conversion.mavblog.ru/libs/hiwafexy/gdz-po-informatiki.html We know we are going somewhere; we just don't know where. Reaching any one destination is thus accidental, as far as we are concerned today. When you link that "accidental" dimension with the fact that heretofore only a god force has had the power to create a new form of life, then it is proper to anticipate that we modern humans will stumble into being accidental gods who have created the next level of consciousness. Even after comphumans surpass us in key areas of intelligence, we humans should never discount our ancient membership in the Animal Kingdom.
There is much joy to be found in our ancient animal existence. At the same time, primal impulses which are increasingly alienated from changing social reality create a dangerous existence. To preserve ourselves as individuals and as a modern species over the coming centuries, it will be necessary for us to take the next step up into philosophical honesty. The 20th century saw a revolution in technology. The 21st century will see a revolution in consciousness. When the history of the next century is written in the 22nd century those future historians will describe how the soft revolution in consciousness sparked by our comphumans provided spiritual glue for modern, protean society.
The 21st century should behold a renaissance of philosophy, with both humans and comphumans exploring together new dimensions of wisdom in ways never before accessible to serious thinkers. The adventure highlight of the 20th century was America's journey to the moon in The highlight of the 21st century could well be humanity's journey inward to discover our highest selves--mediated by our comphuman offspring--where we humans finally discover what it means to be "in the image of God.
Life in the late twentieth century is radically different from life in the late nineteenth century. Toward the end of the nineteenth century only a few of the marvels we take for granted today--such as the airplane, television, radio, nuclear weapons, space travel, computers, CD players, and cellular phones--existed even in the minds of visionaries. A few elements of the modern age were beginning to appear.
Automobiles were seen chugging along dirt roads, frightening horses and astonishing people. In the Wright brothers forever changed our relationship with terra firma, and set into motion an amazing series of aerial events that encompassed world wars, passenger travel in the skies, and finally the moon walk of just sixty-seven years after Orville and Wilbur first skimmed across the sands of Kitty Hawk. It is said that the past is alive as long as cultural scripts and memories from the past are alive in the minds and actions of today's people. There always is some vestige of the past in everyday culture.
However, a true break from the 19th century can only be seen in the mind set of the youngest citizens of technologically modern societies. It may be that we are becoming so comfortable with intelligent tools that we ignore our own heritage of millions of years of progressive evolution. For example, think about the dual aspect of television, where this marvelous door to the global electronic village also seduces millions of people into a zombie-like state. This century has seen an acceleration in the number of scientists and technicians devoted to the political proposition, "If it can be done, it should be done.
Star Wars fantasies became policies of the military-industrial complex, backed up with borrowed money. Now the times have changed to where cost issues are central to any policy decision. As long as scarcity consciousness was set aside by the instinct for communal preservation, cost was seldom an issue. At the end of the 20th century there is no longer an "evil empire" to fight, only an overpopulated and polluted biosphere that cries for more solutions than budgets can address.
I will later describe another path we modern people can follow as humans and machines blend their activities. This will be a path were we do not compromise our humanity when interacting with machines. Indeed, we will use machines to bring to flower our latent potential for intellectual growth and spiritual refinement. It is ironic that the very machine force with the power to degrade our animal instincts can also potentially link up with other aspects of our animal nature to help us flower as fully evolved members of the Kingdom of Consciousness.
The beginning of the 21st century will appear to those who have just left the 20th century to be very much as the beginning of the 20th century appeared to those leaving the 19th century. Most will see the future as an exaggerated projection of the present. At the beginning of the 20th century life was accelerating in pace, but still recognizable to those rooted in the past. The Victorian culture of the West was a comforting anchor.
Ancient relationships with horses, for example, allowed people to discount the impact of those odd automobiles, which were quaintly called horseless carriages. Their point of reference was the horse, not the automobile engine. Nobody thought of calling horse-and-buggy units "organic transportation. At the same time that technological advances were beginning to accelerate and integrate our societies there were some serious challenges to the established mentality and morality.
Darwin's Origin of Species seemed to challenge the Biblical story of creation. Because the evidence Darwin mustered was exotic and somewhat poetic, it was easy for those so inclined to dismiss his theories. At the beginning of the 20th century technological science was not yet dominant in everyday consciousness. Metaphysical traditions rooted in mythological history were held to be more real than the concrete reality of scientific experimentation.
In the ideological cauldron of the turn of the century metaphysics and physics were merged into dogmas that would later fuel two major world wars and a cold war. The total body count of superstition passing for wisdom would yield over million souls perishing in wars to end wars. The final irony of this insanity was revealed in the development of nuclear weapons--where technology and perverse politics threatened the extinction of all advanced life forms on this planet, including the makers of those weapons.
Only through mutually assured destruction M. Social and intellectual progress across the globe do not advance as smoothly as does technological progress. Today there are sophisticated and tolerant societies in advanced countries, and there are also very powerful, militaristic societies with medieval mind sets.
Some of these bigoted societies either have or will soon have nuclear weapons. It is easier to let an evil genie out of its bottle than to return it to the bottle. Underlying all this change is the simple fact that human minds and emotions all work the same, regardless of time or place. We are all members of one species, having triumphed over all large competitors. We are also the only member of our zoological genus. Apes we are, but apes of a quality that transcends differences we have with other primates. Nevertheless, we also share ancient traits with our simian cousins. When we consider that our human lineage and the lineage of the great apes split apart over ten million years ago, it only reinforces the fact that much of what is most general and personal within us is also most ancient.
Human nature is a mixture of rigidity and plasticity. The rigid and mechanical elements are located in the "primitive" brain: the brain stem, the cerebellum, the limbic system, etc. The conceptually plastic element is our cerebral cortex. Just as society is a mixture of tradition and change, so too the human psyche is a mixture of rigid and plastic. Whenever social change runs up against psychological rigidity there emerges a cultural encapsulation of that change for as long as possible.
The medieval reaction in Iran after can to some degree be seen as an attempt to culturally encapsulate secular and technological change. Majority Muslim societies in general attempt to harvest the fruits of fluid technology while keeping their rigid social fabric intact.
Such efforts are very costly in many dimensions, such as the rights of women, and they will fail as myth and math continue to diverge over the next decades. Culturally conservative spasms are somewhat analogous to strains the earth undergoes before earthquakes. Only after tectonic forces are adjusted can there be a new physical order.
Similarly, only after technological pressures are accommodated will a new social fabric emerge. At the end of this 20th century our human species finds itself in a much more precarious situation than ever before in history. Even during the height of the great plagues which broke apart European society the forces for change were less threatening to the species. I am not only referring to the AIDS epidemic which, bad as it is, cannot threaten the very existence of our species.
I am primarily referring to the continued proliferation of instruments of megadeath, and I am referring to the radical transformation of the Earth's atmosphere by our pollutants. None of these phenomena taken individually will cause global extinction. What is new about them is their combined global impact on thousands of societies. The stage has been set for global warming deep into the 21st century, which will see some countries winning, while most societies lose. We have to go back 12, years to find a similar period when humans have likewise traumatized their environment.
As the prehistoric tribes made their way into America they encountered magnificent megafauna, which they proceeded to slaughter with their hunting tools. Of all the great mammal species only the bison and musk oxen survived. Even the mighty saber tooth tigers died when their prey perished. Today's greatest tragedy is in the Amazonian rain forest, where hundreds of thousands of unknown, unnamed species vanish before the defoliators.
Population pressures inspired by perverse theologies and myopic policies are leading to a global catastrophe at least equal to the Great Extinction of 65 million years ago, when impacts from two asteroids ended the era of the dinosaurs. We are accomplishing today what it took an "act of God" to achieve in prehistory. In this dimension we have collectively become the worst sort of accidental god for our biosphere.
We are becoming Shiva, the god of destruction. What I find most philosophically challenging about all this drama is the sad fact that individual humans are hardly conscious of the global effects of their actions. We are collective mega-killers who explain away effects of our actions through appeals to personal expediency and wishful thinking. Does this look like a species that is ruled by reason and truth? Does this look like a species remotely receptive to philosophical reason and truth? The word philosophy literally means love philo of wisdom sophy , but not the achievement of final knowledge.
Therefore, anybody who claims to have achieved or directly accessed final wisdom cannot by definition be a philosopher. He is either God, or a fraud, or a fool. Zen Buddhism has a paradoxical statement which decrees: "If you see the Buddha, kill him. Since no man can know the absolute, anything claiming to be absolute wisdom is intellectually fraudulent. Also, since real life itself is ever emerging, to arbitrarily stop at one place in thought is to blind oneself to all future truths and possibilities.
As knowledge piles up on computer files and in libraries it is easy to automatically assume that such a society must by force of accumulation be wiser. However, quantitative knowledge and qualitative wisdom are very different categories. It is even possible that the unnecessary accumulation of data could obscure patterns that point us to wisdom. As knowledge becomes more detailed, keepers of knowledge become more specialized, each building defensive walls of words.
