his arms no longer seemed to swing the scythe, but the scythe itself his whole body, so conscious and. They are right to say that traditional conservation efforts sometimes idealized a preindustrial nature. But though they burn with the shouty fervor of the born-again, the neo-environmentalists are not exactly wrong. Ted Kaczynski was known to the FBI as the Unabomber during the seventeen years in which he sent parcel bombs from his shack to those he deemed responsible for the promotion of the technological society he despises. Mowing with a scythe shuts down the jabbering brain for a little while, or at least the rational part of it, leaving only the primitive part, the intuitive reptile consciousness, working fully. We cant deny that it brings benefits to us, even as it chokes us and our world by degrees. Its what the green thinkers of the 1970s used to call an appropriate technologya phrase that I would love to see resurrectedand what the unjustly neglected philosopher Ivan Illich called a tool for conviviality. The earliest example he gives is the improvement in hunting techniques in the Upper Paleolithic era, around fifteen thousand years ago. There is human-scale change, and there is industrial-scale change; there is change led by the needs of complex systems, and change led by the needs of individual humans. He lived that way for twenty-five years, trying, initially at least, to escape from civilization. Moving parts are better than fixed parts.
Enough, enough, He commanded, but the machine Looked at him and went on singing. Like a microchip or a combustion engine, it is a technology that has allowed us to manipulate and control our environment, and to accelerate the rate of that manipulation and control. Yes, the risk is estimated as being high because people suspect that Big Business has too much influence with government, so they fear existing pollution controls are a sham. If you were up at dawn, mowing in the dewthe best time, and the traditional one to cut for hayyou should leave the windrows to dry in the sun, then go down the rows with a pitchfork later in the day and turn them over. Like the neoliberals, they are mostly American and mostly male, and they emphasize scientific measurement and economic analysis over other ways of seeing and measuring. The story we were all taught at schoolor I was, anywayis that humans developed or invented agriculture, because they were clever enough to see that it would form the basis of a better way of living than hunting and gathering. We are now, in Brands 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. Thus, it isn't irrational to respond to the events of September 11, 2001 on the basis that those who were responsible for them would be willing to, and might have the opportunity to, mount an attack that would leave millions dead instead of thousands dead. Spencer Wells takes up the story in his book Pandoras Seed, a revisionist history of the development of agriculture.
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