The wind is slashing through the bamboo this morning from the east across the ocean, in its usual trade wind pattern. Last week it was coming down off the mountain from the west, what we call a Kona wind which is usually mild and gentle. When it is not so, the Kona wind uproots tree and downs power poles, as it did last week. Continue reading “February’s Ocean”
“Why do I want to come away alone like this, I wonder? And when I do, why this preference for old shepherd’s huts or abandoned camps or shell-shocked farm houses?…Is it somehow by passing dark nights and wandering under vast skies alone, that one comes into the presence — the inner presence, the nurturing, beautiful, poetic presence — of reality?” Freya Mathews, “Barramunga: Return to the Doorstep of Night” in Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture, 197. Continue reading “Barramunga”
To summarize (which is only a beginning): Latourʻs Inquiry will take you on an arduous climb over the mountains, from one way of knowing and being to another possibility, a country strange and new; Mathews is already there in that new/old country and her book will show you that a part of you has always lived there. Also that a part of you longs to be a native of that place, which is really this place, where you have lived all along, seen with other eyes.
Continue reading “Latour and Mathews again: some notes”
I have been reading two extraordinary and very different writers lately who are both engaged with questioning Modernity -the capitalist, industrial civilizational model which we are all so familiar with here in the West – and which can now be found just about everywhere in the world as a “modernization front,” as Latour terms it.
To demonstrate one small place where these writers overlap and yet are very different in their approaches, here are two quotations:
“The present global environmental malaise has come about, at least in part, according to the argument in the previous chapters, because we moderns, the people of the industrialized nations, no longer revere our world or engage communicatively with it. Over the last three hundred years or so, we have been taught to see the ground of being in materialist terms, as in itself void of significance and presence – as mere externality without an animating principle of its own.” Freya Mathews, Reconsidering Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture, 49.
“It would not be wrong to define the Moderns as those who believe they are materialists and are driven to despair by this belief….When everything is submerged in matter there is no raw material, no accessible reality, no experience to guide us.” Bruno Latour, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, 105-106. Continue reading “Reading Freya Mathews & Bruno Latour”
Here in the crazy US it is Thanksgiving again, a holiday that, in its simplest form – taking some time to gather with family and friends to share a meal in the spirit of gratitude – is based on the most benign of impulses.
I am grateful today for the monarch butterflies that at least here on the ranch seem especially numerous this November. Continue reading “Thanksgiving”
About six months ago my friend and mentor Donna called to ask if I would be willing to give one of the keynote speeches at this yearʻs agricultural conference. Donna is one of those people with excellent people skills, which means that it is very difficult to say No to her: one because she will already have cultivated a relationship with you; and two, she will come armed with persuasions tailor-made to your psychology. She will appeal to your higher instincts for public service and your lower instincts for ego-gratification. Also of course it was an honor to be asked. So I agreed to give a speech. Continue reading “The Speech”
Here is Descartes, a founding father of the philosophy (myth, theory, story) of the modern world:
“And certainly the idea which I possess of the human mind inasmuch as it is a thinking thing, and not extended in length, width and depth, nor participating in anything pertaining to body, is incomparably more distinct than is the idea of any corporeal thing.” Descartes, Meditations
Continue reading “Cartesian Meditation”