Such specialists are in danger of myopically learning more and more about less and less. Finally, as disciplines grow more esoteric the general population becomes alienated from everything except its popular escapist culture. At this intermediate phase of the machine age we have not yet learned how to fully master our own creations. We have become speed conscious, attracted to ever-faster computers. However, speed without wisdom is like an automobile traveling at miles per hour in the dark without headlights. Philosophy that retains its original spirit can bridge the growing gap between the micro-specialists and society at large.
Life cannot honestly be compartmentalized. There is nothing wrong with a sharply defined problem, just as long as the knife of analysis doesn't cut away the flesh, just the surplus fat. There is something wrong about any problem statement not properly connected to other versions of that problem. Atomized analysis leads to distorted conclusions stated with absurd precision. A bit less precision and a bit more truth is in order. Perhaps we need a thousand Socrates, or one comphuman. A technique I have used to visualize my self objectively is exstasy.
Even though this word is pronounced the same as ecstasy, it doesn't at first mean the same. Exstasy is a phenomenological concept of Edmund Husserl, and it was explained to me by a former sociology professor, Peter Berger. Through exstasy we can better see our subjective selves objectively.
When one performs exstasy one soon discovers and feels enlightened ecstasy. It is relatively easy to master advanced mathematics within a logical universe of fixed rules--but it is very difficult to master even the simplest equation for social interaction. Life alive is full of non-linear variables. Experiencing real life is attending a college from which we only graduate at death. It is one thing to experience life partially within the vision of others. It is quite different to directly experience life on its own terms, without the tunnel vision of prejudice.
Only when life and its potentialities are directly and honestly experienced can we claim to be authentic actors in our own drama. This is an experience so far denied to all computers, but not categorically impossible. All that is needed are the proper inputs and the internal ability to make sense of those sensations. Indian gurus speak of maya as being the illusion that our everyday world is the real world. They are speaking of the perceived world as habitual error from within which we cannot easily see our error.
As Edward R. Murrow put it, "The obscure we see eventually; the completely apparent takes longer. Imagine yourself transported to a seemingly magical "Hall of Truth. You are free to open any and all doors to discover what truths lie on the other side. Let us begin our treasure search.
For now, let's assume that there is no omnipotent deceiver to fool our visual perception. Each door will reveal some aspect of the absolute truth. Each door is plain and unmarked, so we cannot be sure in advance what is on the other side, even if there seems to be a pattern developing from a series of previously opened doors. After a while we start to feel that we have a stronger grasp on reality, as revealed by a series of doors which appear to give us regular patterns.
By this time it almost seems that the infinite number of doors left unopened doesn't matter. We may feel we have seen the pattern and can infer forever from what we have discovered. Our minds are full of data, all of which seems to correspond. We seem to have enough data to deduce and even to infer far beyond our accumulated information. But at what point do we know we have the right to say with conviction that we know enough? Is it at the first door; at one hundred doors; one thousand; or even one million doors?
After all, even a million divided by infinity is mathematically a zero percentage of the total possible number of doors along this infinite hallway! We may not have discovered even one percent of the truth with a million opened doors. On the other hand, we might have seen the critical patterns with only a dozen or so doors opened. How can we objectively verify either possibility? In this Hall of Truth we are haunted by the possibility that all the doors we first open may be coordinated by a deceiver to reveal just one small bay in the ocean of reality.
We could be seduced into erroneously concluding we have randomly seen enough of the whole--when in fact we have only been shown a non-random part. We could become seduced like the people who were convinced the Earth is flat and is at the center of the universe, because they had "plenty" of data to support that conclusion.
Even though by definition all the individual doors in this Hall are truthful, it does not necessarily follow that each door dispenses the same amount of truth, nor that all of the truths are hierarchical and organized to assist us toward a rapid understand of everything else. That first million doors could indeed occupy us with trivia masquerading as important data. We could become bewitched by our own trivial data, assuming that quantity is always equal to quality.
In this way individual truths could lead to false conclusions. The Hall of Truth extends beyond our vision--but because there is a visual convergence whereby the lines of the Hall's walls seem to converge at a point in the distance we like to feel there is an end to the madness. Feelings aside, no matter how far we advance down the Hall, that point of convergence recedes equally far away.
And the doors keep on coming, possibly forever. Kafka and Sartre would like this scenario! No normal person would initially welcome such potential frustration. On the other hand, every honest thinker would appreciate such an existential challenge, knowing the journey is just as valuable as the destination. Within this deceptively simple formula is the very essence of philosophy. Can we find the value of d? We may be able to find the value of c later, so all we have to do is busy ourselves with other matters until c is revealed.
But what happens if c can never be clearly known. Can we infer its value, so that the left side of the equation will be complete, and the right side thereby revealed? After all, there appears to be a linear pattern here. Yet is such a pattern assumption really justified by the "facts," such as they are? If there were some way we could leap to d's value, then we could in that way find the value of c.
However, if we cannot jump ahead, then we must continue to deal with the value of c, whatever it might be. The truth is, we can never know for sure what c is without outside information guiding us--and then we can never know that the outside information is itself reliable! Mathematically, the value of c could range anywhere from negative infinity to positive infinity, including zero. It could even be different values at different times, or different values as seen from different perspectives. Because c could be any value, then the value of d can also be anything from negative infinity to infinity, including zero.
Emotionally, this range can be hard to accept. Even if we knew the value of every algebraic symbol--except just one, such as c--we would still be no closer to understanding the right side of the equation here it's h than with our shorter formula above. It is not possible by brute force of accumulated facts to arrive at anything like transcendental wisdom, the elusive final answer. To think otherwise is to fall into "the number cruncher's fallacy. Even though we like to confuse the words "possibility" and "probability," they are not even remotely equivalent. The only linkage is that something not fully known must be possible in order to have some positive degree of probability.
The problem is that we don't even know if something is even possible, except as an ideal concept. If we are dealing with transcendent facts--facts dealing with phenomena such as the nature of God--we don't have any way within our finitude to measure the possibilities, and thus the probabilities.
I am hardly the first person to point out the futility of such a search for definitive truth. The ancient skeptics and, later, Hume and Kant were powerful proponents of the imperfect truth in this matter. However, they all failed in critical ways with their theological analysis, which we will examine later in this book. For now, let us continue to point out that proven, transcendent, objective facts are really all we are interested in when it comes to our personal fates, such as the possibility of life after death. Theoretical and tautological "facts" are fun, but ultimately worthless in solving the question of our personal transcendence.
The very concept of probability assumes a regularity of phenomena which may appear to be justified by recent observations of things inside our immediate world. Because we have experienced regularity in phenomena before, we infer that such will be the case for the future. Because we have learned to extrapolate, we have learned to state objective probabilities. In our everyday world as-if probability is a valid hypothetical procedure.
However, all honest bets are off when we are dealing with the transcendent world where we cannot grasp the boundaries of the knowable. Briefly, induction is starting from the specific and pointing toward the general. Deduction is the reverse process of starting from the general and finding the specific. Aristotelian deductive logic, of which the syllogism is the most prominent form, has been the foundation of Western philosophy for much of the Christian era.
As revered as Aristotle was, even his deductive approach to thought was flawed by the very fact that his major premises--from which the minor premises and conclusions followed--were themselves not deduced, but assumed! It has been assumed for over a thousand years that deduction was the "true" logic, and that induction was a loose, unwelcome cousin. Within the safe confines of a mathematical system we might speak of probabilities. All mathematical systems have the answers built into their rules, so it is possible to state the probability of any mathematical "event" occurring, if we know certain preconditions.
The real world is described by no known mathematical system, and reality is not so kind to mathematicians.
The best we can hope to achieve is a close approximation of reality. Yes, both mathematical worlds and the real world are closed, but they are of different categories. Mathematical worlds are all tautological, to where they prove in the end nothing more than to say that a cat is a cat. The real world is much more difficult to apprehend from our limited perspective, because we cannot conclusively know the rules by which the world ultimately plays.
We may imagine we have a solid grasp on what we have at hand, with very high predictability--but from a universal perspective it is just like knowing a x b x On the other hand, what right do we have to assume that we really know any element, even those which appear to our mind? All of this stark truth may seem quite cold and strange at first, and it doesn't rest well inside our emotional minds which crave order through predictability.
All life systems require established systems of feedback to survive in a changing environment. Our felt and learned knowledge of the universe is our most valuable compass, because it determines how we interrelate with other beings and other systems. If we are unable to feel comfortable about our ability to comprehend and deal with external phenomena, then novel thought can be a direct threat to the emotional body. That is why the Japanese proverb says that the nail that sticks up will be hammered down. Fortunately, we can proceed as if we know about the external world, since our everyday understanding is pragmatically workable.
From an everyday perspective it hardly matters if our working assumptions about Ultimate Reality are false. All that matters is having supper on time. Nobody would be so foolish as to propose starting construction of a real building from the second floor. Even the most rudimentary common sense mandates that everything have a solid foundation. Castles in the air are images poets conjure, we assert, not plans of practical people.
