Masanobu Fukuoka

Farming is a lot of work. Or maybe, farming can be a lot of observation of nature, followed by intervention with a minimal guiding hand.

“The Fukuoka Method”, “the natural way of farming” or “do-nothing farming”, is an ecological farming approach established by Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher. Natural farming is related to fertility farming, organic farming, sustainable agriculture, agroecology, agroforestry, ecoagriculture and permaculture, but should be distinguished from biodynamic agriculture.

The system works along with the natural biodiversity of each farmed area, encouraging the complexity of living organisms—both plant and animal—that shape each particular ecosystem to thrive along with food plants.Fukuoka saw farming both as a means of producing food and as an aesthetic or spiritual approach to life, the ultimate goal of which was, “the cultivation and perfection of human beings”.He suggested that farmers could benefit from closely observing local conditions. Natural farming is a closed system, one that demands no human-supplied inputs and mimics nature.

Fukuoka’s ideas radically challenged conventions that are core to modern agro-industries.

— from a Wikipedia Article

We are given to know just enough to do our part.

This is a big idea.

Within our bodies are organs that act as though they have agency. The heart and liver and lungs all have a job to do, and they go about it in a way that mocks the scientific fashion of deriding teleological explanations.

Within each organ, there are cells that seem to have agency, moving purposefully toward a goal. For example, T cells in the blood seek out invaders and mark, then desroy them.

from Quanta magazine

Within each cell, there are organelles that seem to have agency. This is the story of mitochondria cooperating with each other, acting as if they know what they are doing and seeking help with the project. Their main job is to concentrate chemical energy as electrochemical energy, and they have many additional jobs.

And there are other agents within a cell that work actively, with every indication that they know — in some sense of the word — that they have a job to do. Look up how ribosomes work as special-order cooks, following recipes sent to them by messengers from the cell nucleus. Read how the endoplasmic reticulum works as a delivery system, tagging each manufacturing protein to make sure it gets delivered to the place where it is needed.

On an even tinier scale, there are biomolecules that do jobs as if they had learned a job description and dedicated themselves to it. DNA repair enzymes crawl along a chromosome, looking for breaks or tears or mismatches. If something is missing, the enzyme knows that chromosomes come in pairs, and it will consult the other twin to get the information it needs to fill in the gap. The intelligence to do this is in a molecule!

My point?

You have a mind of your own, but your body contains minds and subminds and sub-sub minds down to the level of single molecules. Your consciousness sits on top of all these levels, and you’re aware of some tiny, tiny fraction of all that goes on.

Computational philosopher Marvin Minsky talked about the Society of Mind. Each of us contains multitudes, and the multitudes contain multitudes.

And the punch line?

This picture of nested, consciousness doesn’t stop at human individuals. We are parts of a society or community that has its own consciousness. We are not aware of the levels underneath, the molecules and cells doing their jobs that we might live, and more to the point, they are not aware of us.

Each molecule knows just enough to do its job..

You and I function brilliantly in the Cosmic Order without being able to see our roles from outside. We know just what we need to know to fill our destiny, and no more. We do not see the master plan, though we are helping it unfold every day of our lives.


Words for the Ineffable

Magical observation is reveled as you withdraw from the reflex to name objects and to place yourself in a context that may include space, time, purpose, intention, emotion, acquisition, betterment, and all the rest. — Jeff Padawar

Even when attention does seem to move outward, adult-mind doesn’t actually perceive life as it really is, life in its explosive majesty. What’s experienced are labels, conceptual constructs placed overtop all the various aspects of this radiant indivisible chaos for linguistic and conversational purposes. If by some lucky happenstance we cast our gaze upon the mysterious cluster of experiences we’ve labeled “tree”, for example, we tend to mostly see that label and all the concepts we’ve come to associate with it, instead of its utterly ineffable wonderment.

— Caitlin Johnstone

All-at-once-ness is a strange perpetuity of perfect novelty evaporating into non-existence with no actual duration or passage of time. The train has already left the station by the time you’ve finished reading the memo. — Jeff Padawar

Palpable immersion in the objectless texture of present experience leads invariably to liberation.

Night Sky Sangha

Twelve score and five years ago

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

— Margaret Mead

245 years ago, a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens were determined to invent their own version of representative government. But before they could do that, they needed “to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another” government. 

They were clear in their own minds that their freedom was being encroached in unacceptable ways. “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.” They must have been keenly aware of prejudices on both sides: on the one hand, the tendency to feel these offenses to their freedom as larger and more important than future historians might judge them in context; and on the other hand, the human tendency to tolerate great pain and injustice from a known oppressor rather than risk an unknown future.

Their experiment worked out pretty well, as historic experiments go; but it evolved in ways that they certainly never anticipated. They never imagined that a democracy of land-owning, white males would expand to encompass universal adult suffrage. Black and white, rich and poor, male and female. They also probably would be surprised that America would evolve 170 years later to become the world’s premier imperial power. 

