Romeand this is near enough to the truth to be a jumping-off point. A scythe is an old tool, but it has changed through its millennia of existence, changed and adapted as surely as have the humans who wield it and the grasses it is designed to mow. Humans degrade and destroy and crucify the natural environment, he says, and 80 percent of the time it recovers pretty well. You can reach part of it with the analytical mind, but the rest will remain buried in the ancient woodland floor of human evolution and in the depths of our old ape brains, which see in pictures and think in stories. If this sounds like the kind of thing that a right-wing politican might come out with, thats because. I am going to breathe the still-clean air and listen to the still-singing birds and reflect on the fact that the earth is older and harder than the machine that is eating itthat it is indeed more resilient than fragileand that change comes quickly when. If you draw up a great big plan for a better world based on science and rational argument, you will be wasting your time. The earliest example he gives is the improvement in hunting techniques in the Upper Paleolithic era, around fifteen thousand years ago.
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I seem to be at a point in my life where I am open to hearing this again. Its a beautiful sight, which would have been familiar to every medieval citizen of this old, old continent. It is far too late to think about dismantling this machine in a rational mannerand in any case who wants to? They are right to say that the human-scale, convivial approaches of those 1970s thinkers are never going to work if the world continues to formulate itself according to the demands of late capitalist industrialism. Then they were buried, by Thatcher and Reagan, by three decades of cheap oil and shopping. Because I found modern life absolutely unacceptable, I grew increasingly hopeless until, at the age of 24, I arrived at a kind of crisis: I felt so miserable that I didnt care whether I lived or died. We are now, in Brands essay about moving words, as gods, and we have to step up and accept our responsibility to manage the planet rationally through the use of new technology guided by enlightened science.
Maybe its what scientists call confirmation bias, but Im finding it hard to muster good counterarguments to any of them, even the last. Wilderness does not exist; all of it has been influenced by humans at some time. The mainstream of the green movement has laid itself open to their advances in recent years with its obsessive focus on carbon and energy technologies and its refusal to speak up for a subjective, vernacular, nontechnical engagement with nature. Some of them want to trim lawns or verges. What do we value about the Amazon forest? They confused a desire for human-scale autonomy, and for the independent character, quirkiness, mess, and creativity that usually results from it, with a desire to retreat to some imagined golden age. Take the only tree thats left, Stuff it up the hole in your culture.