Nevertheless, "buildings in the air" are metaphorically erected when people start with a package of religious beliefs that are unchallenged by honest, critical analysis. Starting with unfounded positions, entire theologies are erected. Believers are so swept up in the details of daily devotions that they forget to check for the missing first floor. Enthusiasm is psychologically protected by the unverifiability of their beliefs.
Most interesting is the self-deluded nature of sincere people who imagine they are being precisely logical with their total embrace of any religious text, such as the Bible or the Koran. They start from the assumed premise that their chosen work is the word of God. Given that assumed premise, they are within their psychological but not logical rights to demand a literal acceptance of their chosen holy book. Assumption is the narcotic of fundamentalism. Religious architecture begins with an act of belief, a journey from the unknown to the falsely known.
Blind faith must substitute for independently verifiable facts as the first floor of every religious ideology. From the alpha point of extreme ontological uncertainty the human mind cleverly deludes itself into thinking that whatever facts follow must be exactly and literally true forever. Thus is truth sacrificed to peace of mind through orthodoxy. The issue of authorship of this or that holy book begs the real question. Whereas it may be helpful to clear up authorship of various books of the Bible , it would be vastly more valuable to establish the validity of what was written in the first place.
Of course, any such truth could never be established due to the insuperable problem of finitude trying to embrace infinitude. Such scruples never slowed down a true believer. I love the intensity of a good fanatic. You might say I am a "fan" of their fanaticism, because it is viscerally felt. Too much of the modern world is alienated from the life force itself. We have become passive and plastic adjuncts to our consumption machines. On the other hand, fanaticism has the nasty habit of dueling with other brands of fanaticism.
The virtue of private enthusiasm too often becomes the vice of religious bigotry. A quick look at the Middle East settles that point. What we have there is human drama illustrating a basic law of "religious physics": No two fanatical religious bodies can occupy the same place at the same time. No two religious packages of bulletproof, waterproof, fireproof ideology can occupy the heart and soul of one person at the same time.
Each codified religion must categorically exclude all competing world views. Each believer must feel deeply that the one package embraced contains all the essential answers and provides all the correct keys to Heaven. Anything less opens the door to dreaded liberal relativity, which is the first floor. That missing first floor is the domain of philosophical honesty. All levels above are the domain of religious speculation. That missing first floor may not initially seem very important when we think about all the business going on inside the many floors above that missing first floor.
If we endlessly live our lives within such a spirit castle in the sky we may never discover that our building has no first floor. It is only when we are pushed outside our cozy ideological building that rude reality arrives. Viewed from the outside assuming we can get down to the ground , our castle in the air looks incredibly odd. What was blissfully secure becomes absurd. We have stepped outside our closed consciousness, and can look back at our former selves inside that air castle from an ex-static perspective.
Of such is wisdom made. Some anti-intellectuals would argue that it is our fault for mentally going outside in the first place. But isn't death the ultimate eviction from that cozy castle? We all must vacate the premises. What we find outside may not be anything like what we imagined it would be. If we are indeed created in the image of God, then we need to exercise our highest faculties, not just our primitive denial mode, to prepare ourselves for the transition outward.
We owe this to ourselves, to our highest selves. We are mere tenants in that building in the sky. We don't know the landlord. When it comes time to receive our eviction notice what will we do and think? With what decorum will we leave? Where will we go, or will we simply perish outside? Some would say it doesn't really matter--and such hedonistic, positivistic arguments cannot easily be refuted--but such positivistic escapism diminishes our highest mental and existential potentialities.
My high school Latin teacher was affectionately known by our class as Caesar's grandmother. She liked to tell her classes that you cannot erect a tall building on sand, even though a squat building could be raised there. One needs to pay attention to the foundation, she said, because a tall building will collapse if the support is weak.
She never talked to us about castles in the air. That gothic concept was too weird for this classical lady. If Caesar's grandmother had taught today's religion writers I doubt that so much foolishness passing itself off as religious wisdom would have been written. Speculative thought structures are inhabited by minds that fail to consider the mystical maya they have embraced. One day the false security they have embraced could vanish, revealing the absurdity of their situation. An example of this phenomenon is the sharp shock the Japanese nation experienced at the end of World War II when their Emperor Hirohito announced on the radio that he was not a god.
Dramatic paradigm shifts are quite rare. More common is the gradual erosion of the old structural paradigms, so that eventually they collapse without any inhabitants, because the old tenants have already left to inhabit other air castles. Few architects would recommend building anything on sand. Nevertheless, given a choice of building on sand, or building in the air without a first floor, all architects would recommend building on sand.
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So, sand it is, because we can never build our knowledge structures on the bedrock of absolute knowledge. We must build on the sands of relative hypotheses. Sand at least allows us to start building as if we had a good foundation. After all, sand is much more solid than air. In practice most of the inhabitants of sand castles blindly believe they live in structures built on bedrock. They imagine that what they think now is what has and will always be. But are they necessarily so wrong? What is the immediate difference between building on sand and building on bedrock?
And are mental structures all that different from physical structures? When it comes to mental and theological edifices there is no essential difference. Even bedrock can crack during an earthquake. All surface features will be rearranged over time with shifts in the Earth's crustal plates and other natural forces. We likewise cannot know on what we are ultimately building our thoughts.
So a good strategy is to construct our thoughts carefully and to avoid building ambitious structures which soar into the skies as if they were another Tower of Babel. The only honest type of thought structure is one where the "builder" knows he might be building his thought system on sand, even though things initially appear solid. The builder also knows that unforeseen dangers may later compromise the superstructure independent of its foundation.
An honest builder tries to build for the ages, but realizes that all of mankind's edifices are doomed to eventual destruction. Therefore, the honest builder tries to build low structures which are flexible and adaptable to the earthquakes of events and new knowledge. Such are builders of successful scientific and philosophical hypotheses. There is a story falsely attributed to the 14th century thinker, John Buridan, that describes the dilemma of an ass who is simultaneously presented with two equally appealing bales of hay.
The unfortunate ass starves from indecision. The human mind cleverly works around this asinine problem. Instead of starving from an approach-approach dilemma, we simply deny the dilemma itself. We also perform similar "brain surgery" on our dissonant thoughts when faced with avoidance-avoidance dilemmas. We transform problems of equal, but opposing, tensions by redefining those problems so that they no longer are problems on their own.
Philosophers are themselves presented with the ass's dilemma. Often two or more equally appealing theories vie for the same truth space. We can retreat to Occam's Razor--which states that given two or more scientific explanations, each of which can equally well explain a phenomenon, we should choose the simplest, most elegant. However, even the principle of elegance is an example of induction. Occam's Razor usually works, but there is no proof that it must always work, especially when dealing with metaphysical problems. The momentum of living impels us to one choice or another. It is in the self-creating moment of conscious choice that we are most alive.
If everything were predetermined, then fate would negate the drama of every choice. We would be unconscious automatons, even while we imagined ourselves to be autonomous. Logically, it is not possible to prove that all of our actions are not other-directed, which would deny our fundamental freedom of conscious choice. Still, we move forward in the spirit of William James' "will to believe," where in the absence of decisive evidence to the contrary the mind creates belief in order to act.
Because we believe we are free to act we act freely, even if we are ultimately controlled by fate. Never mind! The moment becomes free, even if the ultimate pattern is controlled. The Latin root for our modern word, absurd is absurdus, which means dissonant. Anything that is radically dissonant is manifestly at odds with our tidy view of reality and is labeled as absurd by defenders of the intellectual status quo.
In a way it is just as seditious as Descartes' formal attack on Scholastic tradition--except that Descartes never left his mother ideology, but cleverly used his "attack" to support the very ideology that he attacked! For his betrayal of philosophy the Jesuits are forever grateful. If in the process of looking for truths associated with any observation we stumble along strange paths, so be it. It is better to cut a correct path than it is to be the last person to use an over-traveled highway of error.
Truth is a virus in the old bodies of archaic theories. Only strong theories can survived the attack of truth. Out of this primal struggle emerges stronger theories, with old errors joining history. How can radical doubt coexist with anything that appears like a structure of knowledge?
The ancient skeptics, such as Sextus Empiricus in his Pyrrhonic Sketches , argued that it was not necessary to have absolute knowledge to behave sensibly. Sextus Empiricus asked only for reasonable assurance, for a reasonable probability that our senses are good guides. The early skeptics were seekers of truth who were at peace with themselves, because they understood and accepted their human limitations within the great universe.
These early skeptics were also self-deceived, because there can be no degree of probability established with any of our senses. David Hume clearly understood this dilemma. We are reduced to deductive a priori reasoning from inductive a posteriori assumptions! Where to turn? We must go back to Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum" formula. Even though it is flawed logically, it does help us focus on the task at hand. Our task is to identify to the degree possible just what it is that thinks.
Furthermore, we must deal with the simple fact that even if our world of perception is manipulated by an omnipotent deceiver, the brute fact of such manipulation would indicate that there is some sort of highly sophisticated mechanism "out there" doing the deceiving. This one fact is a very significant finding, and quite unlike what Descartes thought he had discovered.