In the Constitution that they wrote 13 years later, (after a more decentralized schema had failed) they were keenly aware of all the ways that some people would connive to seize the helm at the expense of others. They were obsessive about checks and balances, as limits on concentration of power. Perhaps they were less savvy about concentration of wealth, and the danger that wealth could buy influence over government, which could be used to effect yet greater concentrations of wealth and even more influence. It would be unfair to fault them for failing to foresee that this dynamic would lead to the downfall of American democracy in the 21st century. How much more unfair, then, for us to expect they might have built in protections from media consolidation, which has led to manufacturing consent on an industrial scale. 

So here we are, 245 years on, contemplating some of these same truths that our forefathers held to be self-evident. The exigency of creating a new democracy has been clear for some time. Equally clear is the fact that armed resistance is both repugnant to our deep vein of non-violence and doomed to failure in the face of the American military behemoth.

Already, our widely-dispersed communities of interest have created trusted networks for disseminating the truths that the Corporate Media seeks to hide. The American Revolution of 2021 continues with local cooperatives and shared gardens and community skills banks and alternative currencies. As Bucky counseled, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” We will gradually lessen our dependence on international capitalism. We will build a better way of life, and our communities will be an inspiration to the masses of people who will flock to us for respite from the life-devouring capitalist machine.

Are you spontaneously enthusiastic about everyone having everything you can have? It is now highly feasible to take care of everybody on Earth at a ‘higher standard of living than any have ever known.’ It no longer has to be you or me. Selfishness is unnecessary and henceforth unrationalizable as mandated by survival… It is a matter of converting the high technology from weaponry to livingry.   

— R. Buckminster Fuller

No news is good news

Which is worse, that the biggest American news media are lying to us, or that they are making us afraid, or that they are dividing us and making us hate and disdain one another Red against Blue and Blue against Red?

Which is better, that readership is way down this year, or that revenues aren’t sufficient to support the MSM, or that people are getting wise about seeking their reality?

Subjective – Objective – Subjective

The history of modern science began in the 15th century when Enlightenment scientists began regarding the objective material world as something that everyone could agree on, therefore more fundamental than our senses.

Scientific theory developed in the direction of more and more objectivity and more and more separation into parts (reductionism) until the early 20th century, when physicists sought to explain everything in terms of elementary sub-atomic particles.

But the science they were led to was quantum mechanics, and they found that their observations only made sense in the context of subjectivity.

Science has never quite recovered. The scientific method, as we understand it, is based on separating from sense impressions the things that every experimenter can agree on.

So we’re returning to the viewpoint that has dominated natural philosophy since the earliest human cultures, a science of the subjective.

“We thought there was no way you could get that amount of energy in an explosion from any object in the universe,”

Gamma ray bursts have become familiar since their discovery 50 years ago, but they remain mysterious. The energy of each photon is prodigious, and the number of photons is even more impressive. If these things came from close-by rather than halfway across the univers, you and I would be cooked.

A supernova is an exploding star that can be as bright as an entire galaxy for a brief period. A gamma ray burst is like a whole galaxy full of supernovas all going off at once. The only way physicists can make any sense of this amount of energy is to assume that it is tightly focused in our direction, so that what we see is not a fair sample of what is radiated into space. The best models we have are about merging black holes or neutron stars.

It Takes Two Stars to Make a Gamma Ray Burst - Universe Today

Still, the physical models are not very convincing. There may be hints in here of new and exotic physics. The trouble is that when we open our minds to new and exotic physics, the possibilities expand enormously, and there are too many possibilities to evaluate.

Quanta Magazine article

(In 1987, I wrote my PhD dissertation on spinning galactic centers that shoot jets out from their north and south poles.)

A large telescope with many segmented hexagonal mirrors.

Celia Thaxter

Of all the wonderful things in the wonderful universe of God, nothing seems to me more surprising than the planting of a seed in the blank earth and the result thereof. Take that Poppy seed, for instance: it lies in your palm, the merest atom of matter, hardly visible, a speck, a pin’s point in bulk, but within it is imprisoned a spirit of beauty ineffable, which will break its bonds and emerge from the dark ground and blossom in a splendor so dazzling as to baffle all powers of description.

— Celia Thaxter was born this day in 1835

Yea, out of pain and death his beauty springs,
     And out of doubt a deathless confidence:
Though we are shod with leaden cares, our wings
     Shall lift us yet out of our deep suspense!

Thou great Creator! Pardon us who reach
     For other heaven beyond this world of thine,
This matchless world, where thy least touch doth teach
     Thy solemn lessons clearly, line on line.

And help us to be grateful, we who live
     Such sordid, fretful lives of discontent,
Nor see the sunshine nor the flower, nor strive
     To find the love thy bitter chastening meant.