with Nihilism is that it tends to exponentially breed a way of thinking that enables a person to do whatever they please without thought of social or environmental consequences.  The problems that many people associate with capitalism are actually problems associated with nihilistic tendencies.  Total nihilism in practice is rare, as most with nihilistic tendencies tend to believe strongly in the reality of the material world.

Anarchy (NOTE:  I'm giving the second definition, since I believe the chaotic dysfunction element that has defined anarchy is actually describing nihilism) : Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

What anarchy embraces is the dissolution of the state, by releasing the overlord from all aspects of a person's life.  It is assumed that nihilism is not involved and as such the very act of anarchism requires that a person take personal responsibility and form social networks by choice which are supportive of responsible leadership/mutual aid in community.  This is how local government could look; that is: without the rigidity and oppression of having people in charge who are simply power hungry and self serving.  Unfortunately most people are thinking of nihilism when they hear the word anarchy, and as such it is less likely that creating a system based on social thinking in this regard can go under that title.  Many social institutions that we regularly take part in or associate with have anarchist foundations.  

As a social anarchist, myself, I tend to think that most of the policies outlined in this platform/manifesto tend to make sense, and many of the points in the platform could be enacted without altering the business model (structural capitalism) much, but the business model itself... it must take it's own course, in my thinking.   Altering the business model, without the business owners consent, is a pretty hard sell anywhere, and in the U.S., as I mentioned, I'd say that it's not really in the realm of possible without a civil war, and even then, it is very unlikely that the existing elite and the standing army that associates with it will loose that war over an armed militia with such aims as the overthrow of the business elite. 

Yikes.  That's a lot of writing.  Sorry.
1 day ago

I built this cabin from logs and am installing all the luxuries from my old camper....      ... shower ,stove ,toilet ,hot water ,and fridge, and furnace too .

  Considering that I had none of those things in my cabin where I lived like a king, I think you will do great.  Hardly roughing it.  Sounds' like smoothing it!  Great to get your own space sorted out nice and comfy.

Where about's in Canada, approximately, are you, Neal?

Thomas, that image, that i've seen you post before, always makes me smile.  :)
1 day ago