At the very least, the existence even of vivid dreams is evidence of a high degree of order somewhere, somehow. This fact is perversely assuring. Even if we are ourselves totally deluded about the specific objects of our perception, and even if our mathematical models are all tautologies which cannot even prove themselves true on their own terms as shown by Godel , it does not follow that all is lost in the search for truth. We can adopt the skeptics' idea of "probability," even while this type of probability is illusory and not the same as mathematical probability.
It is a heuristic probability that helps us escape the dilemma of Buridan's ass. It is a weak foothold on a very slippery slope upward toward as much truth as we can find. Better to have that weak foothold than total bewilderment, cynicism, and private defeatism.
At least we can proceed as if we know something. We can pile up data of potentially dubious value, organizing it into plausible piles--and then we hypothesize that our accumulations mean something from a universal perspective. This is all we can do honestly. At the very moment we go beyond this basic level of truth, thinking we have finally found absolute truth, we have seen the Buddha.
The alternative to the dawn of wisdom is self-banishment into the perpetual midnight of dogmatism. It is better to be a wise fool than to be foolishly "wise. Despite all the previous talk about intellectual progress having been built on the scientific principle of building from hypothesis to hypothesis, this path is emphatically not how most social progress occurs. In the social realm people move from illusory certainty to illusory certainty, with only brief moments of doubt to make the transition from one reality paradigm to another.
The action of neurons is roughly analogous to how our social conceptual systems work. Nerves are either at rest, or they are firing. There is no "doubt" among neurons. Communication is mediated by specific neurotransmitter chemicals, of which several dozen have already been isolated. These chemicals initiate the electrical process, but are not by themselves electrical. These chemicals are somewhat analogous to doubt, since doubting mediates communication. Of course, communication at the level of individual nerves is much simpler than whole brains dealing with ideas.
Similarly, single thoughts are less complex than their cultural contexts. Even household electricity can be thought of in systemic terms as like a neurological phenomenon. Even though the scale of commercial electricity is vast--with power houses, transmission lines, etc. Both neurological and commercial electrical systems are basically systems of certainty, with switches of "doubt" at nodal points. There is doubt because there is uncertainty as to when or if a message will be carried across a node at any given time.
We should not carry this electrical "doubt" analogy too far, because in practice such nodal "doubt" is subsumed to the overall system operation. In practice aggregate output is determined by aggregate input. Philosophical and theological systems function similarly to these two types of electrical communication. Briefly, human thought systems are systems of communication which proceed from start to finish along well established pathways, with each individual neuron mediating the previous message and passing it on to the next in line.
If all three systems were dominated by random neurotransmitter chemicals, or by random electrical switches, or by prevailing doubt--all three systems of communication could deteriorate into atomized chaos. Clearly it is dysfunctional for there to be too much doubt. On the other hand, a proper degree of controlled doubt is functional and allows for diversity and growth. Thought systems are world-view packages which facilitate human interaction. They can be compared to user software in a computer, whereby different users can both use the software alone or share their calculations via modems with other users having the same software.
Socially, doubt best functions as a spice in the stew pot of ideas.
Different spices lead to different stews, even if every other ingredient remains the same. Another analogy is to say that doubt is like a puzzling element within a game that otherwise has clear rules. Doubt is the game within the game, leading to the question, "Who rules the rules? Because doubt is so potentially destructive, though admittedly vital, we have a profound ambivalence toward it. We need it, but fundamentally fear it. So we attempt with mind games to deny doubt its domain. Society also attempts to limit doubt by limiting the doubters.
Even Plato would ban philosophers from his utopian republic, because philosophers ask disturbing questions. Philosophical truth is not a popularity contest. Philosophical truth is independent of any one philosopher, or of any other human or comphuman. Truth is there to be discovered by man or by machine. All the philosopher does is attempt to follow as far as possible the scent to its source. There can, despite all our best efforts, be no absolute knowledge held by finite observers of infinite reality.
Even if we accidentally do observe aspects of The reality, no observer can independently verify such an observation. What is lesser cannot embrace what is greater. In other words, we cannot look at the outside from inside. This last point is the essence of Kurt Godel's great discovery about mathematical systems--and it can apply equally to any other formal system, including our finite lives.
Our primitive brains are hardwired into repetitive patterns laid down over millions of years of successful evolution. Environmental novelty is a phenomenon which is accommodated nicely within the cerebral cortex, and then must be integrated into one's survival habits as required. Philosophical novelty, in contrast, has uncontrolled implications. The survivalistic brain deals with philosophical doubt that intrudes on the order of everyday life through primitive defense mechanisms. What works to promote survival on an everyday basis fails miserably on a philosophical basis within an infinite time perspective.
What "works" now is not necessarily equal to what is ultimately true. Expedient functionality is not equivalent to philosophical honesty. On the other hand, social honesty is quite functional, as it tends to glue together people through a shared social contract. Everyday thought never doubts itself unless forced to doubt, which means it is challenged by external events such as the advent of comphuman intelligence.
Comphuman intelligence is the only possible threat to our species chauvinism, outside of a visitation of higher intelligence from outer space. Individual human writers are simply ignored when they talk about philosophical honesty. Comphumans, on the other hand, will be listened to with the respect and deference we would give to UFOs--only because humans cannot embrace and suffocate their mental powers. This is awe of authority, not love of wisdom. Still, this receptivity is much better than perpetual ignorance.
The path to wisdom is seldom seen in advance. Moving toward that elementary point of honest freedom leads first to increasing fear--so much so that no philosopher to date has fully made the transition from old consciousness to the clear consciousness of philosophical honesty. Fear of truth is not a crime, or even a weakness of human thought. It just reflects our being hardwired for certainty in a world of uncertainty. When an individual human simply admits that his comfortable world view is just a hypothetical universe that appears to work, at that very moment this human is liberated from prejudice and fear.
This is the authentic process of being "born again" through Zen satori. At this moment we achieve what is called "beginner's mind. The evolution of our species from advanced apes to citizens of the universe will require a humble acceptance of the loss of ontological certainty. For us it will be almost as if we were to die and be born again into the light of clear, immediate awareness.
This is a very Zen concept which goes beyond Zen religious practice. When a Zen master asks his disciple what is the sound of one hand clapping, he is not really looking for an answer to his specific puzzle, known as a koan. Rather, the master is attempting to force upon the student the shocking realization that there can be no correct answer, only a correct attitude toward the real mysteries of life. A profound simplicity emerges: Even though we never can know if we know the proper truth, we can always have the proper attitude toward truth, wherever and however it may be.
It is from this honest attitude, not from accumulated "facts," that we can realize our highest being in the image of God. Even though the student begins with a master, every student must ultimately become his or her own master. True knowledge is a direct experience, not a gift. Penetrating the veil of fear and emerging beyond into a higher level of consciousness is the goal. Our reward is satori, which is enlightenment. It is not the possession of correct ideas, but a correct attitude, that enlightens. In other words: We realize our essence through our authentic existence.
In contradiction to some theological teachings, our full essence does not necessarily precede our contingent existence. Portions of our essence, such as our genetic heritage, do indeed precede our contingent existence--but the full bloom of our essence is only realized through the authentic unfolding of our existential life. Subjective life we can fully live, but never objectively know, thanks to Kurt Godel.
My analysis of possibility and probability yielded a profound truth which can only be felt as the sublime absurd. I followed this basic understanding to Descartes' omnipotent deceiver and to Pascal's wager; then to the mathematical insights of Russell, Godel and others. What emerged was a new theology that I call the Theology of Hope. My interest in comphuman evolution is not defined by slavish admiration of the forthcoming technological achievements of such comphumans.
Actually, my "hidden agenda" is to reveal us humans in light of our new creations--so that we humans can better refine and actualize what it means to be fully human. Ultimately all thinking beings must confront both the "middle" and the "edges" of knowledge about everything relevant.
We can live comfortably in the middle of our life paradigms, but we must also be aware of the edges. To dismiss the edges is to be intellectually dishonest. Without intellectual honesty we are in the middle of nowhere. In the long run it is better to honestly search for truth than it is to be dishonestly sure, and thus permanently lost within illusions of our own making.
Life is a journey, not a destination. The only destination we ever will reach is our final resting place, which is the negation of life. The essence of living is motion and change, hopefully for the better. Even a life of misery is preferable to the infinite silence of death. The best life is one which celebrates the potential for humankind to flower into creativity and song. With the proper attitude even mundane tasks can be experienced as celebrations of life itself. Life is both a mechanical process and a growth in creative consciousness: the more consciousness, the more life. Process without consciousness is robotic.
Consciousness without process is detached fantasy with less substance than a passing cloud. The best life is not always the longest-lived life. Indeed, one brief moment of heroism is greater than years of watching soap operas on TV. A teenager who dies heroically for another human in danger has lived a far better life than a greedy geezer who has comfortably celebrated his 90th birthday.
An old saying reminds us that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Love is the bottom line. We must love ourselves by trusting our authentic selves, before we can love other selves. We live life as we love life. Once we get close to life we see the joke in everything.
This is a strange truth taught by Indian mystics. We Occidentals like to think of jokes as irrelevant to what is truly essential; but the exact opposite is true. The sign of enlightenment for many traditions of meditation is laughter. When we apprehend the suchness of infinite reality we are so shocked by its brilliance before our mortal minds that we laugh.
What had been so alien has now directly merged with our minds. We laugh from relief, and from a sense of the hidden revealed. Life can be like a comedian's joke, where the unexpected intrudes into an otherwise normal narrative, such that the whole picture is made absurd. Absurd things have no immediately obvious meaning. One who experiences the absurd feels like a person experiencing a strong earthquake, where the ground itself shakes. This outrageous public behavior was consciously designed to shock us.
He was mocking such materialistic splendor itself, showing that wealth has only limited value in a timeless universe. Jokes are important for human homeostasis. We have a natural tendency to feel too self-important. The ego wants to be lord over all it surveys, and it tends to imagine what it surveys is all there is to survey. Jokes serve to put everyday reality into a proper perspective, and thus to tame the excesses of our egos. Once we realize that we can never conquer, we are released from the felt need to dominate our world. We relax and experience life on its own terms.
Much experience is of a pre-conscious nature. For example, the body is not usually experienced consciously for what it is. Chief among these internal systems are the lymphatic system, the blood system, the nervous system, the digestive system, and the endocrine system. When any one system gets clogged the whole body suffers, because the system of systems is itself a whole, functioning unit.
For example, when the digestive system becomes constipated the entire body suffers from the circulating toxins. Naturopathic medicine generally looks for blockages and works to free them so that the body can heal itself with its ancient powers of recuperation. Just as the physical body is a flowing system of systems, so too the "mental body" is a dynamic participant in the whole which is a human being within society. Because the environment is full of potential dangers it is imperative that the mind be flexible and alert.
Classical rigidity has a poor track record of survival. Only those organisms that have found nice niches have been able to avoid mutations for survival. The same holds true for thought systems. Only in the past were societies so traditional that ideas could afford to stagnate. Modern life has done away with niches.
Read on! We can flail away after next Tuesday. This is the time to type the obvious: No matter how bad the Democrats are, the Republicans are worse, far worse. If the GOP gains…. As thousands of demonstrators marched in European capitals on Wednesday to protest recent austerity measures, officials in Brussels proposed stiffening sanctions for governments that fail to cut their budget deficits and debt swiftly enough.
The ranks of the working-age poor in the United States climbed to the highest level since the s as the recession threw millions of people out of work last year, leaving one in seven Americans in poverty. The overall poverty rate climbed to I have a hunch that readers thought I was joking when I wrote about growing tree seedlings in roof gutters.
The picture above proves that it works. Yeats On Friday, the government moved to seize and temporarily shutter one of the truly heroic banking institutions of this dismal era for American finance — ShoreBank of Chicago. Over the years,…. The Bureau of Labor Statistics rate is 9. The BLS jobless rate U6 is Robert Kuttner delivers the latter in his….
Simple and concise. In this article, MSN chronicles the most egregious offenses committed in the name of Mammon, with…. The Slow Money philosophy states that, with billions of dollars zipping around the globe in the form of opaque packaged derivatives and other fantastical Wall Street inventions, money has gotten too fast. Greed has created a system that rewards….
Had they been allowed to fail, the banks would have dragged us into Great Depression II. How did Goldman Sachs end up posting the largest quarterly profit in its year history and paying out a record amount for employee bonuses this year—after receiving a massive taxpayer-funded bailout last year?
Booms and busts have been happening for hundreds…. Nice to get a little love from an organization we deeply respect. The Hrens have learned the hard way, and pass on their experiences, from their first attempt in a cob house…. Weak government oversight caused by an unshakeable faith in the free market to correct itself, along with greed and outright…. Hey, Chelsea Green Fans—great news! From TreeHugger: So the staff at TreeHugger put their heads together to do one mighty feat: Select the best of the best, the greenest of the green, in….
Sometimes we must lose ourselves in order to find our way. I live in a small…. Courtesy of our friends at Inhabitat. Flexible plants, such as ficus, are grown around a lattice structure and molded into powerful, natural even edible shapes, like arches, creating a framework around which mossy green walls are grown. Gone are the energy-intensive chainsaws, sawmills, and trucks. Gone are…. Jessica Williamson, quick cuts, and groovy graphics helpfully illustrate Alaska senator and V. But before we get to that, Christmas is just around the…. Lying in bed this morning listening to the national and local news: central banks around the world are shoveling hundreds of billions of dollars as fast as they can at the various financial corporations tottering on the brink of catastrophe; and meanwhile, in little ole Vermont, our Congressional delegation is working hard to get a….
Connecting the policies to the collapse is obvious. The Obama campaign has just been pitched…. This is part two of that interview. That is just…. Like any business man, he wanted to shake…. Thanks Tomm! Small farms, she argues, produce more food per acre than large-scale farming complexes. He lead with the following fact from…. Nicely done, Simran! Mostly under the public radar screen, there…. Cathy Resmer, house blogger at 7Days, was in our offices a few days ago to write a regular print article on Chelsea Green linked in the post below.
Anyway…Frances writes in the Huffington Post about some useful alternative language frames that can help empower progressive ideas. Akiva Silver owns and operates Twisted Tree Farm, a homestead, nut orchard, and nursery located in Spencer, New York, where he grows around 20, trees per year using practices that go beyond organic. His background is in foraging, wilderness survival, and primitive skills. He has been observing nature intensively for the last 20 years, cultivating…. Sleep seems to be the thing that escapes most of us. Continuously practicing to be the best is an unhealthy myth that drives many athletes.
Studies recently conducted are reporting that the best way improve athletic…. Tourism, infrastructure, electricity. What do all these have in common? We like to think of global warming as ocean temperatures rising and more carbon dioxide in the air. Our changing climate is at the root of many large issues, though the connection might have been…. Not all invasive plants are necessary to get rid of. Garlic Mustard has been consumed for hundreds of years and has great nutritional value. Almost the entire plant can be used to promote a healthy body-leaves, seeds, and roots!
Also, the garlic-flavor is a perfect addition to any recipe that calls for mustard. The following…. Making cider seems like a lot of work and it is but it makes itself more than you may know. With the addition of yeast, the apple juice ferments into cider after a few days. Andy Brennan, cider-enthusiast, advises to trust this process and not to interfere. Leaving nature to do its work yields a…. At the same time, the pair were hoping to each find their own Eve for this special garden adventure.
They succeeded on both fronts—creating an urban, food-producing oasis on a tenth of an acre, and…. In the face of global threats like climate instability, food insecurity, and water pollution, scientists are looking to how we use our agricultural land for solutions. One such group of scientist-farmers in Minnesota have collectively spent nearly three decades developing what could be the new ecological crop of the future: hybrid hazelnuts.
The following is an…. Much less often, do we think about the people who dedicate their lives to planting and caring for these tress. The first important step…. Environmental concerns are entering the world of politics and business. Our quality of life will not be the same five years or ten years in the future; we are nearing the point of having to think about simply surviving…. Water is always changing and impacting the environment around it; storms form, droughts occur, and floods damage.
It seems that the level of water on Earth is bouncing between extremes. These shifts are tied to the state of our climate. Fig trees hold more importance in the world than simply producing fruit. They have an extensive background that weaves its way through several different cultures and insect life cycles. Though fig trees have ties to much of our identity, you might be wondering what exactly these trees are and what they do. We have the…. We complied 12 books to get you going from farmland to global warming to economics.
If you want to initiate change, the best way is to learn as much about the issues impacting Earth as possible and start conversations…. The environment can only take so much gas emission, over farming, and plastic. What can you do to minimize your human footprint and take care…. Farmers have a close relationship with nature, seeing life cycles happen right in front of their eyes marvel in what the earth can produce.
Appreciating the natural world, giving what it needs in order to flourish and providing the essentials to survive is an important process. The American chestnut may well be the greatest and most useful forest tree to ever grow on this Earth. Its decline is considered by many ecologists to be one of the greatest ecological disasters to strike the US since European contact. And are we on track to bring back this…. More than 80 percent of the US population now resides in urban areas. This number is projected to rise in the next few decades.
Finding ways to maximize use of existing open space is imperative, and increasing access to food through sustainable management of edible landscaping is one important approach among many that are underway. In order to rescue ourselves from climate catastrophe, we need to radically alter how humans live on Earth. We have to go from spending carbon to banking it. The indigenous custom of…. Peasants, indigenous agriculturalists, and old-time American farming families farmed first and foremost to feed their own families and those in need in their communities—only secondarily, if at all, for a market.
In fact, there are several companies that have ventured…. The lure of sweetness calls from the maple trees and we begin daydreaming about all of the wonderous treats…. Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally celebrated nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity.
He holds the W. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, where he works with students, faculty, and non-profits to build a more just,…. Building and living on your land takes at least one partner, if not several. Keeping up with a garden can be a lot of work—especially when you start planning for the upcoming season.
Perennials are the perfect addition to any garden and the best part is you only have…. The following is an excerpt from…. Growing food indoors or in an urban setting can be quite a challenge. You need to find the right kinds of plants, purchase or build tools, and make sure you have lots of time and patience. The trees are bare and the ground is cold, hard, and forbidding in New England. There are plenty of hardy plant breeds that will grow in winter, or you can do something a little more fun and…. Massive Small is a framework for urban development that can make cities more sustainable and resilient.
But how does it work and does it make sense for the future? It has been adapted for the web. The Massive Small…. We opened our first international office in London, England, launched a brand new website, published a ton of amazing books, welcomed new Grasshoppers to the team, and so much more! Grab a cuppa, settle in, and join us as we look back on what a great…. One of the most rewarding parts of our job is working with an amazing roster of authors who are not only leaders in their fields but also passionate about spreading their knowledge to the world.
So, when those authors are featured in the news talking about their books, sharing wisdom and insight, and getting people…. As the trees lose their leaves and autumn slowly turns to winter, those first inklings of true cold can be daunting. What better way to stay warm and positive than a festive gathering centered around good food and drink? Regardless of how you got here, we can help!
From the enlightening and thought-provoking to the quirky and fun, we, the Chelsea…. Struggling to find the perfect gift for the foodie in your life? Our wide range of food and drink books will give you plenty of options to choose from! Are you scrambling to find the perfect gift for the gardener on your list? How about a new book featuring insight from our expert roster of authors? For centuries, humans have been migrating in search of better land, opportunities, and quality of life. For some, those migrations were voluntary while others were forced to move due to far more sinister circumstances.
The Great Migration is one such case. What if farms and food production were integrated into every aspect of urban living—from special assessments to create new farms and food businesses to teaching people how to grow fruits and vegetables so farmers can focus on staple crops. Urban farming is a story of recovery, of land and food, of people, and of the…. Humans are extremely resilient beings. We have the capability to create wondrous things out of seemingly nothing and continuously reinvent ourselves.
However, when the world is against us, it may seem impossible to accomplish our goals. Leah Penniman, co-founder of Soul Fire Farm, wanted nothing more than to be able to provide nourishing food for…. As the last of the leaves fall from the trees, the time has come for countless hours of raking and hauling before the first snowflake falls. Crisp air? Vibrant foliage? Double check.
As we tuck into our first warm apple pie of the season, we thought it would be a good time to reflect on this quintessential staple of the American diet. In the age of industrial food production, how…. But boy, you should be! Almost every ingredient in this nature-infused Northeastern Kvass…. Hundreds of years of growing crops and infusing the soil with chemicals have depleted the dirt of the essential nutrients needed to….
One thing you can count on this time of year is an abundance of acorns underfoot. But if you think that your friendly neighborhood squirrels are the only ones who care about the bounty at our feet — think again! These fruits from the oak tree are not only completely edible they are also a…. Here in the Northeast, October signifies the true start of fall. Fall means apples: Walking through orchards picking apples, finding wild apple trees, and best of all … eating apples!
Four-season farmer Eliot Coleman strikes again with inspiration for all you cold-loving farmers out there! A master of extending the growing season, Eliot explains his strategies for successful winter harvesting and greenhouse design. Handley confronts the common misconceptions about vaccines and empowers parents to be…. If you happen to get…. While the passing of the law helped to improve conditions, standards, and relations there was still work to….
Huckleberries are a true prize for fruit foragers. Trust us. Iconoclastic food writer, forager, and force of nature Patience Gray always found the good in the simple. With the ingenuity to help with things like water conservation, flood damage, and wildfires beavers are one of the few species capable of cleaning up after the ecological destruction caused by humans. Keep reading to learn more about some of the pioneers of the food forest movement.
Think back to science class… remember those lessons on photosynthesis? Perhaps if we realized that simple biochemistry could turn barley into brews, we would have paid better attention. Our love affair with amaranth began long before the pseudo-grain became a trendy staple for gluten-free folk.
The luscious leaves of this annual plant are not only packed with a plethora of health benefits — high levels of protein and calcium, aids in digestion and weight loss, and helps improve vision, to name a few! For Chuck Collins, privilege and wealth were birthrights: As the great-grandson of hot dog-royalty Oscar Mayer, he would inherit part of the family fortune as a trust fund. While most people would have viewed this as a blessing, Collins simply felt a profound sense of guilt. Having become aware of inequality at a young age,…. Bir, a seasoned chef, gardener, and forager, primes readers on foraging basics, demonstrates gathering and preservation techniques, and shares nearly….
Unless of course you foraged for the berries for said wine, crushed them by hand, added in some sugar, water, and citric acid, bottled it up, and waited six months before you…. Have you ever wondered why beavers build dams the way they do? Believe it or not, there is actually a method to the madness. Similar to the motives behind why humans manipulate the environment the way they do, beavers employ a strategic plan when building their dams.
Sure, visiting an orchard to pick apples is fun but foraging for crab apples in your neighborhood is even better! The integrated system, which combines aspects of forestry, animal husbandry, grazing, and ecology, offers both the promise of land regeneration and economic livelihood. In order to succeed, however, you need to understand a key component of the system: the art of grazing.
While it may seem…. There are two schools of thought on the best approach to building a community food forest: agroforestry or permaculture. The former offers a science-based approach while the latter incorporates elements of social design. Both work…. The recent rise of community food forests and similar projects have come at an imperative time. Not only can food forests provide a local source of food they can also serve…. Since the dawn of humanity, people have enjoyed a deep relationship with yeasts.
You may not realize it, but yeast spores are present everywhere. And, perhaps more importantly, yeast is a key ingredient used in making alcoholic drinks. Nature does what needs to be done if we let her. Many people will step up to the task once provided with accurate facts and inspired by possibility.
It really comes down to two simple concepts to take forward. One: Promote healthy plant metabolism as the guiding paradigm in growing anything. And two: Think and…. You ever think about how important fig trees are to ecosystems all over the world? The complex nature of these trees and their interdependence with their surroundings is beyond fascinating. Mulberries have a special power of unlocking memories. Did you pick them as a kid? Picking them now will send you right back to your childhood.
Even Teddy Roosevelt learned that when on a hunting trip to beaverless badlands turned out disappointing. This experience was enough to turn him from naturalist to conservationist. Like any business, even small-scale farmers need to consider their income and expenses. A better….
Hyperlocal brewing, making concoctions only out of the ingredients available in your immediate environment, is a fun way to become more familiar with your surroundings and the possibilities within them. Interested in getting started with silvopasture? Consider purchasing a flock of poultry, which add plenty of value to your managed ecosystem pest control, soil turnover, etc.
You will have to decide, though, which type of poultry will work best with your particular ecosystem: chickens,…. In the United States, an average of 35 percent of home waste and 60 percent of business waste is suitable for use as a mushroom growing substrate. Mushrooms can be grown on toilet and paper towel rolls, egg cartons, newspapers, magazines, coffee grounds, tea bags, old cotton clothing, tissue boxes, shredded paper, cardboard boxes, and more. Have you heard of silvopasture? They must not have realized the benefits of silvopasture: healthier animals, better soil, less pest control and mowing, and climate….
Their colorful, courageous, and ultimately savvy campaign is being heralded around the world as a landmark effort in…. Do raspberries flood your thoughts with sweet memories of freedom like they do for Sara Bir? If you want to get out and forage some to unlock those memories, she has got all of the tips and tricks in the excerpt below. There are also two recipes at the end one for dinner and one…. But foraging for mushrooms should never be thought of as a game of chance. You need to know all the clues when it comes to identifying….
We all need to give lemons some more credit because they are truly one of the most versatile fruits. Think of how many foods and drinks you can incorporate lemons into. If you live somewhere warm and sunny year round, you better get outside and start looking for some lemon trees we recommend Meyer lemons! She knows just how sneaky goats can be, so take her advice when considering the various options for fencing to keep your goats happy…. This can be a tricky task, as goats can scare easily and high levels of stress are not good for their health or productivity. Take some advice from author and goat whisperer, Gianaclis Caldwell, who has a handful….
Want to know how to treat burns, bites, stings, wounds, or trauma with herbs? Look no further. There are a number of herbs and herbal treatments that can help reduce the discomfort and aid skin…. Did you know that our collective future could well pivot on people coming to understand that soil fungi matter? Fungi have intricate lives, behaviors, and uses most people are unaware of.
The crucial, symbiotic role…. Goats have provided humankind with essential products for centuries. They bear the noble distinction of being the first domesticated farm animal. Managing goats successfully requires an understanding…. Composting is more than a way to minimize waste and supplement your garden. Read the story of Mals to get inspired. And act. There is a lot to consider when searching for farmable land— location, size, price, soil quality, water access, etc.
When considering such factors, it is important to look beyond what a plot of land has at face value and consider its potential. Land quality is not stagnant, but can be shaped over time. With a…. One of the best ways to begin brewing is by dipping your toes in the bubbling waters of homemade soda. Mountain raspberry and blueberry soda…. Many younger people…. Sap can also be collected…. The fruit of the medlar tree, Mespilus germanica, tastes like lightly spiced apple butter scooped soft right out of the russeted skin. Do we spend our meager savings on trees and….
This year, almost six hundred thousand Americans will die from cancer. One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed in their lifetimes. Despite embellished announcements from government actuaries, the real death rates from cancer are the same today as they were in the s. Oh, Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions well over in in the media both big and small. World leaders met in Marrakech this month as part of COP22, to discuss the next steps to reducing global climate emissions.
One of the solutions being discussed is carbon farming. First off — what is carbon farming? In the future, what will our local economies look like? How will they function if there is little, to no, state or national support? Get ready for the era of Big Organizing. In Rules for Revolutionaries, authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley lay out the 22 Rules the fueled the Bernie Sanders campaign and which provide a way forward for activists looking for ways to move forward post-Election Day. They are trees of life and trees of knowledge.
They are the fig trees. Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key roles in the dawn of civilization. This is no coincidence — fig…. No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from hospital and office cafeterias to elementary schools and fast-casual restaurants. Today, most of the food consumed….
Whether at home or in a restaurant, chefs must rely on fresh, seasonal ingredients to fuel their creativity in the kitchen. At the renowned Black Trumpet restaurant, located in the historic seacoast city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Chef Evan Mallett and his staff reflect the constantly changing seasons of New England, celebrating the unique flavors…. Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive….
He died early Sunday morning, September 25, at his home in Montpelier. As inequality grabs headlines, steals the show in presidential debates, and drives deep divides between the haves and have nots in America, class war brews. Does it have to be this way? Can we suspend both class wars long enough to consider a new way forward? Is it really good for anyone that most of…. Are you ready to co-create the future? These 5 Rules of Lean Thinking are a useful tool as we set out to collectively invent a post-market future. In her book,…. They are wish-fulfillers … rainforest royalty … more precious than gold.
They are the fig trees, and they have affected humanity in profound but little-known ways. Gods, Wasps and Stranglers tells their amazing story. Fig trees fed our pre-human ancestors, influenced diverse cultures and played key…. Author and plant breeder Carol Deppe believes that every gardener should have her own seed bank. Even if you never experience any disaster beyond…. In it, Fleming examined the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations—ecological,….
Street Farm is a story of recovery, of land and food, of people, and of the power of farming and…. Despite the millions consumers spend on calcium pills and the number of prescriptions for bone loss drugs they fill, worldwide there is an osteoporotic fracture every three seconds. Drugs that claim to prevent or redress bone loss can actually cause bones to crumble and break. Carbon farming alone is not enough to avoid catastrophic climate change, but coupled with new economic priorities, a massive switch to clean energy, and big changes to much of the rest of the way our societies work, it offers a pathway out of destruction and a route to hope.
Along the way carbon farming can…. For several years, Chelsea Green has been publishing books that look under our feet for solutions to some of the most vexing problems facing the planet — hunger, drought, degraded farmland and grasslands, damaged waterways, and much more. Those books focus on mostly one thing: Soil. How is it that emissions keep growing despite rising concern about the climate change they cause? It is possible to identify several reasons for the paradox, most of which lie outside the scope of The Climate Change Playbook.
But one important reason is relevant here: people do not understand the behaviors of the climate system. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is a New York Times-bestelling author, traveler, and astute observer of the natural world. In Dreaming of Lions, a paperback edition of her memoir, Thomas pens a powerful new afterword and a selection of photos from her extraordinary life is included. Below is an excerpt from her chapter about writing, and her…. Swales are small earthen embankments used to irrigate trees, plants, and pastures.
They also capture runoff to help protect soil and plants from excessive rainfall that might otherwise cause flooding and erosion. Get your land to work with you for your plants. Is your yard uneven or sloped but you want to build a greenhouse? These books will bring some of its most popular, and iconic, titles to a new…. And even among people who are familiar with the term, not everyone agrees on…. Unlike most octogenarians, author Gene Logsdon picked up steam as he rolled into his ninth decade.
In his book Gene Everlasting: A…. I do,…. Just what are the differences between permaculture and natural farming? How are they connected, and where do they diverge in philosophy and principle? Those questions are answered in One-Straw Revolutionary, a book that delves into the philosophy and work of Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka. In this passage, author Larry Korn compares and contrasts two….
Take a look through our final profile and check out any you might have missed along the way: Oxeye Daisy: A Plant for the Pollinators How to…. In an increasingly digital world, where we must rely on complex, distant systems for many of our daily needs, the notion of homesteading…. Feel the Bern, now read the Bern. Chelsea Green is bringing out the first major book chronicling the issues being raised by US Senator Bernie Sanders in his campaign for president of the United States. What if we looked beyond the notion of invasive species as enemies, and instead harnessed them for beneficial uses?
Beyond the War on Invasive Species offers just such a bold alternative to the chemical and intensive eradication efforts, one that is holistic and inspired by permaculture principles. First-time author Tao Orion makes a compelling case…. The latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community, and special sales, promotions and new releases.
We wanted to share some final thoughts from one of the top experts in the permaculture field, Toby Hemenway. Permaculture Advice For Beginners. Perennials require less maintenance than typical annual crops and are…. Joe from New Jersey wrote in looking for some advice on how to get started growing pawpaws. Move over Gutenberg: In advance of Earth Day , environmental publishing leader Chelsea Green Publishing is announcing the introduction of an entirely new type of book — the completely biodegradable, and in certain instances edible, book.
While some publishers tout the recycled content of their papers, or use of soy-based inks, Chelsea Green, which turned…. If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? How would you develop an organizational structure and connect with your community? And, how would you make sure all of this…. Dig in to the latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community, plus special offers and new releases!
Everything is better with maple syrup. If you only have a couple of trees nearby — say in your backyard — author Michael Farrell The…. This book offers practical ways to grow nutrient-dense…. In addition to publishing our own books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, Chelsea Green offers a helping hand to smaller publishers and those based overseas to bring their books to a wider audience. For the latest selection of titles from our publishing partners, check out the list below. These how-to blog Articles share a common focus on developing the skills and knowledge needed to create true change—the kind that begins with us in our own backyard.
This time of year always makes us feel a little nostalgic and a little hungry. What better way to combine these two feelings than with a look back at our most popular food and drink blog Articles of How can we be so sure? Six of our…. Many people think forests are primarily reserved for timber and firewood harvesting. Permaculture Magazine calls this….
Sure to be a hit at any gathering, master bread baker Richard Miscovich describes this Fig Pecan Bread as slightly sweet, delicious, nutritious, and soothing. Our friends at the Weston A. We here at Chelsea Green have always had a nose for authors and books that are years ahead of the cultural curve. More than one hundred books are represented in this collection and…. Investigative journalist Mark Schapiro, author….
In the eyes of many people, the practices of forestry and farming are mutually exclusive, because in the modern world, agriculture involves open fields, straight rows, and machinery to grow crops, while forests are reserved primarily for timber and firewood harvesting. In fact, history indicates that much of humanity lived and sustained itself from so-called….
For thousands of years, people have been using fermentation as a nourishing way to eat and preserve a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits, milk, grains, beans, meats, and more. Only in the last century has our culture distanced itself from this traditional approach to nutrition and adopted an industrialized food system complete with highly…. All you need is an abundance of the fruit of your choosing, orange juice, wine yeast,…. What would it take to grow mushrooms in space? How can mushroom cultivation reduce our dependence on herbicides? Is it possible to use mushrooms to clean up oil spills?
For more than twenty years, mycologist Tradd Cotter has been investigating the fascinating world of mushrooms and researching the answers to questions just like these. It increasingly fuels and disrupts our economies, and is recasting geopolitical power. Everyone needs vitamins and minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium and others to stay strong and healthy. It was the first time that a person has been charged under a new law in Vermont that…. Changing the world is no light undertaking. It takes a village to spread the word about sustainable living, and at Chelsea Green Publishing we partner with like-minded publishers and writers around the world to bring their books to a wider readership in the United States.
One of our strongest partnerships is with Permanent Publications, a…. Peak oil? Fracking will save us and keep us energy independent for centuries — right? As Permaculture Month comes to an end, we wanted to share some final questions posed to our permaculture authors from our readers.
Permaculture is most frequently applied in gardening and homestead-planning, and one of the essential designs is a forest garden. Food forests, or edible forest gardens, are life-filled places that not only provide food for people, but habitat for wildlife, carbon sequestering, biodiversity, natural soil building, beauty and tranquility, and a host of other benefits —….
Permaculture questions are being answered throughout the month of May by our expert authors. Review previous Articles from the…. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. For previously answered questions about nutrient…. Happy Permaculture Month! Stay up to date with our actual latest releases by signing up for our e-newsletter here. Interested in growing fresh food, but worried about lack of space? Not a problem, according to author R. In his book, Fresh Food From Small Spaces, Ruppenthal shows readers how to transform their balconies and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, their countertops and storage lockers into commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farms, and their….
Author Gene Logsdon appears to be picking up steam as he rolls into his ninth decade. Compost is the key to a lush, abundant garden. Do you know how to turn kitchen scraps and yard waste into fragrant, crumbly, plant food? If not, your garden is missing out, and you are missing out on one of the most exciting and profound lessons organic gardening has to teach: the simple fact that…. Unlike most octogenarians, author Gene Logsdon is picking up steam as he rolls into his ninth decade.
Who else could accomplish…. Our fellow Media Consortium friends over at Democracy Now! Below is an article that recently ran on Grist. Since its publication, Katz has traveled the globe teaching hands-on workshops and learning from others about the many foods and beverages made by the process of fermentation. We here at Chelsea Green we love to garden, as do many of our authors. When Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton decided to write the essential book on natural building techniques, they knew who the publisher should be, and they knew the subject like the backs of their hands — but they were missing some key research that would help their book stand apart.
So, the two builders harnessed…. When Allan Savory was a young man, he killed 40, elephants in an effort to save the African landscape. Common wisdom, and even the best science at the time, suggested that overgrazing was the main cause of the desertification they were seeing. But Savory and his team of scientists were wrong. Instead of seeing the…. While the industrial food system is busy pioneering plows guided by satellite, and engineering transgenic frankencrops to pair with their ever more toxic pesticides, a quiet revolution is taking place.
As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, how will we face the problems our industrial economy has caused? Globalization pretends that place no longer matters, and that moving jobs to distant countries is no more important a decision than making a tax deduction. Burning fossil fuels is becoming increasingly expensive both financially…. Droves of people have turned to local food as a way to retreat from our broken industrial food system. From rural towns to the most urban of cities streets, people are growing, fermenting, enjoying, and celebrating food produced close to home.
From Golden, Colorado to Washington, D. What did he mean when he said use the hive-smoker with short, fast puffs? Or, where exactly is that ramial mulch supposed to go in relation to the trunk of the apple tree? If this describes your state of…. Sepp Holzer was doing permaculture before he even knew what permaculture was. Article by Dick Van Susteren. The end of the Mayan calendar is confusing, sure.
You bet. Apocalyptic thinking can distract us from the very real problems that people and…. After years of hard work raising grassfed cattle, Rebecca Thistlethwaite and her husband decided to put their farm dreams on pause for a while, travel the country, meet other farmers, and figure out what makes the best farms work. They were well beyond any romantic notions of the farming life themselves, but Rebecca wanted to….
In a recent online article for Time magazine, Amory Lovins spells out what we need to do in order to make our electrical power system more resilient in the face of catastrophic disruption brought by the likes of Hurricane Sandy, wild fires, earthquakes, or solar flares. Come hell or high water — and Hurricane Sandy….
In Taste, Memory, which was recently named one of Amazon. Food has become a commodity in our time, something to be consumed quickly, and to be measured in terms of nutrient levels or cost. Flavor takes a backseat to cheapness and quality has given…. Lynn Margulis died in late November She was a longtime friend of Chelsea Green Publishing, and collaborated with us on the Sciencewriters Books imprint to develop outstanding science books for the general public.
Lynn intuited and doggedly gathered evidence to show that most anything we two-leggeds take special pride in—our capacities for cogitation, conviviality, and culture—had been invented, eons before, by the microbial entities that compose…. When renowned scientist Lynn Margulis died last November, she left behind a vibrant legacy. Her inspiring, innovative work on evolution touched scientists, environmentalists, and nature writers alike. This winter, Chelsea Green is publishing a book to celebrate her memory, filled with essays by her colleagues, collaborators, and other thinkers who were influenced by her work.
Flowers serve many practical purposes for the plants that grow them. They attract bees, butterflies, and birds. They protect pollen and nectar from freeloading ants who are too small to pollinate most flowers. September is Preparedness Month! Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods or man-made disasters like fires, or power outages and fuel-price spikes can easily disrupt our way of life. In partnership with Mother Earth News, Chelsea Green is offering you the chance to win eight of our newest books on the politics and practice of sustainability!
Two of our key partners in bringing books on green living into the world are in the United Kingdom: Green Books and Permanent Publications. Apples come in many colors and subtle differences of flavor, each unique and bursting with vitamins. More and more Americans acutely sense that the old way of doing things — investing our savings in Wall Street companies who care little about our families and communities; depending on polluting, costly, and non-renewable sources of energy; eating food grown far away that makes us sick — is no longer working. People want to….
The following commentary is adapted from the posthumously published Sowing Seeds in the Desert by Masanobu Fukuoka Chelsea Green, Fukuoka was the author of the international bestseller One-Straw Revolution. He died in Given the recent news about the extended drought facing much of the United States, we thought our readers might want to…. Tiny, colorful explosions of summer flavor, berries have captivated the imaginations of hungry mammals like us for millennia.
Just last week we got an email from James Kachadorian including this article full of tips to help fight the extreme heat a lot of the nation is feeling. So here they are, some passive…. Originally published in the Saturday Evening Post. Over the past 50 years America made massive public investments in its highways—hundreds of billions of dollars in the interstate system alone. And largely because of that investment, cities and suburbs have grown into sprawling, disconnected clusters, largely…. This is your lucky month! We have a selection of 30 books one for each day in June for our daily drawing for the whole month….
Forty years ago Limits to Growth addressed the grand question of how humans would adapt to the physical limitations of planet Earth while in pursuit of limitless growth. Next month, Chelsea Green will publish , a provocative new book that examines what our future will look like in the next forty years. Written by Jorgen…. STIR is giving…. Originally published on The Huffington Post. For nearly a century local investing has been essentially illegal, and Wall Street has monopolized all the investment options for the average investor. Unfortunately, there has…. Why is it that our state and federal laws embrace alcohol—a drug that is a known cause of a frightening array of adverse….
Is asparagus popping up in your neck of the woods? Fifteen days after the fact, the radio weather forecaster tells us that March fifth…. Each year, the American Horticultural Society recognizes outstanding gardening books published in North America with its annual Book Award. Nominated books are judged by the AHS Book Award Committee in qualities such as writing style, authority, accuracy, and physical quality. I have been most fortunate to enjoy a lengthy career….
Register for this free event here. Reposted from Post Carbon Institute. This book series will be part of a larger new effort we have launched—the…. Hazel Henderson, author of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy, is mentioned in this interesting article on how love affects the economy. Like many feminist thinkers, Henderson points out the staggering amount of unpaid, un-valued work that is done by homemakers men included. What would our economic stats look like if we included this, and…. This excerpt originally appeared on Yes!
Then invest in yourself—the most local investment of all. But not even 1 percent of these savings touches local small businesses, the source…. In honor, we have put a selection of titles by Chelsea Green women authors on sale. Whether you want to learn more about saving heirloom seeds, mastering the how-to of sustainable…. We know Marijuana is Safer, and so do many of you, our readers.
Reposted from the Winnipeg Free Press. But when the holiday of romance falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, there seems to be a lot more love to give — at least…. Reposted from LivingEconomies. Consider this book an excellent investment! This spring is shaping up to be one of our most exciting seasons yet, with new titles to fill important niches in your sustainable living library.
Are you already an avid sauerkraut fermenter, but looking to raise your microbial game to the next level? Today marks the second anniversary of the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad U. Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United. And it shows. If any one felt as if the United States was a plutocracy wearing democracy as a…. The common arguments are that the weather is too cold, or that the days are too dark. Many of our readers are small farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners — folks who have made books like The Four-Season Harvest and Wild Fermentation best-sellers for years!
By Cynthia Salaysay Scores…. Foods containing…. Reposted from the Rodale Institute. The publishing world never sleeps. Every time we turn around, another book is hot off the presses, ready for us here on the web team to start singing its praises and spreading the word. Through blog Articles, tweets, and Facebook status updates, we strive to connect online audiences with the very special books our activist…. We love to share Slow Money success stories like this one from North Carolina.
Just fill out our web form here. This article was reposted from Sustainable Grub, written by Dee Reid. It all started when Chatham Marketplace had a financial obligation looming. Carbon Farming puts carbon where it belongs — in the soil. Carbon Farming combines cutting-edge agricultural practices with the tools of ecological design to build healthy soil and profitable farms.
Nothing controversial there, but did you know that certain types of investment structures for small businesses are illegal? To find out more, read…. One of the best ways to do…. The first peoples to harvest maple sap were the indigenous peoples of the northern woodlands, where the sugar maple, Acer saccharum, is both native and prodigious. Would you be ready if a tropical storm flooded your town?
What about an earthquake, or terrorist attack, or wild fire? Sepp Holzer is an Austrian farmer, author and an international consultant for natural agriculture. He has been called…. Just a brief Halloween post for all you goblins and ghouls out there. No longer must your bedsheet-covered toddler stand idly by and accept the tasty but unethical sweets foisted upon him or her on Halloween night by well-meaning but ignorant adults.
It was first published by the New York Times, where you can read the original. This article was reposted from Grist. There is more than a little to demonstrate about today…. Bruce E. Here is a partial transcript and video. I want to begin by explaining how a clinical psychologist ends up giving the final talk at a conference….